Porsche enjoyed a busy and trouble free beginning to the Mexico race weekend with the two 919 Hybrids. The first day of the fifth round of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) saw a 90-minute test session and two free practice sessions of the same duration each. The extra test was to help the teams and drivers familiarise themselves with the special track conditions ahead of the WEC’s debut on the short 4.304 kilometre Formula One circuit.
It has a very long straight (1.2 km) and many tight corners. Also it lies 2,250 metres above sea level – the thin air because of this influences aerodynamics and cooling.
In warm and almost constantly dry weather conditions the championship leaders Romain Dumas (FR), Neel Jani (CH) and Marc Lieb (DE) came fourth in the first free practice session (1:27.205 minutes), and were fastest in the second session with Jani’s 1:25.810 minute lap being the fastest overall of the day. The reigning world champions, Timo Bernhard (DE), Brendon Hartley (NZ) and Mark Webber (AU), finished the two sessions in third (1:26.948 minutes) and second (1:26.058 minutes) respectively. In total the six drivers in the two Porsche 919 Hybrids completed 276 laps on Thursday.
Team Principal Andreas Seidl said: “A big compliment to the team at home and at the track for the job they did in preparing for the race here in Mexico. The circuit was new to all of us and, on top of that, there is the challenge coming from the high altitude and its impact with low air density. Thanks to the decisions made beforehand for the cooling configuration and the car set-up, we were able to start our programme immediately. With both our 919s we did a lot of laps, had no technical issues and were constantly improving. So far we are very pleased with the performance of our cars. The competition is once again very tight, so we can look forward to an exciting qualifying and race. The weather forecast for the race on Saturday predicts a high chance of rain, which would mean an extra challenge.