The first and second free practice sessions on the Silverstone Circuit marked the start of the season-opening countdown for the Porsche Team Manthey at the sports car World Endurance Championship WEC on Sunday. In the first session, Porsche works drivers Joerg Bergmeister (Germany), Patrick Pilet (France) and Nick Tandy (Great Britain) posted the fastest time in the GTE-Pro class with the #91 Porsche 911 RSR. The top time in the second session went to their factory driver colleagues Marco Holzer (Germany), Frédéric Makowiecki (France) and Richard Lietz (Austria) in the number 92 Porsche 911 RSR.
In the GTE-Am class, Porsche junior Klaus Bachler (Austria) set the quickest time in session two at the wheel of customer team Proton Competition’s 911 RSR. His teammates are Christian Ried (Germany) and Khaled Al Qubaisi (Abu Dhabi).
Hartmut Kristen, Porsche Head of Motorsport: “Today we focused on the tyre varieties that are available to us, plus the usual set-up work. There were no significant problems. It looks good for the qualifying and the race. All the prerequisites for an exciting season-opener are there.”
Patrick Pilet (#91): “The main priority with the new tyres in the first practice session was that each driver had the chance to turn some laps and get used to the circuit. Already then you could see that the basic configuration of our 911 RSR is very good, possibly even the best that we’ve ever had on the track. In the second session we worked on the set-up and tried to find out how the tyres changed over the course of a stint. Having a consistently fast car is the key to success in Silverstone.”
Joerg Bergmeister (#91): “In the first practice we went out on a new set of tyres and accordingly the result was good. Later I stayed out on the track for more than an hour to observe tyre wear. We learned a great deal from this.”
Nick Tandy (#91): “I’m looking forward to supporting Patrick and Joerg, particularly here in Silverstone. We had good sessions today and we were able to work through our programme without any problems.”
Marco Holzer (#92): “I haven’t driven in Silverstone for a long time. I needed the first laps to familiarise myself with the circuit and then everything ran better. We were able to complete the full programme today that we had set ourselves. Primarily, it was not about turning fast laps. At a six-hour race it’s important to maintain a consistent speed over the race distance. Today we were right up there but that doesn’t really say a lot. Only in qualifying are all the cards laid on the table.”
Frédéric Makowiecki (#92): “That was my first official practice session with the 911 RSR and I must say that the Porsche engineers have done some really terrific work over the winter. Our overall car and tyre package is very good. Of course you always find little things that you can improve on, that’s what free practice is for, but the basis is already very good.”
Richard Lietz (#92): “I did a lot of driving today. Our car needs a bit of fine-tuning but it was very consistent in the dry today. And in the rain the 911 is good anyway. I’m feeling quite confident for the race.“
The six-hour race in Silverstone starts on Sunday at midday local time (13.00 hours CEST) and is broadcast live on the internet under www.fiawec.com. Eurosport televises the last hour of racing live from 18.00 hrs CEST.