Former Red Bull Racing Formula One driver Mark Webber has closed out Porsche’s testing program for 2013 on its new LMP1 car that will debut next year in the World Endurance Championship.
Webber, who announced his move to the WEC this past summer and closed out his F1 career with a runner-up in Brazil last month, was given permission to do the test by Red Bull, which still has him under contract until Jan. 1, 2014.
“My first day in this fascinating project was an intense experience for me,” said Webber after his run at the Autodromo Internacional do Algarve in Portugal. “I would like to thank Red Bull Racing for giving me the chance to join the project so early.
“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.”
Porsche’s testing in Portugal centered around suspension and tire testing with its partner, Michelin. The manufacturer’s LMP1 boss, Fritz Enzinger, emphasized the extent of testing that has taken place – saying that “significant progress” has been made up to this point.
“Every single kilometer was important, providing us with new data that brought the development forward,” said Enzinger. “The whole team has worked extremely hard and I would like to express my sincere thanks for this.
“Our efforts will continue unabated in 2014. Until the start of the [WEC] season at Silverstone [in] mid-April, there is still a lot to do.”
Up to Portugal, the Porsche factory team had also tested at multiple tracks such as France’s Magny-Cours and Paul Ricard, Italy’s Monza, and Germany’s Eurospeedway Lausitz.
Webber is one of four confirmed drivers so far for the Porsche WEC program in 2014, along with Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas and Neel Jani.
The team is expected to put two more drivers on their roster relatively shortly, with speculation most focused on Brendon Hartley and Marc Lieb as the potential additions.