For the seventh and penultimate round of the 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), the Porsche Team is heading to the Kingdom of Bahrain. On the 5.412 kilometre long Formula One track in Sakhir, the prototypes and sports cars will be driving into the dark for the third time this season. The six-hour race will start at 15:00 hrs local time, sunset is less than two hours later. For the Porsche Team with the two Le Mans Prototype 919 Hybrids, the Bahrain International Circuit is the first venue it will visit where it has had previous experience. Although this is from the early days of testing with the complex hybrid car, the data will still be useful for a baseline preparation. After two pole positions and three podium finishes in six races, the Porsche Team hopes to continue its positive return to racing and targets another podium finish.
Porsche Team confirms 2015 works drivers:
All six LMP1 works drivers – Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas, Neel Jani, Brendon Hartley, Marc Lieb and Mark Webber – will be driving the Porsche Le Mans Protoypes again in 2015.
Quotes before the race:
Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP1: “Our first season has hardly given us a breather. First we focussed on Le Mans and now the races with their individual challenges come in quick succession. We are proud that the Porsche 919 Hybrid has been competitive right from the start of the season. With such a fundamentally new and complex race car, you can’t take that for granted. The race team is learning from every kilometre covered. Races that are technically completely trouble free, like in Fuji and Shanghai, provide us with a great fund of data for 2015. In Bahrain we will now have another new experience, because it is the first time we will actually have any of our own data available. Our target is to be strong enough for another podium finish.”
Drivers car number 14
Romain Dumas (36, France): “I hope at least in Bahrain we will have a race weekend with no rain – it would be the first one in this WEC season. Also for the first time we are going to a track which isn’t completely new to our Porsche 919. This is quite important, and I think this circuit with its long straights and slow corners should suit our car. I have never raced in the dark in Bahrain.”
Neel Jani (30, Switzerland): “The Bahrain International Circuit is pretty much a stop-and-go track, and this should make it a good stage to show the performance of our Porsche’s highly efficient recuperation systems. But we also have to see how we cope with the potential of the tyres. Luckily it should be very warm in Bahrain and I will arrive there well acclimatised, as I went from Shanghai to India and from there to Bahrain.”
Marc Lieb (34, Germany): “Although our test in Bahrain was in the early days of the project in February, it should help us to start doing proper set up work right from the first session. The track’s lay-out is rather simple with plenty of long braking from high speed, for which we must get the hybrid system’s settings right. I think this is one of our strengths that we may benefit from in Bahrain.”
Drivers car number 20
Timo Bernhard (33, Germany): “Tyre wear is high on the Bahrain circuit and there are some good places for overtaking. I love driving in the dark and I hope I get a chance to be in the car after sunset. We have to see what the temperatures will be, as for the starting drivers it can be really hot and tough. About the circuit itself: The esses in the beginning of sector two are great. Corner ten is very special, as it has a blind apex and then closes. Sector three, with the long right hander, I find really cool. The last corner before the finish line again is tricky, as it’s got a tight apex and opens up quickly afterwards.”
Brendon Hartley (25, New Zealand): “I know Bahrain from my GP2 days and from testing with the 919 Hybrid. After the recent races have been progressively more encouraging with podium finishes and our pole position in Shanghai, we feel a bit more confident. I can’t see any reason why we shouldn’t be as or perhaps even more competitive in Bahrain. I’m looking forward to it. In case it is hot, this doesn’t only affect us drivers but also the cooling of the car. In this regard we should be able to benefit from our experience in Austin, so I think the team is well prepared.”
Mark Webber (38, Australia): “To me the best thing about Bahrain is the weather, which is really nice. Apparently I have never found out the secrets of that place, but perhaps this will change now thanks to Timo and Brendon. Technically the circuit should be good for us and for our car. It will be interesting to see how our performance develops, especially as we have been testing in Bahrain early this year.”
Facts and figures:
– The six-hours of Bahrain will start on Saturday, November 15, at 15:00 hrs local time. Sunset will be at 16:48 hrs.
– There are different circuit layouts available in Bahrain, but the WEC runs on the same one as Formula One. One lap is 5.412 kilometres long and has eight right handers and six left handers. The start-finish straight is 1.090 kilometres.
– The Bahrain International Circuit opened in 2004 and is located about 30 kilometres outside Bahrain’s capital of Manama.
– Over 30 islands in the Persian Gulf belong to the Kingdom. Its size is around 750 square kilometres – half the size of the city of London.
– Bahrain has nearly 1.2 million inhabitants.
– So far, after six out of eight races in the Porsche 919 Hybrid’s debut season, the Porsche Team has achieved three podium finishes (third places in Silverstone, Fuji and Shanghai) as well as two pole positions (Spa and Shanghai).