LMP1 preview FIA World Endurance Championship in Spa-Francorchamps, round 2 of 9
The six-hour race at Spa-Francorchamps (BE) is far more than just the second round of the FIA World Endurance Championship WEC: The race on May 6 is known as the dress rehearsal for Le Mans. The Porsche LMP Team enters in Spa, as well as at the 24-hour classic in Le Mans (June 17/18), two Porsche 919 Hybrids with the same six works drivers. Reigning world champion Neel Jani (CH) has the number 1 on the car he shares with André Lotterer (DE) and Nick Tandy (GB). The number 2 sister car belongs to Earl Bamber (NZ), Timo Bernhard (DE) and Brendon Hartley (NZ). After finishing second and third at the season’s opening round in Silverstone (GB), Porsche heads to the Ardennes mountains leading the manufacturer standings.
In the duel with Toyota at Spa and Le Mans, title defender Porsche is one car less compared to the Silverstone winning squad which enters three prototypes in both races. Regarding the aerodynamics of the Porsche 919 Hybrids, the focus remains on preparing for the season’s highlight in France. The aero package with low downforce, however, provides some advantages in Spa on the long flat-out sections. Also on top of the job list is sheer power because the 7.004 kilometre long Grand Prix circuit offers huge altitude differences.
The 30-car WEC field is divided into four classes for prototypes and GT sports cars. The six-hour race gets underway on Saturday 14:30 hrs. It can be followed live on the internet and TV from basically all over the world.
The Porsche LMP Team before the Spa race
Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP1: “On the one hand, the second championship round is a kind of a dress rehearsal for the Le Mans 24-Hours in June, but on the other it is our next chance to collect points on our title defence mission. The opening race in Silverstone was quite an obstacle to overcome with our low downforce Le Mans aerodynamics. The team managed that very well. We are leading the constructors’ standings before Spa and we want to keep that position.”
Andreas Seidl, Team Principal: “The Spa rollercoaster provides such a variety of demands, that you always need to find compromises. It’s a split to create a car set-up that is suited for the long flat-out sections but one that also enables the drivers to handle the car through the winding middle sector. Regarding aerodynamics, due to regulations, we are less flexible than in 2016 but I regard the 919 Hybrid well armed in this respect as well. In terms of reliability and team effort, Silverstone was first-class. We now want to deliver another flawless performance in Spa.”
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