To prepare for the second part of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) the Porsche Team last week tested the Le Mans Prototype Porsche 919 Hybrid for three days at the Eurospeedway Lausitz near Dresden, Germany. Porsche works drivers Neel Jani (Switzerland), Romain Dumas (France), and Mark Webber (Australia) logged 2,031 total km during the test. The other three LMP1 works drivers, Timo Bernhard (Germany), Brendon Hartley (New Zealand), and Marc Lieb (Germany) tested in July in Paul Ricard, South of France, where they did 2,167 km.
The Eurospeedway track was dry with ambient temperatures up to 68° F. and occasional gusty winds. Conditions will likely be warmer for the next WEC event, the 6 Hours of Circuit of the Americas, part of Lone Star Le Mans in Austin, Tex., Sept. 18-20. September high temperatures in Austin average 91° F.
“The target is to systematically improve the 919 Hybrid’s performance,” said Porsche Team Principal Andreas Seidl. “That wasn’t possible before the Le Mans 24-Hours as we had to focus on reliability and had to freeze the car specification. Nevertheless we saw the car’s potential and learned a lot during the first three championship events. Now we are working our way through the job list. We have successfully tested here with improvements in all areas of the car. The introduction of our new aero update was important. It provides a higher downforce level and should help to improve the 919 Hybrid’s race performance for the remaining rounds of the championship.”
The #14 Porsche qualified third in the 2014 WEC’s first event at Silverstone, with the #20 (Bernhard, Hartley, Webber) finishing third. The #14 Porsche took the pole in the next race at Spa, but finished fourth. The Porsches showed great qualifying speed at Le Mans as well, the #14 taking the grid P2 and the #20 P4, both ahead of all three Audi entries. The #14, however, finished P11, completing 348 laps as compared with 379 for the winning #2 Audi Sport Team Joest R18 e-tron quattro. The #20 failed to complete the last lap of the race and was not classified amongst the finishers.
The Porsche 919 Hybrid will undergo another round of testing in early September before the Austin race, the fourth of eight rounds of the FIA World Endurance Championship. The final four 6-hour races are in Fuji (Oct. 12), Shanghai (Nov. 2), Bahrain (Nov. 15), and São Paulo (Nov. 30).