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No matter how fast they are, rules and regulations mean there’s always the potential for race cars to go faster. Having withdrawn from the World Endurance Championship (WEC) last year, the boffins at Porsche have set about squeezing all the potential from the all-conquering 919 Hybrid.

The resulting 919 Hybrid Evo has set a new lap record at Spa Francorchamps, besting the time set by Lewis Hamilton in 2017.

Neel Jani, works driver, lapped the legendary circuit in 1:41.700, with an average speed of 245.61km/h and a top speed of 359km/h. By way of comparison, Hamilton laid down a 1:42.553 during qualifying last year.

So, how does the Evo differ from the ‘regular’ 919? To start with, it’s been treated to a host of upgrades initially designed for the 2018 WEC season.

Such is the pace of development in world motorsport, the team was working on the follow-up to its 2017 car before the high-ups in Stuttgart decided to pull out – rather than waste that effort, those changes have been fitted to the Evo.

WEC fuel-flow regulations previously limited the V4 petrol engine to around 500hp (373kW), and capped the electric motor at around 400hp (298kW). Now, they’re making 720hp (537kW) and 440hp (328kW) respectively.

Along with the uprated powertrain, the car has a new front diffuser and rear wing, both of which are now actively controlled. The underfloor turning vanes have been revised, and the fixed-height side skirts are new for 2018. As a result, the Evo creates 53 per cent more downforce than before, and boasts a 66 per cent better efficiency.

Finally, the loss of non-essentials like air conditioning, windscreen wipers, sensors, race-control monitors and a pneumatic jack has shaved a handy 39kg.

Having given Hamilton a bath at Spa, the Porsche team plans to tackle the Nurburgring and Laguna Seca on its 919 Tribute Tour.

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