The FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) has kicked off the 2016 season with the official Prologue. The two-day test at the 5.791 kilometre long Circuit Paul Ricard in Southern France was the first meeting of a major part of the WEC grid. For the title defender, the 2016 Porsche 919 Hybrid, which was unveiled just before the Prologue, it was the first appearance in the surroundings of the World Championship as well. The Porsche Team had two cars on site. On Friday car number 2 with drivers Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb was on duty. On Saturday the reigning World Champions, Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Mark Webber, took over with their number one car.
“It was a very successful test,” said Hartley. “After our recent testing was more on endurance we actually treated the Prologue like a race weekend. We were out on track on the dot when the session started and looked after improving our performance just like we would do over a race weekend. Of course, it is nice to lead every session but we don’t know what the competition is hiding.”
During the two days, the since 2015 significantly-revised prototypes of the Porsche Team covered a total mileage of 2,197 kilometres. At the end of each session, it was a Porsche 919 Hybrid leading the time sheets. The overall fastest lap of the Prologue was achieved by Brendon Hartley in 1:37.44 minutes on Saturday.
“It basically was trouble free running for both our new cars”, said Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP1, “and we have received positive feedback from our drivers. Therefore we are confident for the opening round at Silverstone on April 17. Only there it will be possible to judge properly on the overall competition and we are expecting this with huge excitement. The Prologue is like a first scan of the grid and it is a great event arranged by the WEC, very useful for the teams, for media and enjoyable for spectators who had free access to the track and paddock today.”