WEC Porsche: Before Le Mans dress rehearsal at Spa

© DR

Drivers love her corners, fans enjoy the atmosphere, engineers become desperate about the layout: At the Spa-Francorchamps circuit the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) holds its second of nine rounds on May 7. The six-hour race on the breath-taking track in the Ardennes mountains counts as the dress rehearsal for the Le Mans 24 Hours (June 18/19).

This is due to the Belgian circuit’s long full throttle sections, which are approached with low downforce. The aerodynamic configuration is key and will be a mixture between the Silverstone (high downforce) and the Le Mans specifications (minimum drag).

Brief review: At the season’s opening round in Silverstone it became clear that the class 1 Le Mans prototypes, of which the Porsche 919 Hybrid is one of them, hadn’t become any slower despite having eight per cent less fuel available per lap. The fastest race lap (Neel Jani, 1:40.303 minutes) was over half a second quicker than last year’s bench mark in the race (Audi, 1:40.836 minutes), and even nearly two seconds better than last year’s fastest race lap set by a Porsche (1:42.245 minutes).

The Porsche trio of Romain Dumas (FR), Neel Jani (CH) and Marc Lieb (DE) is currently leading the drivers’ championship and wants to defend this position, or preferably extend it. The sister car’s crew with the reigning World Champions Timo Bernhard (DE), Brendon Hartley (NZ) and Mark Webber (AU) had a solid lead of 45 seconds in Silverstone, but retired after an accident when lapping a GT car and desperately wants to catch up now.

“Both our cars were competitive enough to win the Silverstone race,