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Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid race car [Video update]

by Mark Kleis

Following a full reveal last week, Porsche has released a new video highlighting its latest 911 GT3 Hybrid race car. Although not intended for public consumption, the video gives you an idea of what the GT3 Hybrid would look like out on the endurance race circuit.

Where most automakers are busy testing hybrid drivetrains with the intent to implement them into their next generation of consumer vehicles, Porsche engineers at the company's Weissech R&D center have instead decided to build a system that would have less potential for consumer applications, but instead help to give Porsche a boost in endurance racing. In particular, rumors suggest a full return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans by Porsche, and this hybrid technology could help to give Porsche the efficiency and power boosts it needs to be competitive as early as 2012.

What makes the system found in the 911 GT3 R Hybrid so unique is that it utilizes an electro-mechanical flywheel system to store energy - a system that resides in what is traditionally the front passenger seat. The system works by capturing kinetic energy during braking at speeds as high as 40,000 rpms. The flywheel is used to store the energy, as opposed to the batteries typically associated with gas-electric hybrids. The flywheel can then unleash the power for a six to eight second boost of energy into two 60-kilowatt motors that are driving the front axle.

The end result? The GT3 R Hybrid now has all-wheel drive capability, and a significant power boost that can be activated with the push of a button to help accelerate out of turns, or while attempting to overtake fellow racers. The electric motors work in conjunction with the traditional 4.0-liter 480 hp flat-six that is driving the rear wheels.

Despite the obvious benefits of a "speed on tap" system for power reasons, Porsche engineers say that the most significant benefit of this system is the increased efficiency - especially during endurance racing.

Porsche will officially unveil its new green race car at the Geneva Motor Show, and from there expect to see this green race car tearing up the pavement at the Nürburgring endurance racing series in mid-May.

Although the system in the GT3 R Hybrid wouldn't work in a consumer version of the car, Porsche has hinted that some technology may trickle down to a street version of the 911 in the near future.