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Webber gets in kays with Porsche

2013-12-11 10:02

FIRST DRIVE FOR WEBBER: Still-contracted Red Bull F1 driver took time out in Portugal to drive for his future employer, Porsche, during testing of the LMP1 endurance race cars. Image: Porsche

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – Ex-Red Bull Formula 1 driver Mark Webber (37) has had his first drive in a Porsche LMP1 racer despite being still contracted to F1 team Red Bull.

From January 1 2014 he will officially join the Porsche factory team as a works driver to reinforce the already-signed Timo Bernhard (32), Romain Dumas (35) and Neel Jani (30).

HARD WORK AHEAD

Webber commented at the Portimao track in Portugal: “My first day in this fascinating project was an intense experience. It allows me to integrate with the team quicker and to contribute to further developing the LMP1 race car.

"We have a long way to go and it involves a lot of hard work. I have no misconceptions about this.”

Head of Porsche LMP1 Fritz Enzinger also appreciated the good will shown by the Austrian F1 team allowing Webber to drive: “I’m delighted to have Mark in the team so early. Red Bull Racing has helped us considerably."

Porsche ended its 2013 test programme with the new LMP1 race car at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve near Portimao, Portugal but testing will resume in early 2014 then Porsche will field two LMP1 race cars in the sports car World Endurance championship which starts in April with the Le Mans 24 Hours the highlight.

BIG CHALLENGES

WEC regulations stipulate that manufacturers run hybrid vehicles in the highest class for Le Mans Prototypes (LMP1). In developing the all-new LMP1 race car featuring a very efficient, high-performance hybrid drive, Porsche’s engineers are faced with major challenges that can only be solved using innovative solutions.

The race car has a hybrid system that consists of a four-cylinder petrol engine with direct injection and two energy recuperation systems. The recovered energy is stored in a battery until retrieved by the driver and sent to the front axle.

However, WEC rules limit the amount of fuel as well as the electrical energy, or so-called boost, available to the driver per lap. The development of such a highly-efficient drive will have positive influences on production development at Porsche.

On the test schedule were primarily suspension and tyre tests with partner Michelin. Previously, the Porsche LMP1 squad had pressed ahead with the development of the new race car on the Magny-Cours (France), Monza (Italy) and Paul Ricard (France) circuits, as well as on the Eurospeedway Lausitz (Germany).

CRUCIAL DATA

Enzinger stated: “We have made significant progress since the roll-out of the new car in June 2013. Every kilometre was important, providing us with data that brought the development forward. The whole team has worked extremely hard.

"Our efforts will continue unabated in 2014. Until the start of the season at Silverstone mid-April there is still a lot to do.”

Wolfgang Hatz from Porsche's research and development said: “We knew it wasn’t going to be easy to return to top endurance racing after 16 years so our efforts in developing a competitive Porsche LMP1 race car are immense

"Until now our engineers in Weissach, the drivers, the entire team, have performed impressively. We are finding new approaches in the development, implementation and application of leading-edge efficiency technologies.

"This also leads to further improvements of the entire hybrid technology in our production cars. Ultimately, our customers will benefit the most.
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Read more on:    redbull  |  porsche  |  mark webber  |  dubai  |  racing  |  motorsport

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