Porsche 919 Hybrid wows London streets

Porsche 919 Hybrid wows London streets
Porsche 919 Hybrid wows London streets

The streets of London resounded to the sound of the Porsche 919 Hybrid Le Mans winner this week, as FIA World Endurance Championship title holder Mark Webber drove the 900bhp racing monster through the heart of the capital on an exciting early-morning promotional run.

Taking in classic locations such as Park Lane, Piccadilly, Charing Cross, the Embankment, Parliament Square and Westminster, the demo was accompanied by a Porsche convoy including the new Panamera 4 E-Hybrid ahead of its official debut at the forthcoming Paris motor show.

Forget the 919 Hybrid’s 210mph top speed; despite eight police outriders forming a rolling road block, the rush-hour traffic meant 10-15mph was more realistic. And such slow progress brought its own issues for the radical all-wheel-drive racing prototype.

Webber, who used only the four-cylinder engine, said afterwards: “The 919 Hybrid put up a bit of a challenge in terms of being able to go that slowly. The car is built to be a flying machine and take in a lot of air for cooling.”

The Australian has driven in several Red Bull Racing Formula 1 street demos before, but explained that this run was a much bigger challenge: “There were a lot of firsts for me. The length of the course was unique [compared to other demos], and it was dark – which we could obviously never do in an F1 car.”

He added that thanks to the darkness, the fact the 919’s windscreen is essentially cut in half by the sunshield required for endurance racing, and his high levels of driving concentration, he couldn’t take in many iconic London landmarks such as the top of Big Ben or much of Trafalgar Square.

“I was keen to miss cyclists, traffic lights, junctions and kerbs. The kerbs were a really nasty height for that car, so I couldn’t risk touching them,” he explained. He also had to concentrate on negotiating tight corners and junctions, and avoiding bottoming out on bumpy road surfaces.

He finished: “To do things like this is great. London is a global city full of international people. There’s always something interesting that pops up in London – and this morning it was us.”

LA Auto Show 2018: Audi, Porsche, Mini and more reveal new models

The LA Auto Show has become one of the most important arenas in the world for car manufacturers to unveil their new models, writes Jim McGill.And

LA Auto Show 2018: Mazda's cars have evolved - but their design philosophy is timeless

Hollywood: the home of the Oscars and the global blockbuster. Where dreams do come true. Well, that’s what the scriptwriters would have

Quiz - do you know what these dashboard lights mean?

A recent study found that millions of motorists are driving around with dashboard warning lights on and have no idea what they mean.The poll

Daily driver to driveway dream - is your car a future classic?

Think high-value classic cars and certain names spring to mind - Ferrari, Porsche, Bugatti - but in recent years even more mundane models have