PORSCHE TOPS LMP1S IN PAUL RICARD TEST
Porsche dominated the times during last weekend’s FIA World Endurance Championship Prologue official test at Paul Ricard with its new 919 Hybrid LMP1.
The reworked Le Mans winner locked out the two fastest times across the two day test in France, with Brendon Hartley setting the outright fastest time to pip Neel Jani’s evening effort in the sister car. Both times were set during qualifying simulation runs.
Porsche’s new LMP1 challenger is an updated version of last year’s car, carrying over the same two-litre V4 combustion engine twinned with Porsche’s lithium ion battery energy storage concept. The engine has been lightened and Porsche has focused on finding extra efficiency from its hybrid systems and has also brought in a new front axle to increase set-up options.
For this year Porsche has been able to use the data collated from its world championship-winning 2015 campaign to create three bespoke aerodynamic kits for the WEC. It will start the season with a high-downforce kit for the first time at Silversone, before running low downforce for Spa and Le Mans. A third kit will feature for the final six WEC rounds.
The two new 919 Hybrids racked up 1365 miles of running during the Prologue. Porsche Team head Fritz Enzinger said: “We had a trouble-free run for both cars and got good feedback from our drivers. Therefore we are confident for Silverstone.
“Only there will it be possible to judge properly the overall competition. The Prologue is like the first scan of the grid and it is very useful.”
Mark Webber, who will share with Hartley and Timo Bernhard, said: “Overall it is a positive test for us. We got a lot of laps in. We don’t know much about the opposition but we prepared as best as we can for Silverstone. Before coming here, we hadn’t done much highdownforce work so this was good.”
Porsche has retained Neel Jani, Marc Lieb and Romain Dumas for its second 919 Hybrid.
The Silverstone season-opener is on April 16-17.