In case someone haven’t seen the race.
Mark and his team were 6th. Here’s his comments.
“One hour of free practice wasn’t a lot to get two guys and the car ready for qualifying and to practice the qualifying procedures,“ Mark Webber said.
“Nevertheless, we had an eye on race preparation and kept doing set-up changes. In qualifying we might have left a bit of performance out there, but the team did a very good job. A possible wet race would give us an extra challenge on the operational side as well as on track. Despite the temporary four-wheel drive, any race car on the limit in the wet needs the maximum respect.”
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.
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 Brendon Hartley did a 25-lap long run before handing over to teammate Mark Webber who said of Friday practice:
“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.“
More about the Porsche 919 Hybrid, Mark is driving this year:
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.
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
“I always look forward to racing at Silverstone and this weekend will be no exception when I return as a Porsche works driver LMP1. I’ve raced there every year since I’ve been in Europe (with the exception of 1999). It’s well known that I’ve enjoyed two wins there in my Formula One career in 2010 and 2012 and while they were very special, I’ve also got good memories of the circuit in a sports car. In fact, the last time I raced a sports car around Silverstone was in ‘98 with my team mate Bernd Schneider in the Mercedes and we won the race. It really was one of my first big international wins.
“Going into my first race weekend since retiring from F1, things are going to be a bit different for me. Endurance racing is, of course, all about team work and it’s something I really enjoy being a part of. I’ll be sharing the workload behind the wheel with my two team-mates, Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley, and we’ll be working hard together to try and extract the most out of our number 20 car.
“Having spent the last 12 years racing a Formula One car around Silverstone, I need to see how I adapt to those of the circuits I have so much experience on. On a track layout like Silverstone, an F1 car is at its absolute peak, courtesy of the very high cornering speed. In the Porsche, Silverstone is one of the circuits which will take me slightly more time to adjust to because it’s going to be a bit slower, particularly through the corners where I’ll need to be a lot more respectful with the reduced amount of grip. It’s a case of being patient and making sure I am getting very good corner exits. I don’t think the difference between the two cars will be so noticeable down the straights. The sports car is still performing well but it’s heavier and has less downforce so I need to use my old F1 lines hoping that some of my tricks and techniques still work.
“We have had a very long and testing build-up to the first race. The prologue in Paul Ricard went pretty well but I think what’s going to be interesting is how sensitive we are to different tracks with the car performance. We are focussed on trying to have a clean weekend with the car and keeping it on the track at all times, which all sounds reasonably straight forward, but at this early stage it’s not, so we need to hit all the sessions and basically just keep it as simple as we can.
“Silverstone is my home race of the season. I’ve got a lot of family and friends coming to watch which is nice because often we couldn’t get tickets for them for the F1 race and now it is a little bit easier. I know I have a special following in the UK because I’ve lived here for a long time and I’ve had a lot of good banter with the English fans over the years. They have been incredibly supportive and it’s great that so many of them are planning to be at Silverstone for my first race in the WEC to cheer me on in my new venture.”
This is new to me
Need to know how you’re going to support Mark from the armchair this year? The 2014 WEC race calendar will feature eight races around the world, including the iconic Le Mans 24 Hours, and here’s how you can follow the action…
Motors TV will broadcast all races live in the UK (excluding Le Mans) starting with the season opener in Silverstone over Easter weekend; coverage starts on Sunday 20 April at 11:30 GMT. A replay will be shown on Eurosport 2 on Wednesday 23 April at 08:00 GMT.
In Europe the race will be shown live for the final hour by Eurosport International (18:00–19:00 CEST) with a replay on Eurosport 2 on Wednesday 23 April at 09:00 CEST.
In Australia Speed will show all eight rounds of the WEC starting with Silverstone on Sunday 20 April 12:00pm-07:00pm. http://www.foxsports.com.au/motor-sport/calendar
Please check TV programming for further information.
In addition to the TV coverage, the race can be followed live through the websites of the FIA WEC (http://www.fiawec.com/live.html), Le Mans TV (www.lemans-tv.com) and on the endurance racing radioweb service, Radio Le Mans (www.radiolemans.com).
Updates for the next races will follow.
That’s gonna be a very interesting book to read indeed.
ONE SEAT FITS ALL
F1 is a highly technical world, but when it comes to the car and the seat it’s rather simple: one car, one seat, one driver.
WEC is slightly different and there will be three drivers taking the same seat. But who are the other guys Mark will be seat-pooling with this season?
Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley in the Aussie Grit spotlight:
Brendon, what takes a Kiwi all the way to the other side of the world?
Obviously I grew up around motorsport and dreamt of F1. When I was 15 I had a massive opportunity, left home, left my family and ended up in East Germany which was interesting. I raced in Formula Renault, Formula Three, GP2 and in the LMP2 class. I have had some good and bad times in Europe. Now to be picked up by the most successful and iconic Le Mans team is incredible.
Timo, not quite such a long drive for you from Germany hey?
(Laughs) No, not really. I started in go karts and then drove Formula Ford for two years before Porsche picked me up which was the jackpot of my life. I’ve been with them now for 15 years and it’s been great to be part of the LMP1 project from day 1.
What’s your romance with endurance racing?
Brendon: I massively enjoyed my step from single seaters to endurance racing and was surprised about how much I love it. It’s quite unique to share the car with team-mates. It’s something you don’t do in a single seater. But when you start working together and form relationships with your team mates it’s great, an amazing part of racing to be in. It’s a team effort, it’s not just about the individual any more. You are part of this big team and as the driver you are the final piece of this big puzzle.
Timo: Endurance racing has its very own appeal. You have to be an all round driver, the cars are fast, you have to get your head together and focus on every single detail, manage traffic and race at night – the list goes on…
What can I learn from you guys?
Brendon: I can help you out on how best to squeeze yourself into the car and seat as you’re similar in height to me Joke aside… it’s a really unique opportunity with me being the youngest in the program and obviously the least experienced. But I am sure I’ll be learning from you guys and continue to develop as a sports car driver.
Timo: I think I can definitely share my experience from the endurance racing side, the specialities of driving at night, reading the traffic and overtaking as this is also something I know well from the other side when I was racing GT cars.
Is the seat still warm when you get in after me?
Brendon: It was a bit warm the other day mate and actually a bit sweaty. Mark: Yeah long stint mate…
Timo: Oh yes, it’s almost hot!