Revealed: Porsche 919 Street, German brand’s secret plans to turn Webber’s Le Mans racer into road-going hypercar
Thursday 12th November, 2020 - 11:10am
What you’re looking at is Porsche’s wild idea to turn the 919 Hybrid Le Mans-winning prototype into a Ferrari-hunter hypercar for the road.
It’s known as the Porsche 919 Street and was envisioned as a road-legal version of the complex and super-rapid LMP1 machine that Mark Webber, Earl Bamber and co. raced in the World Endurance Championship and at Le Mans.
However, it’s only a concept, one that was developed in secret back in 2017 but is now seeing the light of day thanks to the German brand unlocking its vaults. It’s the first of 15 different concept and design studies the brand will release to the public in a project titled ‘Porsche Unseen’ that is showcasing its creative process.
“People all over the world love the timeless and innovative design of our sports cars,” explained Porsche chairman, Oliver Blume. “Visionary concept studies are the foundation of this success: they provide the pool of ideas for the Porsche design of tomorrow, and combine our strong tradition with trailblazing future technologies.”
Michael Mauer, Vice President Style Porsche, said that ‘Porsche Unseen’ is about demonstrating the various ways the company designs its cars from its studio in Weissach, Germany. He said by housing all of its 120 designers in the one location, instead of scattering them to various studios around the world, it allows a more cohesive relationship with the engineers. In turn that allows for seemingly radical projects like the 919 Street.
“When it comes to the visions we develop, it is not about bringing every car onto the road,” Mauer said. “Instead, it is more a question of establishing creative space and a relationship with the future. There are two possibilities for continuing to develop as a brand: either you improve your products from the present, that is to say step-by-step. However, it is difficult to be really innovative in this process. Or you give free rein to your creativity. The idea is to let your thoughts jump to the day after tomorrow, and to then move back from there to tomorrow.”
The 919 Street is one of those more creative ideas, but the idea is simple. It takes the 919 Hybrid, including its radical 2.0-litre V4 turbocharged engine and complicated hybrid system, and tunes it for road use.
According to the company this 1:1 scale clay model has the same dimensions and wheelbase as the Le Mans racer. While the design study called for a carbon fibre monocoque for maximum performance and safety.
Obviously the 919 Street never moved past the concept stage, so Porsche fans will have to make do with the likes of the 911 GT2 RS for performance thrills, but thanks to Porsche Unseen we have a glimpse of what could have been.