The new Porsche LMP1 racing car is currently being put through its paces in test drives on international circuits. Following its successful launch in June on the Porsche test track in Weissach, the prototype sports car – which has been completely redesigned – is working its way through a round of functional tests. In the most recent test drives, Neel Jani took to the wheel for the very first time. The former Formula 1 test driver from Switzerland has been part of the pool of regular LMP1 drivers since July 1, 2013, and supports Timo Bernhard (Bruchmühlbach-Miesau, Germany) and Romain Dumas (France) with the testing. The fourth driver is Australian Formula 1 driver Mark Webber, who will be bolstering the Porsche LMP1 team from 2014.
Next year, the Porsche LMP1 racing car is set to take to the starting line in the World Endurance Championship (WEC), as well as the 24 Hours of Le Mans. “The current test drives are enabling us to collect huge amounts of vital data; every single kilometre driven is important. However, in order to develop the highly complex LMP1 racing car so that it is fit to compete by the start of next year’s season, many more kilometres of testing are required,” highlights Fritz Enzinger, vice president LMP1. “We are pleased with the progress being made with each test.”
The new set of rules that apply to the WEC for 2014 are clearly focused on efficiency, and require the use of the latest hybrid drive technology. The aim of the new set of rules for the upcoming season is to significantly reduce fuel consumption in the racing cars taking part. The new Porsche LMP1 therefore needs to boast optimum efficiency while delivering maximum performance. The same applies to the development of Porsche series cars. By following motorsport’s lead, the development of each and every future Porsche vehicle can also benefit from these findings.
Porsche has been pursuing this transfer of technology from the field of motorsport since the launch of the 550 Spyder back in 1953. Be it dual ignition, disc brakes, optimised chassis, fixed spoilers, turbo engines, double-clutch transmission or the powerful hybrid drive – all of these forms of technology were initially tested by Porsche in race cars.
“After 16 years, we once again want to be a works team in the top category with the LMP1 in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2014. It is also our aim to contest the entire WEC season”, says Wolfgang Hatz, Member of the Executive Board Research and Development. “Porsche’s legacy of success in long-distances races really spurs us on, but also increases the level of expectation placed on us. However, we are happy to rise to this challenge.”