SOURCE: Porsche AG
LMP1 preview FIA World Endurance Championship in Spa-Francorchamps, round 2 of 9: Confidence ahead of the Le Mans dress rehearsal in Spa
The Porsche LMP Team before the Spa race
Neel Jani (33, Switzerland): “I think we can really look forward to Spa. Our perfor-mance in Silverstone was very encouraging given the fact we were racing our Le Mans aero kit. In Spa, it will be well-suited for the long high-speed sections of sec-tors one and three. For the twisting middle sector, higher downforce would be better but it remains to be seen how much we will lose there compared to the competition. Another aspect is the weather: In the case of heavy rain, I see the advantage going to Toyota.”
Earl Bamber (26, New Zealand): “Spa is one of the very few circuits I at least have some experience of driving the 919. When I was in the Porsche Simulator in Weis-sach before the 2015 race, I was surprised how fast I could go through Eau Rouge and then doing this in reality was very impressive. This circuit is definitely a special place and I’m sure our low downforce aero kit suits Spa much better than it did for Silverstone.”
Brendon Hartley (27, New Zealand): “We had a strong team performance in Silver-stone that we can be proud of but came up six seconds short of the win. We will all work extremely hard to climb one step higher on the podium in Spa. We expect an-other close battle but will arrive there with confidence.”
Thursday, May 4 2017
11:45-13:15 free practice
16:45-18:15 free practice
Friday, May 5 2017
10:25-11:25 free practice
15:25-15:50 qualifying LMP1 & LMP2
Saturday, May 6 2017
- The official WEC App can be downloaded free of charge with an extended (not free of charge) version available which includes full live streaming and full timing. The live stream is voiced by the FIA WEC TV team including live interviews from the pits.
- The WEC races can be followed on various international TV channels in Eu-rope, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, North and South America as well as in the Middle East and Africa.
The Porsche 919 Hybrid has been widely reworked for the 2017 championship. 60 to 70 per cent of the Le Mans prototype’s components are new developments. This especially concerns the areas of aerodynamics, chassis and combustion engine. However, the power train in principle remains the same. The innovative hybrid race car develops a system power of around 900 HP (662 kW) that comes from a compact two-litre turbo charged V4-cylinder (nearly 500 PS/368 kW) and two different energy recovery systems – brake energy from the front axle combined with exhaust energy. The combustion engine drives the rear axle while the electro motor boosts the front axle with an output of more than 400 PS (294 kW). The electrical energy that comes from the front brakes and the exhaust system is temporarily stored in a liquid-cooled lithium ion battery.
- The WEC efficiency regulations limit the amount of energy that can be used per lap. On the 7.004 kilometres long lap of Spa-Francorchamps, the Porsche 919 Hybrid can use 6.37 megajoule of electrical power from energy recovery systems and 1.784 kg/2.464 litres of petrol.
- At normal race speed, the Porsche 919 Hybrid is due for refuelling after a maximum of 24 laps.
- Refuelling and changing tyres may only be done sequentially, not at the same time. Only four mechanics may work simultaneously when changing tyres and also may use only one wheel gun at a time. That takes a lot longer than in F1, for example.
- The drivers are normally only changed when new tyres are needed.
- These different types of tyres can be used: three different compounds of slick tyres for dry conditions, a hybrid tyre (no profile either but softer cover) for mixed conditions and wet weather tyres. Four sets of dry weather tyres are available per car for qualifying and the race, this is two sets less than in 2016.
- For a permanent race track, a lap on the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps is re-markably long and peppered with 19 corners, many of them being spectacular ones. After the start, the field has to go through the right-hand hairpin of “La Source” before racing downhill to “Eau Rouge” to be compressed through its left-right combination. The uphill “Kemmel” straight leads to the winding back section of the circuit. After snaking through “Malmedy”, “Rivage”, “Pouhon” and “Fagnes”, at the exit of the right-hander “Stavelot” it’s full throttle again until the very tight “Bus Stop” chicane before the start-finish line.
- The circuit is situated in the triangle of the towns Stavelot, Spa and Malmedy. Because the German border is only 20 kilometres away, many race fans from this neighbouring country tend to attend.
- In 2016, the two 919 Hybrids locked out the front row of the grid. Bernhard and Hartley, who back then shared the car with Mark Webber (AU), took pole position with an average lap time of 1:55.739 minutes. The sister Porsche of Jani, Romain Dumas (FR) and Marc Lieb (DE) started second.
- In the race, Jani/Dumas/Lieb finished second, despite difficulties with the hy-brid system. The 919 of Bernhard/Hartley/Webber suffered two punctures and was pitted for more than one-and-a-half hours for repairs of consequential damage (body work and front gearbox). It was finally classified 5th in class.
- Earlier in the race, Hartley set the fastest lap of 1:58.431 minutes.