919 Le Mans Car’s Suspension Used for Porsche 911 Rock Crawler’s Performance

Record-breaking 911 Carrera 4S credits unique suspension to unexpected source in December feat

Last December, the renowned competitor of the Le Mans race, Romain Dumas, steered the extensively altered Porsche 911 Carrera 4S that shattered the record for the highest altitude achieved by a wheeled vehicle. However, Dumas is not the sole link this extraordinary 911 shares with the famous 24-hour endurance event; its innovative suspension was initially designed for the specific demands of Le Mans.

Although a significant portion of the Carrera’s drivetrain remains unchanged, its suspension has undergone a complete revamp, featuring Porsche’s innovative Warp Connector system. Initially designed for the victorious 919 Hybrid at the Le Mans race, this technology was abandoned in the early stages of the car’s development and only recently brought back for this particular project.

The suspension system in a Porsche is truly unparalleled. It differs greatly from those found in any other model of the premium car brand.

Rather than functioning separately, the Warp Connector suspension unites all four corners to optimize traction. The front and rear axles are linked crosswise to individual springs and dampers mounted centrally. Under the hood, just before the windshield cowl, is where the front axle’s spring and damper configuration is located. Similarly, at the back of the cabin, where the parcel shelf is typically situated, is where the rear axle’s spring and damper can be found.Instead of operating independently, the Warp Connector suspension synchronizes all four corners for ultimate traction. Both the front and rear axles are transversely connected to their own centrally placed springs and dampers. The front axle’s spring and shock arrangement are situated under the hood, directly in front of the windshield cowl. As for the rear axle, its spring and shock are located at the back of the cabin, traditionally where the parcel shelf is positioned.

The crucial element in the Warp Connector is known as the “linker.” This sturdy bar functions as the last key component in the system. It joins each axle in a longitudinal manner through a series of pivot points. The linker generates a tension that twists between the front and rear, thus when one axle moves in a specific direction, the linker exerts a force on the other axle, compelling it to move in the opposite direction.

This indicates that any force directed upward towards a wheel, such as when a tire encounters a large rock, is converted into downwards force for the other three wheels. The opposing wheel obtains its downward force through the centrally located spring and shock absorber, while the opposite axle receives its downward forces via the Warp Connector bar. Due to the interconnectivity of the system, all four corners continuously interact with each other, exerting pressure to remain in contact with the ground below. As a result, the 911 remains stable even over significant obstacles like rocks, dips, and uneven surfaces. To illustrate, here is a showcase of the system at work:

Engineers were initially hesitant to construct a full-scale prototype with such a significantly altered suspension system. As a precautionary measure, they decided to first build a scaled-down model.

According to Sven Schaarschmidt, the chassis engineer for the groundbreaking car, the inspiration for its suspension came from a model RC car with a similar mechanism. Despite minor visual differences, the fundamental concept was replicated. This allowed the team to experiment with the miniature version on a desk, manipulating the wheels and observing how the components interacted. Such experiments gave them an indication of the feasibility of implementing this system in a life-size vehicle.

One inquiry still lingers: Despite the Warp Connector’s success in this 911, why was it excluded from the 919 venture?

According to Schaarschmidt’s statement to Motor1, the 919 engineers were faced with several challenges when it came to improving the car. In order to better understand and address these issues, they decided to streamline the vehicle by eliminating a particular system. However, as a result, the car began performing exceptionally and there seemed to be no need to reintroduce the removed system.

Porsche has yet to disclose its intentions for further development of the Warp Connector concept. However, given its significant size in the record-breaking 911 model, it is likely that there may be limited options for its practical use in production. Nevertheless, it remains a remarkable feat of engineering that deserves recognition for its contribution to setting a world record.

It is difficult to predict, but it seems that the reappearance of the Warp Connector will most likely be in a motorsport setting, considering that is where it was initially used. Fortunately, race cars do not have to concern themselves with taking up additional room in the cockpit or storage areas, making it a desirable option for competitive purposes. However, this is mere conjecture on our part.

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