The German manufacturer rejoined international sports prototype racing with the 919 Hybrid with the twin goals of proving the new LMP1 car was competitive and taking a podium. Webber believes the target has to be upgraded to winning a race against established rivals Audi and Toyota over the second leg of the WEC, which begins at Circuit of The Americas this weekend.
“It would be nice to win a race. We’re keeping our feet on the deck, but we can’t say any more that we are happy with podiums because we’ve already got one [at Silverstone in April],” said Webber in an exclusive interview in the new issue of RACER magazine. “I wouldn’t say we are looking for victories in the plural, but we are aiming high: if everything comes together and we get a bit of luck, we’re hoping to grab a win from Audi and Toyota over the final five races.”
Webber stated that Porsche’s performance at the Le Mans 24 Hours in June, when the #20 car he shares with Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley was on course for second position until engine failure with two hours to go, was the biggest achievement of the 919 program so far.
“There was a bit of luck involved and a bit of attrition, but you don’t get to be hanging around at the front with a couple of hours to go if you haven’t got a lot of things right that’s the biggest feather in our cap so far.”
The Le Mans performance followed the first-time-out podium for Webber, Bernhard and Hartley at Silverstone and then a pole for the sister car at Spa in May.
HIGH-DOWNFORCE PACKAGE FOR LAST FIVE ROUNDS
Porsche LMP1 boss Fritz Enzinger said that the team was “highly motivated going into Austin” after a productive summer development programme encompassing tests at Paul Ricard, Lausitz and Magny-Cours. The 919 has completed more than 3,725 miles in testing, which included rolling out a higher-downforce aeropackage for the final races.
“We have been targeting reliability issues and ticked off a long job list for the coming five races,” he said. “The Porsche 919 Hybrid’s new aero package was working straight out of the box: now we have to transfer everything to racing.
“If we get that right, I have no doubts we will be competitive and achieve the appropriate results.”