It’s not just Ferrari that have been blasting around the Nordschleife at great speed recently – reigning GP2 champion and Williams F1 driver Nico Hülkenberg has completed a mini-test in Porsche’s latest showcase of its hybrid technology, as the young German turned three laps of the greatest circuit on earth ahead of the Nürburgring 24 hour race on May 15th/16th.  Unfortunately however, ‘The Hulk’ will not be taking part in the race as this was just a demonstration run.

Hülkenberg was highly impressed by the Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid

The test was not a random collaboration and instead came about due to the flywheel generator inside the cockpit of the GT3 R Hybrid being both design and manufactured by Williams – a hybrid system likely to be a strong source of revenue for Williams in the future.

The bright liveried 911 GT3 R Hybrid features two 82hp electric motors based at the front axle in conjunction with the standard rear engine 480hp four-litre flat-six.  Porsche engaged Williams’ knowledge and engineering to fit a flywheel generator instead of the traditional batteries system used in hybrid road cars, chiefly because the flywheel generator is able to store and deliver higher amounts of energy more quickly.  It is this technology that Williams tried to implement in their 2009 F1 challenger but ultimately failed to do so, so it’s good to see their technology finally being applied on track.

Click to view highlights from Hülkenberg's Nordschleife test

The main role of the flywheel is to combine the engine and electric motors to achieve less fuel consumption without compromising performance, obviously an important weapon to have in your arsenal in endurance racing.  Drivers can engage the flywheel like F1 drivers did their KERS by pushing a boost button on their steering wheel that sends energy from the charged flywheel to the front axle to provide an extra 164hp for 6-8 seconds.  Having tested this system, Hülkenberg had this to say:

Great car, fascinating technology and an incomparable track.  This circuit is unique – you can’t compare it to any other track in the world. This is certainly not the last time I’ll drive here.  Surprisingly, in the slow corners, the 911 is not far off a Formula 1 car. The mechanical grip is impressive.

It’s great to see F1 drivers getting behind the wheel of sports cars and reminds us of the days of 60s and 70s.  Wouldn’t it be fantastic to see Fernando Alonso racing a 599 GTO vs. Lewis Hamilton in a SLS AMG GT3 alongside their F1 campaigns?

You can see video footage of Hülkenberg’s test by clicking here.