The Porsche LMDh race car will have a twin-turbo V8 engine developing up to 697 horsepower

Porsche returns to prototype racing next year, seeking more overall wins at Daytona, Sebring, Le Mans and elsewhere. For a little over a month now, the automaker has been teasing the new LMDh car in pictures and video, both to excite fans and, perhaps, as a warning shot to competitors. Today the net continues: Porsche has confirmed that its LMDh car will use a V-8.

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Naturally, Porsche is selective in the information it reveals. He describes the V-8 as a “high-capacity twin-turbo V-8 block” powered by some kind of renewable fuel and producing between 644 and 697 hp depending on the performance balance. This V-8 is based on the 4.0-liter biturbo used in various Cayenne and Panamera models, as well as other VW Group cars, although in a video released from the Weissach test, the LMDh engine sounds quite differently from a Cayenne Turbo. . To our ears it sounds like it either has a flat crankshaft or some sort of nifty exhaust system that sends evenly spaced pulses to either tailpipe (à la BMW M, the long-lasting twin-turbo V8).

Porsche notes in its press release that the LMDh regulations “allow great freedom in terms of displacement, design and number of cylinders”. The automaker also said regulations state that the engine cannot rev more than 10,000 rpm, must not exceed 110 dB in flight noise tests and weigh no less than 396.8 pounds. So it seems entirely possible that Porsche tweaked its road car V-8 significantly for its LMDh car, perhaps even increasing the engine capacity, as the press release makes no specific mention of the size of the engine here.

Porsche

porsche lmdh

Porsche

“We were spoiled for choice with the engine for our LMDh prototype, as the product line offers several promising base units,” Porsche Motorsport boss Thomas Laudenbach said in a statement. “We went with the twin-turbocharged V-8, which we believe offers the best combination of performance characteristics, weight and cost. The launch of the active testing program was an important milestone for the project.”

(Really, a V-8 seems like the only natural choice, since the twin-turbocharged 2.9-liter V6 Porsche uses is an Audi development, and a flat-six would probably be too wide for the Multimatic chassis.)

The V-8 will be associated with a hybrid system common to other LMDh cars, consisting of a battery from Williams Advanced Engineering, a motor-generator from Bosch and an Xtrac gearbox. LMDh regulations state that the engine and motor-generator will not combine more than 671 hp to the wheels.

porsche lmdh

Porsche

An image released by Porsche today shows what’s under the rear shell of the LMDh car. Prominent are the twin turbochargers, which, as with its road-going V-8, live in the valley between the two cylinder banks. They are connected to two extremely short exhaust pipes. It’s a little hard to tell what’s going on here – no doubt by design – although just below the exhaust we can see components finished in the distinctive shade of blue that supplier Multimatic uses for their shocks. Porsche used Multimatic shock absorbers with great success on its Le Mans-winning 919 and partnered with the Canadian firm for its LMDh chassis.

porsche lmdh

Porsche

Attached to the heat shield on the left exhaust is a plate with what appears to be part information. The number at the top seems to follow typical Porsche parts nomenclature, which has a three-character chassis code at the start. This one starts with 9RD, which could be the internal car code LMDh. Porsche has used the 9Rx designation twice before – its discontinued LMP900 race car was codenamed 9R3, while the successful RS Spyder LMP2 was codenamed 9R6.

Incidentally, the RS Spyder has been campaigned by Porsche and Team Penske, who have joined forces for this new LMDh program. The RS Spyder is also the only other Porsche sports race car to use a V-8.

Porsche is aiming to have its LMDh car in its first qualifying race, the 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona. So over the next year, expect to learn a lot more about this car.

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