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07 Jun 2016

Porsche 919 hybrids return to Le Mans

The two Porsche 919 Hybrids have completed pre-race testing at Le Mans.

The Porsche Team has used the official pre-test to set up the two Porsche 919 Hybrids for the 24-Hour marathon which starts on Saturday, June 19th. This provided the only opportunity to test on the 13.629 kilometre long Circuit de la Sarthe.

The track comprises of 9.2 kilometres of what are normally public country roads, including the famous Mulsanne straight on which the 900 HP strong Porsche Le Mans Prototypes achieved speeds of over 320 km/h.

The fastest lap in a Porsche 919 Hybrid, 3:22.270 minutes, was set by Mark Webber in the early afternoon. The Australian shares the car with Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley. As the reigning FIA World Endurance Championship champions, of which the Le Mans 24 Hours is the ultimate highlight, the trio’s car carries the number 1.

With a lap time of 3:22.334 minutes Neel Jani matched level of speed in the number 2 sister car. The Swiss leads the drivers’ standings in the WEC together with teammates Romain Dumas and Marc Lieb.

In total the two Porsche 919 Hybrids completed 173 laps (2,357.8 km) in seven and a half hours. The afternoon session was red flagged with 30 minutes to go at 17:30 hours for repairs to the heavily damaged guard rail following an accident. The day’s best lap time of 3:21.375 minutes went to the number 8 Audi.

Speaking once the testing was complete, Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP1 said: “The return to Le Mans after last year’s success is a special moment for us. Along with our endurance test in Aragon, today’s test went without any issues. Looking at the time sheets, for sure we can expect an exciting race weekend.

“The top four cars are within 1.2 seconds on a 13.6 kilometre long track – this underlines what we have kept saying since the beginning of the year: The competition has become closer and this goes especially for Le Mans.”

Andreas Seidl, Team Principal added: “It was a successful start for us, which makes us confident for the race. Both cars ran smoothly and we completed our entire test programme in dry conditions. In the morning session the focus was on set-up work, in the afternoon we worked mainly on long runs for the tyres.

“It was also important to practice all the Le Mans specific procedures with race control, such as safety car deployment and slow zones. As a team, we feel well prepared for the race week.”

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