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Webber's not lifting foot after F1

2013-11-08 10:49

BUBBLY IN ABU DHABI: Red Bull's Mark Webber was on the podium after the 2013 Abu Dhabi F1 GP but next year he'll be racing Porsches in endurance events. Image: AFP

Nick Mulvenney

SYDNEY, Australia - Mark Webber, now 37, has no intention of coasting when he calls time on his 12-year career in Formula 1 at the end of the 2013 season and is determined to put Porsche back on top of the podium at Le Mans sooner rather than later.

The Australian revealed in June 2013 that he had signed a multi-year deal to race for the German brand in the World Endurance championship, the centrepiece of which is the Le Mans 24-hour endurance classic in France. While Webber said he would miss F1 - the not, perhaps, his Red Bull team mate Sebastian Vettel - his competitive nature will not allow him to slow down.

TWO STARTS, NO FINISHES

He told Australia's Channel 10 TV: "I've got those memories. They're great and I really enjoy having them but, to look at the next chapter, I can't put my feet out of bed each morning with no super purpose - I still need to do something. I can't turn racing off and just finish."

Webber has twice entered Le Mans but failed to complete a lap. His engine failed in 1998 and in 1999 his Mercedes flipped into the air twice during practice and the team withdrew for safety reasons. Porsche's record at the Circuit de la Sarthe, however, is much better with 16 wins, including seven in a row from 1981-87.

Audi has dominated since the turn of the century, though, and Webber's new team will have its work cut out on its return to the top class in 2014.

TWO WINS IN MONACO

"I'm looking forward to this embryonic stage, to Porsche returning to the race in which it has been so successful," Webber said. "They've the record for the most wins at Le Mans and I am looking forward to working with them and keeping my adrenalin ticking over."

To add a Le Mans success to his two wins in one of motorsport's other great races, the Monaco GP, would be some achievement, he thought. "I love that circuit, I love driving at night to the limit," he added. "It's human nature to want more - I want to win Le Mans, to put that with the Monaco... that would be nice - but the first goal is to win Le Mans, win that outright.

"We'll go from there."
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