In earlier years of the FIA World Endurance Championship, Porsche Motorsports teams made respectable showings but occasionally struggled to find their footing. During the 2015 season, those struggles were all but forgotten as Porsche handily dominated the series. In six of eight races, a Porsche 919 took the checkered flag. By season’s end, Porsche had taken the manufacturer’s cup, and two of their teams occupied the first and third place positions in the World Endurance Drivers’ Championship.
Having made such a good showing in 2015, 2016 brings mixed emotions. On one hand, there’s apprehension since all eyes are on the Porsche 919 cars in the LMP1 (Le Mans Prototype 1) division that Porsche owned for much of the 2015 season. On the other hand, there’s considerable excitement. Both teams are comprised of track-tested veterans. One car will be driven by the team of Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley, and Mark Webber, and the other by Romain Dumas, Neel Jani, and Marc Lieb.
There are a few challenges in store this year. Regulations stipulate lower speed (given that the series’ cars have such high horsepower) as well as eight percent lower fuel consumption than 2015. The Porsche 919 hybrids have seen some changes to respond, including improvements to the V4 turbocharged petrol engine and energy recovery systems, and an aerodynamic refresh that increases downforce, especially in the corners.
The WEC series kicks off on April 17th with the Six Hours of Silverstone, at a former RAF base turned racetrack. Other races will take place at Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium), Le Mans (France), Nürburg (Germany), Mexico City, Austin, Texas, Oyama (Japan) and Shanghai, before concluding later this year at the 6 Hours of Bahrain.
At Porsche of Nashua, we’ll be following the races for Porsche fans in Manchester and elsewhere as they happen, and providing updates in this space. If you’d like to feel a bit of the thrill that comes with driving a Porsche, come to the Porsche of Nashua showroom at 170 Main Dunstable Road in Nashua, NH for a test drive of a 911 Porsche or a 2016 Porsche Panamera.