Porsche is on its way to making a long overdue return to the premier LMP1 prototype category of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2014 with its recently unveiled creation. The Porsche LMP1 sports prototype will also compete in next year's World Endurance Championship (WEC). After the decision to return in 2011, years of planning, R&D and in-house design by Porsche Motorsport culminated in its recent first test at the company's Research and Development Center in Weissach, Germany.
The LMP1 completed its first testing session with factory driver Timo Bernhard behind the wheel, several weeks earlier than previously anticipated.
"We are well on schedule," said Fritz Enzinger, Head of the LMP1 program. "Our newly-formed team has worked with utmost concentration on getting this highly complex vehicle on the track as soon as possible. This allows us a few additional weeks for more testing and further development. From 2014, the regulations are primarily based on efficiency. This makes the competition amongst engineers more interesting and presents us with completely new challenges."
Returning as a factory 'works' team, the center where development of the LMP1 takes place has also made changes in preparation for the Le Mans return. A workshop and administration building have been built accommodating about 200 employees who all have a part in the development of the LMP1 race car.
Driver Timo Bernhard will be joined by Romain Dumas as the two regular drivers for the LMP1 project and will conduct most testing on international, circuits.
"I was involved in the development of the new car right from the outset," says Porsche factory driver Timo Bernhard (Germany). "I'm very proud that I was the one to take our baby through its first paces today. Already now the car feels great. I look forward to testing the vehicle in the coming weeks and months with my friend and colleague Romain Dumas."
Matthias Müller, Chairman of the Executive Board, Porsche AG, describes the connection between the automakers road cars and race cars:
"The engineers were able to start with a blank sheet of paper in the design of the new LMP1 car that was out here today on the Weissach race track for the first time. Hence, they were able to apply many new technologies within the framework of the regulations that will also benefit the customers of our road-going automobiles in the future. After all, there's a race car in every Porsche."