For the Porsche Team the final stages of preparation for the 2014 World Endurance Championship (WEC) have begun. The team tested its newly developed 919 Hybrid, entered in the top class of Le Mans Prototypes, for three days (March 24-26) at the Circuit Paul Ricard in southern France.
For the first time the innovative hybrid LMP1 race cars have appeared in their final livery on a race track. The graphic in the design shows the first letters of Porsche’s market core “Porsche Intelligent Performance“. On Friday in Paul Ricard the WEC Prologue begins, the first meeting of all the World Championship cars is looked forward to with great excitement.
During Porsche’s exclusive test on the 5.791 kilometre long track all six LMP1 works drivers were on duty. Both driver line-ups, Romain Dumas/Neel Jani/Marc Lieb (car number 14) and Timo Bernhard/Brendon Hartley/Mark Webber (car number 20) completed a comprehensive test programme. The programme was interrupted several times due to technical problems, but, nevertheless, the test was highly productive, including night running and countless pit stop practices.
Regardless of the strong and cold Mistral winds early in the week on the circuit, which is 470 metres above sea level, the team enjoyed excellent testing conditions. With ambient temperatures from as low as four degrees at night and up to 12 degrees during the day (track temperatures 4-23°C) the circuit was dry, except for some light night-time drizzle on one occasion. Together the two 919 Hybrid cars covered a mileage of 4,756 kilometres.
Team principal Andreas Seidl: ”This test was a very challenging one for the entire crew. For the first time we were running two cars at the same time, which was demanding in terms of logistics and team coordination. The other target was to simulate a race weekend in order to prepare for the two six-hours races that are coming up. This was a very important experience for us. The test taught us that we have to improve in terms of reliability. With regards to the way the crew and drivers worked together as a team, we are going in the right direction. The next two days of testing here in Paul Ricard, during the Prologue, will be used to fine tune both the car’s set up, as well as the race specific processes.“
After the Prologue, the test shared by the whole WEC field on March 28 and 29, the first round of the World Championship will follow on April 20, it is the 6 Hours of Silverstone (Great Britain).