Porsche sets the fastest lap of the day in Mexico City
Porsche enjoyed a busy and trouble free beginning to the Mexico race weekend with the two 919 Hybrids. The first day of the fifth round of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) saw a 90-minute test session and two free practice sessions of the same duration each. The extra test was to help the teams and drivers familiarise themselves with the special track conditions ahead of the WEC’s debut on the short 4.304 kilometre Formula One circuit. It has a very long straight (1.2 km) and many tight corners. Also it lies 2,250 metres above sea level – the thin air because of this influences aerodynamics and cooling.
In warm and almost constantly dry weather conditions the championship leaders Romain Dumas (FR), Neel Jani (CH) and Marc Lieb (DE) came fourth in the first free practice session (1:27.205 minutes), and were fastest in the second session with Jani’s 1:25.810 minute lap being the fastest overall of the day. The reigning world champions, Timo Bernhard (DE), Brendon Hartley (NZ) and Mark Webber (AU), finished the two sessions in third (1:26.948 minutes) and second (1:26.058 minutes) respectively. In total the six drivers in the two Porsche 919 Hybrids completed 276 laps on Thursday.
Team Principal Andreas Seidl said: “A big compliment to the team at home and at the track for the job they did in preparing for the race here in Mexico. The circuit was new to all of us and, on top of that, there is the challenge coming from the high altitude and its impact with low air density. Thanks to the decisions made beforehand for the cooling configuration and the car set-up, we were able to start our programme immediately. With both our 919s we did a lot of laps, had no technical issues and were constantly improving. So far we are very pleased with the performance of our cars. The competition is once again very tight, so we can look forward to an exciting qualifying and race. The weather forecast for the race on Saturday predicts a high chance of rain, which would mean an extra challenge.”
“It’s a tricky place to get everything together,” said Mark. “I don’t find the first sector – turns one, two, three – that easy. Turns ten and 11 – the fast ones in the middle sector – are difficult as well. But traffic is the biggest problem. The track is so small that you come cross traffic very often. It does have a street circuit feel, especially the last sector with the baseball stadium. Overall it was a good day, but we still have work to do to improve traction.”
LMP1 qualifying will be held on Friday from 14:40-15:00 hrs local time (21:40-22:00 CEST). The six-hour race starts on Saturday at 13:30 hrs (20:30 CEST).