World Endurance Champion Mark Webber has said the recent performance advantage Porsche enjoyed over factory LMP1 rivals Audi and Toyota could end when the new season kicks off next month at Silverstone.
Speaking to Motorsport.com on the eve of the Paul Ricard prologue event, Webber said Porsche is in a great position to retain its world titles with its 919 Hybrid, but that he expects increased competition from its big opponents. Both Audi and Toyota have launched heavily-revised cars for 2016.
Of his expectations for the season ahead, Webber said: “Very high – obviously on the back of a very good season last year. We have a very stable concept, let’s say, so it’s very well known for us.
“We of course want to aim for another win at Le Mans and win the championships, so the goals are very, very high.
“But we know we have some really, really, really hard opposition. There are some new cars out there. That’s great for the championship, fantastic. I mean, there were periods last year where we had quite a big advantage. I think those days could be over, in terms of a big advantage.
“But we’re still extremely confident that we can fight very well.”
Webber admitted he’s as anxious as anyone to see the cars go head to head in testing, which begins at Ricard tomorrow.
Of his rivals' machinery, he added: “I haven’t seen either car, I haven’t seen one lap. So I have no idea. But you would imagine: they’ve done new cars so they must be faster.”
Le Mans victory a target
Webber missed out on winning the Le Mans 24 Hours last season, as victory instead went to the sister car of Nico Hulkenberg, Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber.
He admitted he was eager to win the French classic, but is adamant it isn’t the be all and end all for him.
“Yeah, I mean it would be great to do that with Porsche, no question about it,” said Webber. “But I won’t drive for 15 years trying to get it.
“It’s not keeping me awake at night. I really enjoy working with Timo [Bernhard] and Brendon [Hartley], love working with Porsche, love driving their cars and I’m still enjoying my driving, that’s the most important thing.
“Irrespective of the venue, I enjoy it. Le Mans is a beautiful race, of course you need some luck as well, but let’s see how the first two races go and then of course we will focus on Le Mans.”