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2023 Porsche LMDh Prototype Begins Testing Phase, Has a Turbocharged V8

Porsche has made progress with its LMDh prototype, which has begun its active test phase. In other words, it means that the German marque has begun track testing its prototype that will have its race debut in January 2023.
Porsche LMDh hybrid prototype 16 photos
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The new prototype is set to race in both the FIA WEC World Endurance Championship and the North American IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Both entries will be made under the Porsche Penske Motorsport name, and using the same prototype in both competitions was made possible with a rule alignment made last year.

As the small “h” in the name of the class underlines, all the prototypes used are hybrid vehicles. The components for the hybrid system are standardized across the board, and all come from the same suppliers. The battery is sourced from Williams Advanced Engineering, Bosch makes the motor-generator unit along with control electronics, while Xtrac is in charge of manufacturing transmissions.

The torque curve of the new LMDh prototypes is clearly defined by the rules, and the combined output of the hybrid system, which includes the internal combustion engine along with the e-motor. The output must not exceed 680 ps or 500 KW (670 horsepower) at the half-shafts.

While the rules allow for more freedom in terms of displacement, there are other limits to consider. For example, the internal combustion engine used may rev up to 10,000 rpm, but must not exceed 110 decibels in pass-by noise. To get a sense of what that means, 110 decibels is as loud as a power saw, or a symphony orchestra.

There are car horns that also reach 110 decibels, and some concerts or sporting events generate the same level, which may be dangerous if exposure is prolonged. That is why team members wear ear protection at every race, not just for radio communication.

If you were curious about loudness, a jet plane makes about 120 decibels during take-off, while the sirens of ambulances are as loud as 130 decibels.

Coming back to Porsche's new LMDh prototype, and the class it is racing in, you should also know that the engine has a minimum weight of 180 kilograms, which includes the air supply, exhaust system, and peripheral cooling components.

If the engine is turbocharged, its turbo must also be a part of the said weight, along with the charge air cooler (commonly known as an intercooler).

The regulations allow for a maximum power that is between 653 and 707 ps (480-520 kW or 643-697 horsepower). While it may seem like a broad range of power, the rule makers have thought about this to enable eventual adjustments that are in line with the Balance of Performance parameters, which level out performance differences between the competing cars in this class.

Porsche's representatives stated that they feel "spoiled for choice with the engine" because of their existing product range. Eventually, they decided on a biturbo V8 unit because of the combination of weight, performance characteristics, and costs that it offers. The motor will run on renewable fuels, so that CO2 emissions are reduced to the bare minimum.

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