It has been the third comprehensive test with the new Le Mans Prototype, which will be officially launched in its final livery on March 26 in Paul Ricard. There, on the historical circuit in Southern France, on March 27 and 28 the so called Prologue is going to take place – a joint test for the entire field of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC).
Since Monday six Porsche works drivers have been sharing driving duties at the 5.078 kilometre long Aragon track: Earl Bamber (New Zealand), Timo Bernhard (Germany), Romain Dumas (France), Neel Jani (Switzerland), Marc Lieb (Germany) and Nick Tandy (Great Britain). The first Porsche 919 Hybrid that was built still runs in its black carbon-fibre colours. Together the drivers covered 7,599 kilometres in Aragon, which increases the total mileage of the new 919 to 18,866 kilometres of testing.
Despite some strong and gusty winds, overall the testing conditions were fine with the track being dry all the time and temperatures reaching a maximum of 22 degrees Celsius during daytime and falling to a low of 2 degrees Celsius during night running.
Team Principal Andreas Seidl said about the test programme: “The most important new components were an updated aerodynamic package. It is the spec we are going to run at the first two six-hour races in Silverstone and Spa. The days in Aragon were a mixture of endurance and performance testing for those two races. We also focused on tyre testing with Michelin, operational practice for the crew, such as pit stops and driver changes, as well as increasing our new drivers’ experiences with the 919.” While Nick Tandy has had some opportunities to drive the car, Earl Bamber had so far only joined the team’s Abu Dhabi test in January.
Andreas Seidl summarised: “We have continued our intensive testing programme seamlessly and were able to give all the drivers a good amount of mileage. While ticking off the boxes from the job list, we have gathered lots of data which will enable us to take the next steps on further improving the 919’s performance. To demonstrate the reliability for Silverstone and Spa we have completed our first race simulations with the new car. With regards to the 24-Hours of Le Mans we have identified some weak points which we will be sorting out now.”
The opening race of the World Championship takes place on April 12 in Silverstone. In exactly 99 days, on June 13, the 2015 Le Mans race will be given the green flag.