Mark Webber got his first opportunity to drive Porsche‘s LMP1 challenger for the 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship as the marque brought it’s 2013 testing schedule to a close at the Portimao circuit on the Algarve.
Having been released from his contract early by Red Bull Racing the Australian was able get his first laps in the car, which features elctric hybrid drive to the front wheels and a four cylinder petrol engine. He officially joins Porsche factory squad on January 1, uniting with 2014 teammates Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas and Neel Jani.
“My first day in this fascinating project was an intense experience for me,” said Webber. “I would like to thank Red Bull Racing for giving me the chance to join the project so early. This is a major and important step for us all. It allows me to integrate with the team quicker and to contribute to further developing the LMP1 race car. We have a long way to go and it involves a lot of hard work. I have no misconceptions about this.”
The test session was primarily aimed at gaining data on the car’s suspension and the tyres for partner Michelin.
“Between the roll-out of the completely new car in June and now we have made significant progress,” said Head of Porsche LMP1 Fritz Enzinger. The team have previously tested at Magny-Cours, Paul Ricard at the Lauzitzring. “Every single kilometre was important, providing us with new data that brought the development forward. The whole team has worked extremely hard and I would like to express my sincere thanks for this. Our efforts will continue unabated in 2014. Until the start of the season at Silverstone mid-April there is still a lot to do.”
Porsche’s testing program will begin again early in the new year ahead of the car’s competitive debut at the the first round of the FIA World Endurance Championship – the Six Hours of Silverstone – on April 20.