First full test for Porsche 919 racerComment on this story
Le Castellet, France - It was the first time that all six works Porsche endurance racing drivers and their two brand new 919 Hybrid Le Mans Prototype Class 1 cars had been on circuit together and, like all first dates, not everything went smoothly.
The private test session at the Paul Ricard circuit in southern France from 24-26 March was also the first time the cars - which will compete in the 2014 World Endurance Championship - had been seen in their official livery on a race track.
Both crews - Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb in car No.14, and Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Mark Webber in No.20 - went through a comprehensive test programme. Despite several lengthy interruptions due to technical problems the two cars covered more than 800 laps of the 5.791km circuit (a total of 4756km) between them, including night running and countless pit stop practices.
The circuit is 470 metres above sea level and the Mistral winds blow strong and cold this early in the year but, although ambient temperatures ranged from as low as four degrees at night up to 12 degrees during the day, the track stayed dry throughout the test, except for a some light drizzle one evening.
THE RIGHT DIRECTION
Team principal Andreas Seidl said: "This the first time we ran two cars at the same time, which was demanding in terms of logistics and team coordination. Our target was to simulate a race weekend, in preparation for the two six-hour races that are coming up.
"What we learned was that we are going in the right direction as regards the teamwork between crew and drivers - but we have to improve the reliability of the cars."
The team stayed on at Paul Ricard after their private test to take part in the Prologue, an official test session for World Endurance Championship competitors on 28 and 29 March, ahead of the first round of the series, the Six Hours of Silverstone on 20 April.