LE MANS, France – Arguably the two biggest names, driver-wise, at Le Mans this week are Mark Webber and Nico Hulkenberg, the latter of whom makes his race debut.
The two are part of Porsche’s three-car assault with their Porsche 919 Hybrids. Of course while Webber is a full-time convert to the FIA World Endurance Championship, Hulkenberg is now set for his second race in his cameo appearance this season in the team’s third car.
Both are undeniably focused on the task ahead.
“Le Mans is brutal and requires an amazing team effort,” Webber said in Porsche’s pre-race release. “The biggest challenger you have to fight is the race itself. We have to survive these 24 hours, we have to be technically reliable and get everything right.
“It is extremely demanding. The track is incredibly quick and the pace of the 919 around there is phenomenal. There are some really iconic locations around the track like Dunlop, the Mulsanne straight and the Porsche Esses.
“There are different phases of the race and the changing light; sunset, twilight, racing in the dark before dawn, sunrise and a new day with still a long way to go. Le Mans is like nothing else.”
Webber shares the No. 17 Porsche with Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard, in what is likely a pole contending car.
As for Hulkenberg, who shares the No. 19 Porsche with fellow LMP1 rookies Earl Bamber and Nick Tandy, it’s an important week as he looks ahead to his race debut.
“I’ve got my first taste of the track during the pre-test and I found it really cool,” Hulkenberg said in the release. “You can get yourself driving in a great rhythm. I’m looking forward to the long stints in the race.
“I feel comfy in the Porsche 919 Hybrid in Le Mans, but I’ll learn a lot more during the race week. Therefore I don’t like to speculate about the outcome. My first wish is to do well over the distance, as this is the experience I want more than anything.”