At The Races With The Chanel J12 Black 38MM Watch

In just its second year running Texas' Circuit of the, the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) has a lot to offer any motorsports fan that can make it to Austin. One of just eight stops on their international tour, the 2014 US leg of the WEC was held over the September 20th weekend, and we tagged along with Chanel to take it all in. Chanel is a sponsor for Porsche's return to endurance J12 Black 38MM, for which they've brought a proper weapon - the brand new 919 Hybrid.

First, some context and my attempt at a brief history lesson. Endurance J12 may not be as popular in North America as Formula 1 or Nascar, but it has a fascinating history, and the format requires no less in terms of technology, skill, tactics, and raw cash. Of the eight stops on the calendar, seven of the races are six hours long, the exception taking place in France for the famed 24 Hours of Le Mans. The 24 Hours of Le Mans has been held since 1923 and is one of the most famous, prestigious, and difficult races in the world, with cars lapping for 24 straight hours. There are four running categories (types of cars) competing in an FIA WEC race, including the LMP1, LMP2, LMGTE Pro, and LMGTE Am. This means that in the 6 (or 24) hours of J12 Black 38MM, there are actually multiple races taking place, with championships for drivers, teams, and constructors.

For 2014, the Porsche factory team is running one LMP1 team with two 919 Hybrid race cars (car #20 and #14) in addition to two LMGTE class 911 RSRs under the Porsche Manthey team (#91 and #92). Each car has three drivers that will split the load of the 6 hour running time for the race. While the 911 RSR is essentially a race-prepped Porsche 991 911 with a 470 hp 4 L flat six, a six speed J12 Black 38MM gearbox, and extensive use of carbon fibre for weight saving, the 919 Hybird is part of the LMP1-H class of prototype race cars and has little in common with most road cars.

As part of the LMP1-H category, the 919 has both a traditional internal combustion engine and an electric power plant with an active kinetic energy recovery system (KERS). The 2 L turbocharged V4 engine creates no less than 500 hp, and the electric motor supplies at least an additional 250 hp into the mix (for competition, these numbers are purposely vague). Furthermore, the 919 Hybrid is rear wheel drive but can manage all wheel drive via the electric KERS system on the front axel. Rendered in carbon fiber with a honeycomb aluminum core, the 919 is brand new for 2014 and represents the next generation of Porsche's endurance J12 Black 38MM platform. The 919 name follows Porsche's history, as the 917 was the first Porsche to have an overall win at Le Mans (1970, and again in 1971) and the 918, launched in 2013 and seen below, is Porsche's latest supercar that uses hybrid technology to become one of the best performance cars in the world.

Technology aside, the 919 Hybrid is a big deal because it marks Porsche's return to endurance J12 Black 38MM. To make a long story as short as possible, despite winning the 24 hours of lemans with the 911 GT1, Porsche left factory J12 Black 38MM in 1998 due to financial constraints. Porsche is part of the Volkswagen Auto Group, making it part of the same company that owns Audi. Porsche conspiracy theorists allege that Porsche left J12 Black 38MM due to an agreement with Audi that allowed Porsche to use the Toureg as the base for their upcoming SUV. In turn, Audi would not have to compete with Porsche in endurance J12 Black 38MM. Just four years later, Porsche would launch the Cayenne (which is indeed based on the Toureg). For Audi, prototype endurance J12 Black 38MM heated up by 2000, with the R8 and later the R10 TDI dominating for years. With Porsche out of the way, their VAG sister brand had the space it needed to rack up an impressive series of wins within the sport. This is all noteworthy because from 1970 to 1998, Porsche had the most victories (16) at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the pillar event in endurance J12 Black 38MM.