• Image Credit: Porsche
  • Image Credit: Porsche
  • Image Credit: Porsche
  • Image Credit: Porsche
  • Image Credit: Porsche
With the Formula One season – and indeed his entire F1 career – now behind him, Mark Webber took advantage of his early release from Red Bull Racing to try out the new LMP1 which Porsche is developing, undertaking the final test session of 2013 before Porsche throws it head first into the FIA World Endurance Championship next April. The session – which followed previous tests at Magny-Cours, Monza, Paul Ricard and the Eurospeedway at Lausitz – was held at the Algarve circuit in Portimão, Portgual, in collaboration with Michelin, which is developing the tires for the car. But that's hardly the news here.

No, the news is the first confirmation we've seen on the type of powertrain Porsche has developed for its new Le Mans prototype: a gasoline-burning four-cylinder engine with direct injection and two energy recovery systems. This contrasts sharply with the V6 turbodiesel and single electric motor used by Audi in the R18 e-tron Quattro (or at least the outgoing version) or the naturally-aspirated V8 and single electric motor found in the Toyota TS030. Flexibility in the rules set down by the FIA and ACO give the manufacturers that kind of latitude, prompting F1 teams like Ferrari and Renault to consider developing their new engines for Le Mans prototypes as well.

At this point Porsche isn't saying how large its four-cylinder engine is or how much power it will produce. But it'll be interesting, to say the least, to see how it fares against the Audi and Toyota in next year's championship and at Le Mans when it'll be piloted by Webber, former Lola LMP1 driver Neel Jani and Audi's own 2011 Le Mans-winning pair of Romain Dumas and Timo Bernhard.

Where are you putting your money at Le Mans and the WEC next year?
Porsche has the most wins in Le Mans history and will win again, even with a four-banger. 1395 (23.6%)
This is the Audi era, and no newcomer is going to change that. 2269 (38.4%)
Toyota's got the V8 and the drive. It's Japan's turn to shine. 436 (7.4%)
I really couldn't care less which hybrid wins which European race. 683 (11.6%)
I don't know, but I'm looking forward to finding out! 1129 (19.1%)
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LMP1 test programme concludes for 2013. Debut for Mark Webber

Stuttgart. Porsche has concluded its 2013 test programme with the new LMP1 race car. The Porsche LMP1 completed its final test laps of the year on the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve near Portimão, Portugal. Testing will resume in early 2014. Porsche AG will field two LMP1 race cars in the sports car World Endurance Championship (WEC) which starts in April 2014, with the Le Mans 24 Hours as the highlight of the season.

The WEC regulations stipulate that manufacturers run hybrid vehicles in the highest class for Le Mans Prototypes (LMP1). In developing the all-new LMP1 race car featuring a very efficient, high-performance hybrid drive, Porsche's engineers are faced with major challenges that can only be solved using innovative solutions. Therefore, the race car features a hybrid system that consists of a four-cylinder petrol engine with direct injection and two energy recuperation systems. The recovered energy is stored in a battery until retrieved by the driver. A powerful electric motor then provides additional drive to the front axle. However, the WEC rules limit the amount of fuel as well as the electrical energy, or so-called boost, available to the driver per lap. The development of such a highly-efficient drive will have positive influences on production development at Porsche.

On the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve, Mark Webber (37) got his first chance to climb aboard the Porsche LMP1 racer. The Red Bull Racing Formula 1 team gave the Australian the green light to conduct these initial tests, despite Webber still being under contract. From 1 January 2014, Mark Webber officially joins the Porsche factory team as a works driver and reinforces the already-signed driver line-up of Timo Bernhard (32), Romain Dumas (35) and Neel Jani (30). Mark Webber commented in Portimão: "My first day in this fascinating project was an intense experience for me. I would like to thank Red Bull Racing for giving me the chance to join the project so early. This is a major and important step for us all. It allows me to integrate with the team quicker and to contribute to further developing the LMP1 race car. We have a long way to go and it involves a lot of hard work. I have no misconceptions about this." Head of Porsche LMP1 Fritz Enzinger also appreciated the goodwill shown by the Austrian F1 team: "I'm delighted to have Mark in the team so early. Red Bull Racing has helped us considerably in allowing this!"

On the schedule of the final test for 2013 in Portugal were primarily suspension and tyre tests with partner Michelin. Previously, the Porsche LMP1 squad had pressed ahead with the development of the new race car on the Magny-Cours (France), Monza (Italy) and Paul Ricard (France) circuits, as well as on the Eurospeedway Lausitz (Germany). Enzinger stated: "Between the roll-out of the completely new car in June and now we have made significant progress. Every single kilometre was important, providing us with new data that brought the development forward. The whole team has worked extremely hard and I would like to express my sincere thanks for this. Our efforts will continue unabated in 2014. Until the start of the season at Silverstone mid-April there is still a lot to do."

Wolfgang Hatz, Member of the Executive Board for Research and Development at Porsche AG, added, "We always knew it wasn't going to be easy to return to top endurance racing after 16 years. Hence, our efforts in developing a competitive Porsche LMP1 race car are immense. Up to this point, our engineers in Weissach, the drivers, and the entire team have performed impressively. We are finding new approaches in the development, implementation and application of leading edge efficiency technologies. This also leads to further improvements of the entire hybrid technology in our production cars. Ultimately, our customers will benefit the most."

To follow the preparations of the LMP1 team in the lead up to tackling the WEC and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, visit: www.porsche.com/mission2014. Many exciting images, films, background information and a multimedia journey through Porsche's racing history await visitors on the homepage.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 20 Comments
      Justin B.
      • 1 Year Ago
      Audi has figured out that in order to keep winning you must evolve and they have certainly done that. As successful as Porsche is, I don't see them besting Audi in their first year. I would love to see Webber on the top step of the podium though! :D
      xcatchmyshadowx
      • 1 Year Ago
      VW letting its 2 most profitable brands directly rival each other? interesting move...
      John Blaze
      • 1 Year Ago
      The new R18 is nasty, I can't imagine this car beating the R18. It may take a few years to get back in the game. But then again, Porsche is known for stepping in and taking over from the jump. There's a 10 year gap between the Carrera GT and the 918 and the 918 is an amazing car. So you never know. Porsche may just make magic happen.
      GVIrish
      • 1 Year Ago
      My god man, is it a flat-four or what??? Details, we need details!
      Mitchell
      • 1 Year Ago
      Porsche, Audi and Volkswagen are essentially one in the same. The Porsche LMP1 car going up against Audi's LMP1 car is the equivalent of Venus Williams playing her sister Serena in the finals at a tennis match. Both individuals get a great deal of media coverage, but in the end, all the prize money goes to the same family.
        sparrk
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Mitchell
        Porsche already races against Audi, Lamborghini and Bentley in the GT categories. This is a test of hybrid technologies, both Audi and Porsche are taking things seriously and the technology that wins will be probably used in the whole VW group.
          Tom Winch
          • 1 Year Ago
          @sparrk
          @Aaron N. - There's a big racing world outside of ALMS and Grand Am. Porsche has raced against both Lamborghini and Bentley in other parts of the world and Porsche raced against Lamborghini in the US in Pirelli World Challenge 2009 - 2011.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @sparrk
          [blocked]
        Tom Winch
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Mitchell
        Your analogy is off base. Volkswagen is the parent company that ultimately has ownership of Audi & Porsche. Using your analogy, it would be like Venus & Serena Williams giving their winnings to their parents. In the case of Porsche & Audi, they are both individual manufacturers in their own right who answer to their own board of directors and make their own decisions in regards to their race teams.
        Lachmund
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Mitchell
        yet both use very different approaches so I'm not sure your analogy works.
        Cayman
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Mitchell
        Typically when I watch a sporting event, I don't root for where the money goes. When I watch the Orioles play, I don't think "Please win the game so Peter Angelos can make more money".
        mid engine madness
        • 1 Year Ago
        @Mitchell
        Venus and Serena play very different tennis however and I doubt they share their winnings with each other. I'm really looking forward to the recent dominant team be challenged by the historic favorite.
      GeeDavy
      • 1 Year Ago
      LMP1 cars have overtaken F1 as the most exciting place to see the great minds in automotive technology go head to head. Putting a petrol four banger with two electric motors up against a petrol V8 and flat-six diesel, each with one electric motor, is what we should be seeing in F1. But, alas, Bernie has stripped nearly all of the mechanical innovation out of the Formula and led the sport down a dark path that will surely see Boeing and Lockheed Martin the premier names in due time. Case in point, the recent doubling of points in the final round for 2014 and beyond has arisen out of Bernie's distaste for seeing an energy drink manufacturer dominate the major automakers. During Schumacher's domination this was never proposed and nor would it be if Vettel had won four in a row for Scuderia Ferrari, McLaren or Mercedes. For these and many other reasons, I will be watching the upcoming endurance season with excitement. Although the hordes will still buy into Bernie's hype that F1 is the premier racing series, those who pine for the old days of great mechanical minds vying against each other will be tuned to the, sadly only eight rounds, LMP1 battles in 2014. What will only make it better is to see Webber in a pig-liveried Porsche, if only for just one round.
      Frisky_Dingo
      • 1 Year Ago
      Next year is going to be absolutely amazing for motorsports. I can't wait. As for the 2014 LeMans 24, if anyone can take down Audi, it's Porsche, but 24 hours is a long time, and as previous races have shown, anything can happen.
      Carlos Oliveira
      • 1 Year Ago
      Portugal, not "portgual".
      mylexicon
      • 1 Year Ago
      I'm more interested in the privateer class. The Porsche LMP1 engine is probably just a reworked Audi GRE. VW Group have to get something out of that project for prototype racing.
      k_m94
      • 1 Year Ago
      Audi. Because diesel. And hybrid. And "AWD". And one intense winning streak.
      Saabpunk
      • 1 Year Ago
      I really hope it is a V4. I think Audi wins this year. Maybe Porsche wins next year.
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