The Porsche 919 Hybrid is not a vehicle you might ever expect to see on the streets of London. The vehicle was put together to meet the demands of the famous Le Mans 24 Hour endurance race. The race has been around since 1923 and is now the oldest existing endurance sports car race in existence.
You may have even seen a recent documentary detailing the huge learning curve that the now retired Olympic athlete Sir Chris Hoy has made to be able to compete in the Le Mans 24 and so have some idea of the demands of such a marathon. I am sure he would have been watching recent events with a keen eye as the Porsche 919 strayed from its normal hunting ground.
A sunny September morning saw the current FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) holder Mark Webber given the privilege of being able to drive his winning car through the deserted streets of London in a winner’s parade of sorts.
The demonstration took on a 4-mile route from Park Lane to Westminster Bridge via Piccadilly, Charing Cross, Embankment and Parliament Square. Thanks to light traffic, the planned return leg and then a further drive to Westminster was also able be completed, giving early morning motorists a jolt from the routine on their early morning journeys.
Webber had said he was looking forward to the unique journey saying that he was “stoked to be behind the wheel – it’s going to be pretty cool.”
You might think that driving around city streets would be a bit of a breeze for the 210mph 919 Hybrid with its rolling roadblock of 8 police riders, but it wasn’t a totally relaxed ride, as Mark pointed out that the car is not really designed to be driven so slowly.
Describing the event, Webber said that sadly he couldn’t see the tops of some of London’s iconic buildings due to the low roofline and endurance sun shield still in place on the car and had to concentrate on avoiding cyclists, kerbs and traffic lights – much more to do with the sleek, road hugging design of the car than Mark Webber’s driving abilities!
Webber has previously participated in a few F1 street demos, but this was unique due to it being at night, thanks of course, to the Porsche 919 Hybrid being equipped with lights.
Joining this race winning Porsche on the trip of a lifetime was the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid in advance of its showing at the Paris Motor Show.
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