|A lockup for the leading Porsche|
The Fuji Speedway in the Japanese Alps welcomed the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) in bright sunshine with temperatures of over 20 degrees Celsius. The Porsche Team had two positive free practice sessions, each 90 minutes long, in preparation for the sixth of eight World Championship rounds. The two Porsche 919 Hybrids with the driver trios of Timo Bernhard (DE)/Brendon Hartley (NZ)/Mark Webber (AU) and Romain Dumas (FR)/Neel Jani (CH)/Marc Lieb (DE) were fourth and second in the morning and first and third in the afternoon.
Intense work on the aerodynamic set-up of the Le Mans Prototypes meant more bodywork parts than usual had to be ready in the garage. Featuring a very long 1,500 meter straight, but also many tight corners, the circuit, that is only 4.549 kilometers long, places contradicting challenges regarding the car’s downforce level. The team used both components with which it won on the high-speed circuit of Le Mans as well as those that were fitted to the winning car at the rather windy NÃ¼rburgring and Circuit of The Americas tracks. In the end the team tended to go for a relatively high downforce level and paid the price for this with lower top speeds on the straight. Another aspect is a change of weather conditions that is forecast: When the six-hour race is held on Sunday (start time is 11:00 hrs. local time) Mount Fuji might well be covered in rain clouds.
In Japan Porsche wants to extend its lead in the manufacturers’ championship and catch up to the leading Audi trio in the drivers’ standings. Not an easy task: the prototype from Ingolstadt showed a strong performance on the first day of practice.
Quotes after free practice:
Andreas Seidl, Team Principal: “We enjoyed a very productive first day with the track dry all the time. Both cars ran smoothly all day. In the morning session we did an aero comparison on car number 17, which gave us a clear result. In the second session we were focusing on tire testing on long runs. It is remarkable that, while doing this, Brendon Hartley’s fastest lap of 1:24.460 minutes was more than two seconds faster than last year’s pole position. The weather forecast for Sunday predicts rain, which will certainly add extra excitement to the race."
|Webber watches intently|
Drivers Porsche 919 Hybrid number 17
Timo Bernhard (34, Germany): “We have done lots of basic set-up work, made sure we got the hybrid settings right, and worked out which aero package would be best for this varied circuit. It didn’t take us long to decide to go for a higher downforce configuration. This certainly costs top speed, but makes the car much better to drive."
Brendon Hartley (25, New Zealand): “It looks quite close here between us and the Audi from what I saw on the average lap times. We still have a bit of work to do for the long runs, but the single lap pace seems to be quite good. In the last sector, with its corners that come one after another, it is tricky to get by the traffic, but that is part of the game."
Mark Webber (39, Australia): “We have had a good first day here. Fuji’s very long straight, combined with the tight corners in the last sector, obviously requires a good compromise for the aero set-up. We are still chasing the track a little bit, but gathered lots of good data and had zero problems."
Drivers Porsche 919 Hybrid number 18
Romain Dumas (37, France): “We have been good in both sessions, but the competition is good as well. For a long time it wasn’t that close with Audi. In the morning session we split the job between the cars to find out the best possible aero configuration. We will go for a rather high downforce level."
Neel Jani (31, Switzerland): “I did a race stint in the second session to check how the car and the tires perform on the long run and to get a feeling for it. When the car is understeery, the tires are under pressure. We try to help the tires the best way we can with the set-up. We are not completely where we want to be and will keep working on improvements."
Marc Lieb (35, Germany): “The grip level at the front axle is relatively low here. The car was instantly good in fast corners, but the slow corners at the very end of the lap were tricky for us. We made some changes and they worked well in the afternoon. The car was less understeery, and, also with a full fuel tank, the balance improved."
PRACTICE ONE TIMES:
|1||LMP1||M. Fassler, A.Lotterer, B.Treluyer||Audi Sport Team Joest||Audi||1m24.497s||0.000s||36|
|2||LMP1||R.Dumas, N.Jani, M.Lieb||Porsche Team||Porsche||1m25.230s||0.733s||37|
|3||LMP1||L.di Grassi, L.Duval, O.Jarvis||Audi Sport Team Joest||Audi||1m25.830s||1.333s||33|
|4||LMP1||T.Bernhard, M.Webber, B.Hartley||Porsche Team||Porsche||1m26.045s||1.548s||30|
|5||LMP1||A.Davidson, S.Buemi, K.Nakajima||Toyota Racing||Toyota||1m26.633s||2.136s||32|
|6||LMP1||A.Wurz, S.Sarrazin, M.Conway||Toyota Racing||Toyota||1m26.724s||2.227s||38|
|7||LMP1||N.Prost, M.Beche||Rebellion Racing||Rebellion/AER||1m30.867s||6.370s||32|
|8||LMP1||A.Imperatori, D.Kraihamer, D.Abt||Rebellion Racing||Rebellion/AER||1m31.357s||6.860s||14|
|9||LMP1||S.Trummer, P.Kaffer||Team ByKolles||CLM/AER||1m31.810s||7.313s||31|
|10||LMP2||N.Panciatici, P-L.Chatin, V.Capillaire||Signatech Alpine||Alpine/Nissan||1m32.701s||8.204s||49|
|11||LMP2||G.Yacaman, L.Derani, R.Gonzalez||G-Drive Racing||Ligier/Nissan||1m32.778s||8.281s||43|
|12||LMP2||M.Howson, R.Bradley, N.Tandy||KCMG||ORECA/Nissan||1m32.872s||8.375s||46|
|13||LMP2||P.Ragues, O.Webb, C.Cumming||Team SARD Morand||Morgan/SARD||1m32.999s||8.502s||43|
|14||LMP2||N.Leventis, D.Watts, J.Kane||Strakka Racing||Gibson/Nissan||1m33.407s||8.910s||26|
|15||LMP2||R.Rusinov, J.Canal, S.Bird||G-Drive Racing||Ligier/Nissan||1m33.828s||9.331s||35|
|16||LMP2||S.Sharp, R.Dalziel, D.Hansson||Extreme Speed Motorsports||Ligier/HPD||1m34.242s||9.745s||39|
|17||LMP2||E.Brown, J.van Overbeek, J.Fogarty||Extreme Speed Motorsports||Ligier/HPD||1m34.638s||10.141s||41|
|18||GTE Pro||P.Pilet, F.Makowiecki||Porsche Team Manthey||Porsche||1m39.931s||15.434s||33|
|19||GTE Pro||D.Rigon, J.Calado||AF Corse||Ferrari||1m39.958s||15.461s||44|
|20||GTE Pro||G.Bruni, T.Vilander||AF Corse||Ferrari||1m39.963s||15.466s||44|
|21||GTE Pro||C.Nygaard, M.Sorensen||Aston Martin Racing||Aston Martin||1m40.193s||15.696s||41|
|22||GTE Pro||R.Lietz, M.Christensen||Porsche Team Manthey||Porsche||1m40.201s||15.704s||31|
|23||GTE Pro||A.MacDowall, F.Rees, S.Mucke||Aston Martin Racing||Aston Martin||1m40.269s||15.772s||42|
|24||GTE Pro||D.Turner, J.Adam||Aston Martin Racing||Aston Martin||1m40.546s||16.049s||41|
|25||GTE Am||G.Roda, P.Ruberti, N.Sylvest||Larbre Competition||Chevrolet||1m40.659s||16.162s||37|
|26||GTE Am||V.Shaitar, A.Bertolini, A.Basov||SMP Racing||Ferrari||1m40.691s||16.194s||30|
|27||GTE Am||P.D.Lana, P.Lamy, M.Lauda||Aston Martin Racing||Aston Martin||1m40.830s||16.333s||43|
|28||GTE Am||F.Perrodo, E.Collard, R.Aguas||AF Corse||Ferrari||1m41.105s||16.608s||37|
|29||GTE Am||F.Castellacci, L.Griffin, S.Hall||Aston Martin Racing||Aston Martin||1m41.354s||16.857s||40|
|30||GTE Am||P.Dempsey, P.Long, M.Seefried||Dempsey Racing – Proton||Porsche||1m41.580s||17.083s||36|
|31||GTE Am||C.Ried, K.Al Qubaisi, E.Bamber||Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing||Porsche||1m42.137s||17.640s||38|
PRACTICE TWO TIMES:
|1||LMP1||T.Bernhard, M.Webber, B.Hartley||Porsche Team||Porsche||1m24.460s||0.000s||55|
|2||LMP1||M.Fassler, A.Lotterer, B.Treluyer||Audi Sport Team Joest||Audi||1m24.843s||0.383s||55|
|3||LMP1||R.Dumas, N.Jani, M.Lieb||Porsche Team||Porsche||1m24.876s||0.416s||53|
|4||LMP1||L.di Grassi, L.Duval, O.Jarvis||Audi Sport Team Joest||Audi||1m25.142s||0.682s||47|
|5||LMP1||A.Davidson, S.Buemi, K.Nakajima||Toyota Racing||Toyota||1m26.242s||1.782s||45|
|6||LMP1||A.Wurz, S.Sarrazin, M.Conway||Toyota Racing||Toyota||1m27.149s||2.689s||53|
|7||LMP1||N.Prost, M.Beche||Rebellion Racing||Rebellion/AER||1m29.941s||5.481s||31|
|8||LMP1||S.Trummer, P.Kaffer||Team ByKolles||CLM/AER||1m30.727s||6.267s||16|
|9||LMP1||A.Imperatori, D.Kraihamer, D.Abt||Rebellion Racing||Rebellion/AER||1m31.094s||6.634s||28|
|10||LMP2||R.Rusinov, J.Canal, S.Bird||G-Drive Racing||Ligier/Nissan||1m32.131s||7.671s||36|
|11||LMP2||M.Howson, R.Bradley, N.Tandy||KCMG||ORECA/Nissan||1m32.951s||8.491s||50|
|12||LMP2||G.Yacaman, L.Derani, R.Gonzalez||G-Drive Racing||Ligier/Nissan||1m32.990s||8.530s||41|
|13||LMP2||P.Ragues, O.Webb, C.Cumming||Team SARD Morand||Morgan/SARD||1m33.526s||9.066s||42|
|14||LMP2||N.Leventis, D.Watts, J.Kane||Strakka Racing||Gibson/Nissan||1m33.545s||9.085s||50|
|15||LMP2||N.Panciatici, P-L.Chatin, V.Capillaire||Signatech Alpine||Alpine/Nissan||1m33.619s||9.159s||47|
|16||LMP2||S.Sharp, R.Dalziel, D.Hansson||Extreme Speed Motorsports||Ligier/HPD||1m34.664s||10.204s||30|
|17||LMP2||E.Brown, J.van Overbeek, J.Fogarty||Extreme Speed Motorsports||Ligier/HPD||1m35.497s||11.037s||41|
|18||GTE Pro||G.Bruni, T.Vilander||AF Corse||Ferrari||1m39.922s||15.462s||48|
|19||GTE Pro||D.Rigon, J.Calado||AF Corse||Ferrari||1m40.021s||15.561s||40|
|20||GTE Pro||C.Nygaard, M.Sorensen||Aston Martin Racing||Aston Martin||1m40.092s||15.632s||43|
|21||GTE Pro||R.Lietz, M.Christensen||Porsche Team Manthey||Porsche||1m40.104s||15.644s||36|
|22||GTE Pro||P.Pilet, F.Makowiecki||Porsche Team Manthey||Porsche||1m40.414s||15.954s||40|
|23||GTE Pro||A.MacDowall, F.Rees, S.Mucke||Aston Martin Racing||Aston Martin||1m40.684s||16.224s||45|
|24||GTE Am||F.Castellacci, L.Griffin, S.Hall||Aston Martin Racing||Aston Martin||1m40.706s||16.246s||44|
|25||GTE Pro||D.Turner, J.Adam||Aston Martin Racing||Aston Martin||1m40.720s||16.260s||48|
|26||GTE Am||G.Roda, P.Ruberti, N.Sylvest||Larbre Competition||Chevrolet||1m40.734s||16.274s||43|
|27||GTE Am||P.Dempsey, P.Long, M.Seefried||Dempsey Racing – Proton||Porsche||1m40.958s||16.498s||38|
|28||GTE Am||P.D.Lana, P.Lamy, M.Lauda||Aston Martin Racing||Aston Martin||1m41.006s||16.546s||40|
|29||GTE Am||V.Shaitar, A.Bertolini, A.Basov||SMP Racing||Ferrari||1m41.599s||17.139s||42|
|30||GTE Am||F.Perrodo, E.Collard, R.Aguas||AF Corse||Ferrari||1m41.963s||17.503s||46|
|31||GTE Am||C.Ried, K.Al Qubaisi, E.Bamber||Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing||Porsche||1m42.396s||17.936s||39|