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
How Alpine's stunted Portimao charge kept Toyota clear Prime

How Alpine's stunted Portimao charge kept Toyota clear

Despite going stride for stride for pace at Portimao, Alpine’s grandfathered LMP1 couldn’t convert pole position into a sustained victory fight against Toyota. And due to rules and car limitations that are set in stone, the French manufacturer will be searching for solutions in its own battle of endurance.

WEC
Jun 14, 2021
Charting 100 world championship sportscar starts for Toyota Prime

Charting 100 world championship sportscar starts for Toyota

This weekend's Portimao 8 Hours round of the FIA World Endurance Championship marks the 100th world champion prototype start for Toyota. Here are the major milestones on the road to three figures since the earliest low-key days of its entry into the Group C arena nearly 40 years ago.

WEC
Jun 12, 2021
The philosophical problems the WEC's new Hypercar class is already facing Prime

The philosophical problems the WEC's new Hypercar class is already facing

Most of the column inches after the World Endurance Championship's opener were centred around the relative pace of the Hypercar class and the LMP2s, but there's another question that needs addressing in order for the new division to have a successful future

WEC
May 7, 2021
How stumbling Toyota drew first blood in the WEC's new era Prime

How stumbling Toyota drew first blood in the WEC's new era

Amid concerns that the new Hypercar class would be upstaged on debut by the spec LMP2 machines at Spa, Toyota delivered the pole and victory that the vast majority of observers expected. But neither car had a clean run, which gave the grandfathered Alpine LMP1 an unexpected shot at glory.

WEC
May 4, 2021
What to expect from sportscar racing's bold new Hypercar era Prime

What to expect from sportscar racing's bold new Hypercar era

A slim field of three cars will be entered in the Hypercar class for the first round of the World Endurance Championship's post-LMP1 age. But there are plenty of reasons for optimism with the new wave of manufacturer entries and competing class philosophies just around the corner

WEC
Apr 29, 2021
How Aston Martin scaled new heights in the Prodrive era Prime

How Aston Martin scaled new heights in the Prodrive era

The 2021 FIA World Endurance Championship kicks off at Spa this weekend, but for the first time since its 2012 inception there will be no factory-run Aston Martins in the GTE Pro class. That's especially notable because as a works entity, the Prodrive era of Aston Martin Racing that began in 2005 has been a success from the very start.

WEC
Apr 27, 2021
How 'Brilliant' Bob Wollek lived up to his nickname Prime

How 'Brilliant' Bob Wollek lived up to his nickname

Sportscar racing lost one of it's greatest talents 20 years ago today when Bob Wollek was knocked from his bicycle prior to the Sebring 12 Hours. The enigmatic Frenchman never won the Le Mans 24 Hours, but many still remember today why 'Brilliant Bob' became a legend

WEC
Mar 16, 2021
How Ferrari's Hypercar project could bolster Leclerc's legacy Prime

How Ferrari's Hypercar project could bolster Leclerc's legacy

Ferrari's planned return to the top category at the Le Mans 24 Hours has further heightened anticipation for the 2023 race. Few concrete details are currently known, but already it has a high-profile superstar angling for involvement, which would make a refreshing change

WEC
Mar 5, 2021