24H Le Mans : Location check: good test day for the three Porsche 919 Hybrids
The official pre-test on Sunday in Le Mans was as busy as it was positive for the Porsche Team with its three 919 Hybrids. This day provides the only opportunity to test on the 13.629 kilometre long Circuit de la Sarthe. More than nine kilometres of the track consist of what are normally public roads. In total, the nine drivers sharing the three cars, which are carrying future technology with their power system of over 1000 HP, completed 124 laps. Porsche works driver Brendon Hartley (New Zealand) set the fastest lap time of the 67 cars taking part in the pre-test. He lapped the circuit in 3:21.061 minutes during a dry period in the afternoon. As a comparison: In 2014 the fastest 919 driver in qualifying was Romain Dumas (France) with a lap of 3:22.146 minutes, which back then was good enough for P2 on the grid (last year’s pole time: 3.21,789 min/Toyota). Changing weather conditions in the West of France provided the team with challenges regarding set-up work, but also with the opportunity to test on a dry, a damp and a fully wet track.
Andreas Seidl, Team Principal: “Certainly the test programme was somewhat limited because of the changing weather conditions. For reliable tyre evaluation I’m sure all the teams would have wished for a consistently dry track, as tyre wear will be a decisive factor in the race. It was important that all three Porsche 919 Hybrids were running all day. Our new drivers completed their mandatory ten laps to be allowed into the race, and this included Frédéric Makowiecki in the 919 Hybrid. As far as you can judge from the lap times, we will see very tight competition among the front runners. As expected, everyone was faster compared to 2014. Now it is important to look carefully at the huge amount of data we have gathered today. It was a great team effort to prepare so well for this test day and make the maximum use of it. Also it was another exercise for us to handle three cars.”
Romain Dumas (37, France): “It was a good day because we were able to drive in all kinds of different conditions. Of course, the ever changing track is difficult regarding proper set-up work, but for driving it is really good practice. We can see we are competitive and it is a close competition with the others. Compared to last year, our Porsche 919 Hybrid is a lot more agile. We made good progress when it comes to change of direction.”