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To prepare for the second part of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) the Porsche Team has been testing with the Le Mans Prototype Porsche 919 Hybrid for three days at the Eurospeedway Lausitz near Dresden in Germany. The Porsche works drivers Neel Jani (Switzerland), Romain Dumas (France) and Mark Webber (Australia) covered 2,031 kilometres in total. The other three LMP1 works drivers, Timo Bernhard (Germany), Brendon Hartley (New Zealand) and Marc Lieb (Germany) tested in July in Paul Ricard, South of France, where they did 2,167 kilometres.

Conditions at the Eurospeedway were fine from Tuesday to Thursday inclusive. The track was dry with ambient temperatures up to 20 degree Celsius and occasional gusty winds.

Team Principal Andreas Seidl drew a positive conclusion to the test: “The target is to systematically improve the 919 Hybrid’s performance. That wasn’t possible before the Le Mans 24-Hours as we had to focus on reliability and had to freeze the car specification. Nevertheless we saw the car’s potential and learnt a lot during the first three championship events. Now we are working our way through the job list. We have successfully tested here with improvements in all areas of the car. The introduction of our new aero update was important. It provides a higher downforce level and should help to improve the 919 Hybrid’s race performance for the remaining rounds of the championship. The team did an excellent job in preparing and conducting the test. Thanks to this we were able to complete our programme in its entirety and are really pleased with these three days.“

Early in September the Porsche 919 Hybrid will undergo another test before 20th September when the fourth of eight rounds of the FIA World Endurance Championship is held in Austin, Texas (U.S.). The further four six-hour-races will take place in Fuji (Japan, 12th October), Shanghai (China, 2nd November), Sakhir (Bahrain, 15th November) and São Paulo (Brazil, 30th November).

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After a strong performance by both 919 Hybrids the Porsche Team was left empty handed after a dramatic final stage of the race. After more than 22 hours the LMP1 crew of car no. 20 (Timo Bernhard/Brendon Hartley/Mark Webber) suffered a powertrain problem at the most famous endurance race in the world. Earlier in the race the car was leading for a significant period. The second innovative and highly complex prototype – in the hands of Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb – likewise proved to be very competitive, but was hampered by a drivetrain problem. However, their no. 14 car crossed the finish line under its own power.

After a thrilling start to the race with changing weather conditions, numerous accidents and a relatively calm night, Timo Bernhard took the lead in the Porsche 919 Hybrid. This was after 20 of the 24 hours. At 12:36 on Sunday he handed the leading car over to Mark Webber. Less than 20 minutes later the Australian was forced to slow down and drove solely on electric power back to the pits. The team could not repair the damaged powertrain.

Not even half an hour later, the sister car with Marc Lieb at the wheel had a gearbox failure. Car no. 14 was lying fourth before it was pushed into the garage at 12:54. Shortly before the chequered flag was waived, the Porsche 919 Hybrid returned to track but in the end was not classified.

Matthias Müller, Chairman of the Executive Board of Porsche AG: “Our return to Le Mans has been a strong team effort. It almost happened that our secret dream came true to top the debut of the Porsche 919 Hybrid with a podium finish. For a remarkable period we were leading the race. I want to thank everyone who contributed with hard work. Now we keep our heads up and will plan an even stronger return for 2015.”

Wolfgang Hatz, Board member for Research and Development Porsche AG: “It was our declared target to finish this race. This didn’t really work out, but at least we have managed to show the huge potential of the 919 Hybrid and its innovative powertrain. We believe in our courageous concept and we will develop it further. We have already started work on the 2015 race car.”

Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP1: “This result is not the reward our team deserved after this intense time of preparation work. We have had an unbelievable and unforgettable race with its highs and lows. Everyone in the entire team was working to the limits and never gave up. I am very proud of our team.”

Andreas Seidl, Team Principal LMP1: “At the moment, of course, there is a lot of disappointment. But if anyone would have told us before the race that the outcome would be what it was, we would have been very happy with it. We have learned a lot for next year and tomorrow we start to prepare for 2015. The drivers and the entire crew – everyone did a great job. We are proud to have brought one car to the finish line. To be able to fight with the other one for the silverware until shortly before the end was the icing on the cake.



Porsche 919 Hybrid (car no 20)
Timo Bernhard: “I think, after all, it was a great return for Porsche – to come back to Le Mans and to the WEC after such a long time. But for me it is very sad because we were fighting very hard – at the end, in fact, also for the victory. It would have been a podium at least. It is hard to take, the guys did a great job. The car was running well. We had some difficult issues with the balance of the car, and it was not easy to drive. But in the end, I was saving fuel and keeping away from the kerbs. And then we had a broken engine, which happened in first gear. But I think the bottom line is, it’s a great return by Porsche.“

Mark Webber: “That was tough for everyone. It would have been such an amazing achievement to go through to the finish. I think we never expected to be in such a great position towards the end of the race. What Porsche did is a very big feather in its cap. Few people know how hard it is to get the cars to this point in the race. I’m really sorry for the guys. There is never ever a good retirement in Le Mans, but today is one of the best you could probably have in a way, because we went so far and we learned so much. If you stop early you learn nothing and it’s tough. When you stop with a lap to go it’s probably even more brutal. It was our first time here at Le Mans and we were very close to the podium.“

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Next Events

20.09.2014    6h Austin (USA)

12.10.2014    6h Fuji (J)

02.11.2014    6h Shanghai (CN)

15.11.2014    6h Bahrain (BAH)

30.11.2014    6h Sao Paulo (BR)

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