Porsche will retain the same monocoque design for its 2017 LMP1 challenger, in what team principal Andreas Seidl is calling a “reasonable step” in development from this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans-winning Porsche 919 Hybrid.
Work on the German manufacturer’s updated 919 Hybrid has already been underway for a few months, with Porsche also in the process of finalizing the design of it 2018 model, which will be built to new LMP1 regulations and includes the allowance of a third hybrid system and 10MJ hybrid subclass.
“The regulations do not really change [for next year] and you have to do this parallel work on ’17 and ’18,” Seidl told Sportscar365 during last month’s Six Hours of Nürburgring.
“We will again keep the monocoque for next year, which will give some limitations on what you can do. But as I’ve said many times, we’re still a young team, so we still see a lot of potential even in the current car.”
With three wins in the opening four races, Porsche has again been the team to beat, although both Audi and Toyota have made significant steps during the off-season with its all-new R18 and TS050 Hybrid, respectively.
Porsche, meanwhile, will be heading into the third consecutive season with the same tub design, although with notable updates in aero and hybrid power for 2016. Seidl wouldn’t reveal the focus points for next year’s car.
“What I can see at the moment is that we’ll still make a reasonable step for next year,” he said. “We see the competition is close so we have to make steps; none of us can stand still.”
New regulations for 2017 will also come into play, with a further reduction of test days and wind tunnel testing, as well a move from three to two aero kits per LMP1 manufacturer.
“It’s not really a big change,” Seidl said. “We had three kits this year, but in the end, the first kit at Silverstone was our 2015 kit, slightly modified, so we put all focus on two kits this year.
“Then you just have to make the call on when do you bring them and how do you use them.”
No timeline, meanwhile, has been established to fill Porsche’s LMP1 technical director position, which was vacated by Alex Hitzinger in March. Seidl has since filled the position himself on an interim basis.
“We have no rush to make any changes,” he said. “We have a very strong team with the right spirit pushing day by day.
“I think we’ve made all the decisions for the ’17 and ’18 [cars], which is obviously a big challenge at the moment because you have to do it in parallel, plus performing in the 2016 season.”