As Porsche marked the final test laps for 2013 of its LMP1 hybrid race car, newly retired Formula 1 driver Mark Webber made his debut with the team by taking the car out for a spin in spite of still being under contract with Red Bull Racing. ("LMP" is acronym for Le Mans Prototype.)
The final tests were conducted at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve near Portimao, Portugal. Yet, despite his still-active contract with his F1 team, Webber was given the go-signal to participate in the tests before he officially joins the Porsche factory team on January 1, 2014.
"My first day in this fascinating project was an intense experience for me," said Webber after his test runs. "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."
According to Porsche, testing of its LMP1 race car will resume in early 2014 before the German carmaker officially joins the World Endurance Championship, which will kick off in April. The legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans will then serve as the car's highlight for the season.
"We always knew it wasn't going to be easy to return to top endurance racing after 16 years," said Porsche research and development executive board member Wolfgang Hatz. "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."