The Porsche works team contesting the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) has successfully completed its preparations for the 2021 season. In the official two-day tests on the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium, the two Porsche 911 RSR covered a total distance of 2,977 kilometres. The main focus of the tests was on the setup and tyre use as well as optimising the procedures within the team. In the so-called prologue of the WEC, the two ca. 515 hp factory cars from Weissach impressed with fast and steady lap times. Works driver Kévin Estre from France turned the fastest lap in the GTE-Pro class in 2:12.916 minutes.
“The prologue was great,” says Alexander Stehlig, Head of Operations FIA WEC after two sunny, labour-intensive days in Belgium. “We ticked everything off our programme and there were no surprises. Our ideas for the setup worked positively out on the track. That was our priority on Monday. On the second day, we practically ran a full simulation of the race weekend, included qualifying and long stints. The lap times looked good, but they don’t say much yet. All in all, we feel well prepared for the start of the 2021 season.”
The customer teams GR Racing, Project 1 and Dempsey-Proton Racing sent a total of five nine-elevens from 2019 to take part in the two-day tests on the 7.004-kilometre “Ardennes rollercoaster” racetrack. In the GTE-Am class this year, the campaigning of the latest generation Porsche 911 RSR is possible. The three teams used the prologue to familiarise themselves as much as possible with the new racing cars. All teams managed to collect extensive data and make significant progress in setting up their vehicles: Only Project 1 experienced a setback during the test drives: After an accident on Monday morning involving Anders Burchardt (Norway), the No. 46 car could no longer participate in the tests on the following day. Burchardt and his teammates Dennis Olsen from Norway and Axcil Jefferies from Great Britain will be unable to compete on the upcoming race weekend.
Round one of the World Endurance Championship (WEC) takes off on Saturday 1 May at 1:30 pm (CEST) and runs over a distance of six hours.
Drivers’ comments on the prologue
Gianmaria Bruni (Porsche 911 RSR #91): “Two things were at the centre of our work – figuring out the best possible vehicle balance and perfecting the interaction between the drivers and the new race engineer. We made noticeable progress in both areas. We’ve completed the planned programme and we feel well prepared. My teammate Richie put in a strong long run. It looks promising, but there are still a couple of things that could be improved in the lead-up to race day.”
Neel Jani (Porsche 911 RSR #92): “The prologue ran really well for us. We drove a total of 220 laps with our number 92 car and tried a few new setup solutions. In the process, we learned a lot. Our simulated racing stints looked good, so we head to the start of the season this weekend feeling positive. We were extremely productive during the two days of testing and, for me personally, it was an important experience because I’ve never driven the Porsche 911 RSR at Spa-Francorchamps before.”
Result GTE-Pro class (all sessions combined)
1. Estre/Jani (F/CH), Porsche 911 RSR #92, 2:12.916 minutes
2. Bruni/Lietz (I/A), Porsche 911 RSR #91, 2:14.214 minutes
3. Pier Guidi/Calado (I/GB), Ferrari 488 GTE #51, 2:14.313 minutes
Result GTE-Am class (all sessions combined)
1. Lacorte/Sernagiotto/Fuoco (I/I/I), Ferrari 488 GTE Evo #47, 2:14.509 minutes
2. Perfetti/Cairoli/Pera (N/I/I), Porsche 911 RSR #56, 2:14.736 minutes
3. Ried/Evans/Campbell (D/NZ/AUS), Porsche 911 RSR #77, 2:14.872 minutes