Porsche 919 Hybrids on top speed at the foot of Mount Fuji

Fuji Speedway is famous for its long main straight.

Porsche 919 Hybrids on top speed at the foot of Mount Fuji
#20 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley
#20 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley
#14 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Romain Dumas, Neel Jani, Marc Lieb
Mark Webber
#20 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley, Timo Bernhard
#14 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Romain Dumas, Neel Jani, Marc Lieb
#14 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Romain Dumas, Neel Jani, Marc Lieb
#14 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Romain Dumas, Neel Jani, Marc Lieb
#14 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Romain Dumas, Neel Jani, Marc Lieb
#20 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley
#20 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley
#20 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley, Timo Bernhard
#14 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Romain Dumas, Neel Jani, Marc Lieb

Stuttgart. For the fifth of its eight rounds the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) heads to Japan, where the race takes place at the foot of Mount Fuji on October 12. The traditional Fuji Speedway has been fundamentally modernised in the past decade and is famous for its long main straight. It stretches a good 1,500 metres and should allow the Porsche 919 Hybrids to reach top speeds of around 300 km/h.

But as desirable as low drag might appear for this long straight, a high price would be paid for it on the remainder of the lap. The fast corners in the middle sector require high downforce, while the last sector is narrow and winding.

The race car has to be an all-rounder. In year one especially of Porsche’s return this is not an easy task for the Porsche Team, which enters the most innovative and complex prototype in the WEC field, and in which every circuit means a journey of discovery into unknown territory.

Quotes before the race

Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP1: “We are looking forward to the challenges Fuji provides. Recently in Austin we have been strong in qualifying by being second and third and thanks to the right tyre choice we were leading the race for 43 laps, but could not benefit in the end. With the number 20 car we lost a lap in the chaotic rainy conditions before the restart, and with the leading number 14 car we suffered with a technical problem. A tear in the pipe for the charge air cooling led to a loss of power. The analysis in Weissach has disclosed a manufacturing defect in the part we had bought.”

Drivers car number 14

Romain Dumas (36, France): ”After we have been so close to taking the first win for the Porsche 919 Hybrid in the States, I can’t wait to go and try again. I raced in Fuji a long time ago. This was in 2001 when I was doing the Japanese GT500 series, so it was obviously the old circuit. To learn the new track I will go to our simulator once I’m back from the Rallye Alsace. I am very much looking forward to racing in Japan again. Everything is so different to what we are used to.”

Neel Jani (30, Switzerland): ”I raced the Rebellion in Fuji in 2012 and I do remember well that this was the most difficult circuit for me with this car. Due to the low positioning of the driver’s seat, I could hardly see the apexes of the corners in sector three. Therefore, I’m very keen to learn how much this has changed since the rules now require that we sit higher. Fuji is a modern track with huge run-off areas and it has great scenery with the volcano. The long straight is significant. Following this, the circuit has a good flow, and for the tight corners in the final sector downforce is required. If we manage to find a good compromise for the aerodynamics, we should be competitive.”

Marc Lieb (34, Germany): ”I love racing in Japan, the enthusiasm of the fans creates a very special atmosphere. In Fuji I raced the Porsche GT3 RSR in 2012 and the 911 RSR in 2013. The circuit, with the view of Mount Fuji, is beautifully embedded into the landscape and offers a great variety of corners. It has its long straight and fast, but also slow, corners. Last year we started behind the safety car in the rain. Without ever having been green flagged, the race had to be cancelled. The weather can play a crucial role at this time of the year in Fuji.”

Drivers car number 20

Timo Bernhard (33, Germany): ”Although I haven’t been racing in Fuji yet, I was able to learn the track in 2006 when I was there for the introduction of the Porsche 911 Type 997 for the Japanese Carrera Cup. The circuit had just been renewed and I was an instructor for Porsche. We offered taxi rides and literally everyone wanted to go on a lap with me. It was a hell of a lot of fun to serve the long queue. I think the layout of the Fuji Speedway may suit us better than Austin did. In 2006 I only saw Fuji in the rain.”

Brendon Hartley (24, New Zealand): “It will be my first time in Fuji and also my first time in Japan. I am very much looking forward to it, as I have heard so many positive things about both the Fuji Speedway and the country. The result in Austin was slightly disappointing but, nevertheless, the car had a good pace when the track became cooler. So in terms of performance I’m quite confident for Fuji. I will learn the track on the simulator. We have just experienced in Austin that practice time can easily become limited due to weather conditions, so it is always good to be prepared as well as possible.”

Mark Webber (38, Australia): “I’m looking forward to going back to Fuji. As I have raced there twice in my Formula One career, I know it is a challenging circuit with a long straight, and in the last sector it’s quite difficult to get everything together. There are combined corners where the car’s balance is important and the technique on braking is quite tricky. In one race there I had food poisoning, which is not the best memory, but I always enjoyed driving at Fuji and I love Mount Fuji in the background, as it is such a nice setting. Japanese fans are passionate and very emotional and the sports car race in Fuji is a very famous one. I hear there are many Porsche fans in Japan and I look forward to seeing a lot of them cheering us on when we return.”

Porsche

shares
comments
WEC points leader Nicolas Lapierre to skip Six Hours of Fuji
Previous article

WEC points leader Nicolas Lapierre to skip Six Hours of Fuji

Next article

Audi competes in Japan as WEC leader of the standings

Audi competes in Japan as WEC leader of the standings
Load comments
Why Le Mans didn't decide Toyota's WEC title outcome in 2021 Prime

Why Le Mans didn't decide Toyota's WEC title outcome in 2021

Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez scored a second successive FIA World Endurance Championship title in the #7 Toyota, as its new Le Mans Hypercar went unbeaten. Motorsport.com recaps how each of the four classes in the 2021 season were won and picks out the best LMH and GTE drivers

WEC
Nov 28, 2021
The unanswered questions that define WEC 2021's controversial ending Prime

The unanswered questions that define WEC 2021's controversial ending

OPINION: The deeply unsatisfying ending to a brilliant World Endurance Championship GTE Pro battle in Bahrain had Ferrari provisionally heading back from the desert as the victor. But Porsche plans to appeal the outcome, which rests on a number of confusing elements that have yet to be satisfactorily explained.

WEC
Nov 9, 2021
How the WEC's heavyweight duel reached its controversial flashpoint Prime

How the WEC's heavyweight duel reached its controversial flashpoint

The Ferrari versus Porsche fight for the FIA World Endurance Championship's GTE Pro title had been a finely-poised affair, right up until Alessandro Pier Guidi's punt on Michael Christensen in the closing stages of the Bahrain 8 Hours handed Ferrari a provisional title, pending Porsche's appeal. Here's how the controversy played out.

WEC
Nov 8, 2021
The remarkable fixes Toyota used to avert another Le Mans disaster Prime

The remarkable fixes Toyota used to avert another Le Mans disaster

The 1-2 finish achieved by Toyota at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours was a result that will have surprised few, given its status as pre-event favourite. But the result was anything but straightforward, as worsening fuel pressure concerns required the team's drivers and engineers to pursue "creative fixes" on the fly. Here is the full story of how it reached the end without a lengthy pit visit

Le Mans
Nov 3, 2021
The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert Prime

The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert

It's 50 years since Jo Siffert was killed in his prime at Brands Hatch. The Swiss scored just two world championship wins in a Formula 1 career spent largely with privateer teams, but showed on numerous occasions in single-seaters and in sportscars with Porsche that he could beat any of the best drivers of his era given the right equipment.

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
Inside the Le Mans finish too barmy for Hollywood Prime

Inside the Le Mans finish too barmy for Hollywood

Team WRT has been at the forefront of GT racing for years and made a successful move to prototypes for 2021, capped by an LMP2 win on its Le Mans debut. It could've been even better had the race been one lap shorter, when its cars ran 1-2, but the stranger-than-fiction reality has spurred the team to reach greater heights.

Le Mans
Oct 16, 2021
Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked Prime

Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked

Toyota scored its fourth Le Mans 24 Hours victory and a 1-2, with the #7 car of Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez beating the #8. But although it looked straightforward from the outside, Toyota faced serious problem that had to be solved with some quick-thinking and ingenuity.

Le Mans
Aug 24, 2021
What we've learned from the Le Mans 24 Hours so far Prime

What we've learned from the Le Mans 24 Hours so far

The new dawn for the FIA World Endurance Championship has arrived at Le Mans, as Hypercars prepare to duel for victory in the world's oldest endurance race. Motorsport.com picks out the 10 things we have learned in the build up to the race.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2021