Porsche chasing elusive victory

September 18, 2014

Porsche chasing elusive victory

September 18, 2014


Since the race debut of their Porsche 919 Hybrid LM P1 car in the FIA WEC earlier this year, the Porsche Team continues to pursue its first victory.

After Le Mans, the Weissach-based squad used the three-month break to work on development and testing at different tracks in Europe, leading many to believe that they may pick up that highly desirable first win at the Circuit of The Americas this weekend.

The team and drivers are motivated to do well and have set high targets for themselves starting at this weekend’s technically demanding track.

Fortunately for Porsche drivers Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Timo Bernhard, who have no previous experience at the 3.4-mile, 20-turn road course, their teammates Marc Lieb, Brendon Hartley and Mark Webber have all raced at COTA in the past and will have shared their experiences ahead of the six-hour Lone Star Le Mans race.

“Well, I’m the only driver of car number 20 who hasn’t raced in Austin yet,” said Timo Bernhard. “But I know the track from the simulator in Weissach and, of course, I spoke with Mark and Brendon.

“It is a varied and demanding circuit. I can’t wait to take the car with a decent downforce level through the fast corners.

“Driving at night puts extra excitement into the race. I love racing in the dark and I hope to get the opportunity to do so again in Austin. The tricky time is before sunset when the sun is really low. You have got to be extra careful in the twilight before darkness, and your windscreen should be clean.

“Since Le Mans we are even more of a team than before, we are very close now – and highly motivated.”

At the other end of the spectrum is Berhnard’s co-driver, Marc Lieb.

“Last year when I raced the 911 RSR in Austin I found the circuit very interesting and technically demanding. I’m very much looking forward to taking the 919 Hybrid out on the track there. Especially in the fast corners, the downforce provided by the LMP1 car will make it a new driving experience.

“Having said that, for the long back straight you would rather want the car’s low drag Le Mans specification back. Sector three is another entirely different thing. There isn’t necessarily a harmonic flow between these corners, as you can actually choose between driving lines. But the lap time will tell you immediately what was the better and what was the worse solution.

“In 2013 the heat was extreme. Now the race starts later but, because of the high humidity, it doesn’t get cooler quickly in the night.”

The FIA WEC race goes green on Saturday, September 20 at 5 pm local time and will be broadcast live on Fox Sports 2.

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