Another journey of discovery – with the Porsche 919 Hybrid to Shanghai

M14_1715The sixth out of eight rounds of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) is going to take place on November 2 on the Shanghai International Circuit. Once again the Porsche Team has to prepare the Porsche 919 Hybrids for an unfamiliar track. Software instead of hardware is the way it works. Computer simulation is what the team uses when adapting the current car’s hybrid strategy and set-up for different circuit profiles. However, for the final set-up work track time in the three free practice sessions in Shanghai is invaluable.

Quotes before the race:

Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP1: “Each track is a new challenge for our young team with the Porsche 919 Hybrid. In Fuji we managed the situation very well with an extremely steep learning curve from the first practice laps up to the race. We hope we can do the same in Shanghai, which is a completely different circuit. We are pleased to have this race on the calendar, as China is such an attractive market for Porsche. We want to perform there as well as possible in comparison to our strong competition.”

Drivers car number 14
Romain Dumas (36, France): ”I have never seen the place, and will make sure to learn as much as I can about it before we get there. Most importantly, I hope we will have another good race weekend just like we had recently in Japan. We had no technical issues, we learnt a lot and it was good racing with some valuable points for Porsche.”

Neel Jani (30, Switzerland): ”I have a lot of good memories from the Shanghai circuit. I have driven an F1 car there in free practice, and I’ve won there in A1GP as well as with the Rebellion. The track used to destroy the tyres and I can imagine tyre management will be key again. Also recently in Fuji we learnt a lot about that. The circuit’s famous turn one in the shape of a snail’s shell is very nice, but you cannot cope with an understeery car there. For sure the set-up work will be intense.”

Marc Lieb (34, Germany): ”The circuit is a typical modern Formula One track with huge run-off areas. The long straight requires a good top speed, and in Shanghai a race car needs to be strong on the brakes. The circuit hasn’t a lot of fast corners but some with a long stretched curving radius. This goes, for example, for turn one which gets tighter and tighter, or for another turn on the back straight which keeps opening up more and more, but then closes in the end. It is difficult to balance the car for such corners, and there is especially a high load on the front left tyre.”

Drivers car number 20
Timo Bernhard (33, Germany): ”In Shanghai I’ll get to see another track that’s new to me. To prepare myself, I study video material and I drive the simulator in Weissach. However, none of us drivers would ever need more than ten laps to get up to speed on an unfamiliar track. For the 919 this year every track is new. Therefore at the beginning of every race weekend set-up work is time consuming, and we always have to catch up. This is not easy, given how close the competition is in LMP1. Our team does a very good job, but, nevertheless, in 2015 things should become a bit easier.”

Brendon Hartley (24, New Zealand): “I have never raced in Shanghai, but Mark is very positive about the circuit. I didn’t know Fuji either before we got there and I felt quite well prepared from driving it on the simulator. So this will be beneficial this time too. We had a good race in Japan, and I have the feeling we are all working in the right direction. I’m looking forward to the next race and our next steps.“

Mark Webber (38, Australia): “I know the track in Shanghai very well from my days in Formula One, and it’s a great circuit. It has got a fast first corner with a tight apex before you go downhill into turn two, where it’s crucial to position the car right to set yourself up for the middle sector. My favourite part of the track is turns five and six, which is a nice and flowing section and very fast. The circuit also has two long straights, which will give the driver a bit of a breather and the 919 the chance to stretch its legs. In the braking zone for the hairpin towards the end of the lap are some grandstands, and it will be great for fans to watch some overtaking there.”

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