The countdown to the 2014 sports car racing season has begun. Following its successful launch in June on the company’s test track in Weissach, near Stuttgart, Germany, the Porsche LMP1 sports prototype race car – which has been completely redesigned – is working its way through a series of functional tests.
In the most recent test drives, Neel Jani (Switzerland) took the wheel for the very first time. The former Grand Prix test driver has been part of the pool of regular LMP1 drivers since 1 Jul this year, and supports Timo Bernhard (Germany) and Romain Dumas (France) with the testing duties. The fourth driver is Australian Grand Prix ace Mark Webber, who will bolster the Porsche LMP1 team from 2014.
Next year, the Porsche LMP1 (Le Mans Prototype 1) racing car will line up on the starting grid in the World Endurance Championship (WEC), and at the renowned 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,” said Fritz Enzinger, vice president of the LMP1 programme. “We are pleased with the progress being made with each test.”
A new set of rules apply to the WEC for 2014 which are clearly focused on efficiency, and require the use of the latest hybrid drive technology. The aim of the new rules is to significantly reduce fuel consumption of the participating race cars. The new Porsche LMP1 therefore needs to balance optimum efficiency while delivering maximum performance. The same, of course, applies to the development of Porsche road cars. By following motorsport’s lead, the development of each and every future Porsche vehicle can also benefit from these development breakthroughs.
Porsche has been pursuing this transfer of technology from the field of motorsport to the road since the launch of the 550 Spyder in 1953. From dual ignition, disc brakes, optimised suspension, aerodynamic spoilers, turbocharged engines, double-clutch transmissions to powerful hybrid drives — all of these forms of pioneering road car technology were initially tested by Porsche in racing 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”, said Wolfgang Hatz, Member of the Porsche AG Executive Board responsible for Research and Development. “The Porsche legacy of success in long-distance races really spurs us on, but also increases the level of expectation placed on us. However, we are happy to rise to this challenge.”
To follow the preparations of the LMP1 team ahead of its appearance in the 2014 WEC and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, visit www.porsche.com/mission2014. A host of exciting images, films and background information supporting a multi-media journey through Porsche motor sport history awaits visitors.