Stuttgart. The newly formed Porsche Team with the two Porsche 919 Hybrid Le Mans Prototypes had a good first day of practice at the Silverstone Circuit, where the first round of the World Endurance Championship (WEC) is taking place as a six-hour race on Sunday, the first of eight world championship rounds. Track conditions were ideal, sunny and dry with ambient temperatures between ten and 15 degrees. The Porsche Team completed a total of exactly 150 laps on the first day of the event, which is 883.65 kilometres.
Team Principal Andreas Seidl said: “Both sessions went fine, on both the technical side as well as in terms of operational procedures. This was an important experience for the team on this very special weekend, which marks Porsche’s return to the highest class of the sports car World Endurance Championship. With both cars we were able to complete our programme as planned, which focused on race preparation and tyre evaluation.
”The first two free practice sessions:
For the first free practice session Neel Jani and Marc Lieb shared driving duties at the wheel of the Porsche 919 Hybrid no. 14. Neel focussed on set-up work, Marc did the tyre comparison and clocked the overall fastest lap of the session (1min 44.042sec) on a fresh set of rubber.
The Porsche 919 Hybrid no. 20 was in the hands of Timo Bernhard for the first half of the morning session. After he had worked on the baseline set-up, he handed the car over to Brendon Hartley. Car no. 20 was sixth fastest overall (1min 45.157sec).
In the afternoon session Marc Lieb (car no.14) and Brendon Hartley (car no. 20) did a 25-lap long run each before handing over to teammates Romain Dumas and Mark Webber respectively for further long runs.
Porsche 919 Hybrid #14
Romain Dumas: “We have had a good Friday with both cars running smoothly, which obviously is a good sign. We have been testing several set-up options and will now have a look at what lessons we have learnt. For sure we still have room for improvement, but that’s normal. With the new Porsche 919 Hybrid we are in Silverstone for the first time, and we are almost starting from scratch while our competitors have a great deal of experience. We will continue step by step.”
Neel Jani: “I saw myself in P1 after only two laps, which was quite an enjoyable way to start. Obviously it doesn’t mean a lot in free practice, but nevertheless it was an enjoyable feeling. I have been concentrating on set-up work. We have made progress but, of course, there is still room for improvement.”
Marc Lieb: “We have had a very good and mostly trouble free first session. We were able to complete our entire programme in terms of set-up work and evalution of the Michelin race tyres. Everything went smoothly, so I am very happy. Also the long-run in the second session was good, as well as for me personally as it was a good exercise to manage traffic from a new perspective. In the GT car I was used to being the one who was overtaken, but now it is the other way round.“
Porsche 919 Hybrid #20
Timo Bernhard: “The first free practice session in the morning was very useful to get back into a rhythm. We have focussed very much on the car’s set-up and got a first impression of what to expect here in Silverstone. Nevertheless, so far it is difficult to judge from the lap times. There is still some work to do on the set-up as the car tends to understeer.
“Brendon Hartley: “It felt so good to get into the car for an official session after all the test and development work. We have had only a few minor issues but nothing major. It was a good start. Also we got a feel for the traffic, which was pretty interesting and occasionally a bit crazy. For me Silverstone is a home race as I can sleep in my own bed every night, which is a very nice bonus on top of everything else.
”Mark Webber: “Operationally it was a very rewarding day for the guys with two smooth sessions with both cars, which is very important for us at this early stage. With every lap we do we're learning a lot. We've got some performance to find, but we know what we need to work on. The team did a great job in getting a lot of the boxes ticked in terms of reliability and some other things we were a bit concerned about getting right today. I always love driving here at Silverstone, it's a beautiful track and it's great to be back here again with a roof over my head for the first time since 1998. I am used to having better visibility in the F1 car, so that was something to get used to as with the closed cockpit the visibility is a bit more restricted. I have already got a little bit of that endurance feeling, with a lot of different little things which I have clocked in my memory. I'm still a bit of a rookie to be honest, but I'm really enjoying it.“
Der Porsche 919 Hybrid:
With two different energy recovery systems the Porsche 919 Hybrid is the most complex race car the sports car manufacturer has ever built, and serves as the fastest mobile research laboratory for future road cars. The lightweight prototype is trimmed for extreme performance and efficiency. Besides the kinetic energy recovery system (MGU-K) under braking, the 919 Hybrid recuperates thermal exhaust energy (MGU-H) when accelerating. The combination of these two systems means a step into unknown territory for Porsche and a unique feature in the entire WEC. When the driver recalls the stored energy from the liquid-cooled lithium-ion battery packs, an electric motor drives the two front wheels with more than 250 hp. This power adds to the over 500 hp combustion engine (downsizing 2.0 litres V4-cylinder, turbocharged with direct injection) and this way the two systems result in temporary all-wheel drive.
“Home of British Motor Racing“
You can’t miss the message that Silverstone is the Home of British Motor Racing – the slogan welcomes you in huge letters at the main gate. The first circuit was built in 1948 in the grounds of a military airbase. Today’s track layout features a 5.891 km long and flat Grand Prix circuit with 18 bends. Many of their names are mentioned with great respect by drivers. For example the great combination of Maggots-Becketts-Chapel, which leads onto the Hangar straight, ending at the sharp right hander of Stowe corner. Silverstone is located in Northamptonshire, 130 kilometers Northwest of London.
The Sports Car World Endurance Championship WEC
Sports prototypes and GT vehicles contest the sports car World Endurance Championship WEC in four classes: LMP1 (eg. Porsche 919 Hybrid), LMP2, LMGTE-Pro (eg. 911 RSR) and LMGTE-Am (eg. 911 RSR and 911 GT3 RSR). They all compete together in one race but are classified separately.
The 2014 races
20 April Silverstone/Great Britain
03 May Spa-Francorchamps/Belgium
14/15 June Le Mans/France
20 September Austin/USA
12 October Fuji/Japan
02 November Shanghai/China
15 November Sakhir/Bahrain
30 November Sao Paulo/Brazil
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