The Porsche Team with its two 919 Hybrid cars set the fastest lap times on the first day of free practice for the opening round of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) in Silverstone (GB), and were also faster than the times from these sessions in 2015.
For the first time the team is going to the 5.9 kilometre long Formula One circuit with a high downforce aerodynamic package for the fast corners.
In the team’s debut season in 2014, as well as in 2015, the focus at this time of the year had been on preparing for the Le Mans 24 Hours, where low downforce is required.
For 2016 the WEC regulations stipulate eight per cent less fuel consumption and a reduced fuel flow for the class one Le Mans prototypes (LMP1). Therefore, the fact that the 919 has already beaten its 2015 pole time (1:39.721 minutes / average time from two drivers) in free practice, is thanks to the improved efficiency of the powertrain and the optimised aerodynamics.
In both free practice sessions the trio of reigning world champions – Timo Bernhard (DE), Brendon Hartley (NZ) and Mark Webber (AU) – topped the timesheets. The overall fastest lap of the day was set by Hartley in 1:39.655 minutes. The sister car of Romain Dumas (FR), Neel Jani (CH) and Marc Lieb (DE) came second in both sessions. In this car it was Jani who put in the fastest lap with a time of 1:41.344 minutes. A misunderstanding with a GT car sent Lieb temporarily into the gravel bed. The weather in Silverstone was classic for this track: rather cold with mixed conditions.
Andreas Seidl (Team Principal): “Although we only have the two first free practice sessions behind us, I think we can call it a good start to the season. Both sessions were technically trouble-free. Despite changing weather conditions, and especially rain at the beginning of FP1, we managed to tick off almost every box from our to-do list, including a qualifying simulation. Our high downforce package works very well together with the various tyres from our partner Michelin. This goes for a dry track as well as a wet one. Now we will be analysing all the data and continue to prepare for qualifying and the race.