Audi Porsche Toyota WEC

2014 6 Hours of Fuji in pictures

2014 6 Hours of Fuji

Toyota won its home round of the World Endurance Championship—the 6 Hours of Fuji—a couple of weeks back, leaving Anthony Davidson and Sebastien Buemi with broad grins on their faces. It was a one-two finish for Toyota and Porsche filled the final podium spot with Mark Webber’s crew tasting the champagne.

We’ve had five of eight rounds in the WEC now and Audi still looks the goods for the overall championship. With three races in November we’ll have to be much sharper in getting these updates to you!

Porsche WEC

Check out the Porsche 919 Hybrid steering wheel

Porsche 919 steering wheel

Who doesn’t love a close up look at the steering wheel of a thoroughbred racecar! Here’s the wheel from the Porsche 919 Hybrid, there’s 24 buttons and six paddles in all, along with a multi-function display in the middle.

Two of the most important and most frequently used buttons are on the hand grips: the red button on the left is the let magic happen overtake button and releases the energy stored from the battery; the blue button is the get out of my way flashing light button, one press will flash the lights three times to warn slower cars ahead that the Porker is coming through.

The six paddle arrangement on the back is interesting, too. The two larger paddles in the middle are for gear changing, right for upshifts, left for downshifts. The lower paddles operate the clutch, both sides performing the same function. The top two paddles relate to the energy recovery system, the left side releases the boost and is a duplicate function of the red button from the front, the right side to commence manual energy recovery.

It always amazes how fiddly a modern steering wheel is on topline racecars and that under the pressure of competition drivers wearing thick gloves are able to operate all those buttons with accuracy and composure.

More photos and details from Porsche can be read after the break.

Formula 1 Porsche Red Bull Racing WEC

Mark Webber: LMP1 v F1

2014 6 Hours of COTA

As the only man to compete on the Circuit of Americas in both the World Endurance Championship and Formula 1 Mark Webber took some time out on the weekend to share his thoughts on the two categories.


LMP1’s just a bit heavier … I need to be a little bit more patient with the car, [the] F1 car’s obviously a very light and nimble [car], downforce is the biggest difference.

More downforce on the F1 car, obviously that makes it probably more precise, a lot more load on the driver, but yeah, it’s just that downforce is a big factor on a track like this but then also power wise, we have probably more power with the Porsche.


There’s no contest there, Michelin is a real racing tyre, Pirelli was for show business in Formula 1. These are real racing tyres so it’s a tyre which all the drivers can enjoy, which was backed up when Andre Lotterer raced [for Caterham] in Spa and he was very surprised at how the grip level was very very low on Pirelli and the Michelin tyre gives a lot of grip for a long time.

Which is best, LMP1 or F1?

They’re just different categories, I think the F1 car as a driver you want to go quick as possible, so that was the ultimate machine. I never got to drive an F1 car here when F1 was at its peak, obviously it dropped off in the last few years in terms of pace because of the regulation but when it was at it’s peak in the mid 2000s it would be a really good track.


Audi Porsche Toyota WEC

Audi wins 2014 6hrs of COTA

2014 6 Hours of COTA

In dreadful conditions across the weekend Audi won a rain soaked 6 Hours of the Circuit of the Americas. It was a race where all three major LMP1 teams enjoyed time in the spotlight, but the experience of Audi was shining when it mattered most.

The #8 Toyota TS040 started the race on pole, with the two Porsche 919s behind. Sebastien Buemi was in the lead Toyota and built up a strong lead early. Then, about 100 minutes into the race, chaos ensued after a massive downpour saw cars sliding everywhere except on the racing line.

Race organisers had little choice but to bring a halt to proceedings and the race was red flagged for around 45 minutes. Heavy rain had been experienced during practice and qualifying sessions prior to race day as well. So the teams at least had some idea of how the track would react in the wet.

Although, the rain during the race was torrential and both Toyotas ended up off track losing a lap to the field while they recovered. The #20 Porsche 919 also lost time after an unwanted excursion.

After the restart it became a race between the two Audis and the #14 Porsche, which was leading during the latter stages of the race until a loss of power saw the car drop to fourth. From there a one-two victory was Audi’s for the taking and they didn’t falter.

2014 6 hours of COTA (top six)

  1. #2 Audi R18 e-tron quattro (Fässler/Lotterer/Tréluyer) – 157 laps
  2. #1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro (Di Grassi/Duval/Kristensen) – +53,016s
  3. #8 Toyota TS040 Hybrid (Davidson/Lapierre/Buemi) – +1:03,945m
  4. #14 Porsche 919 Hybrid (Dumas/Jani/Lieb) – +1 lap
  5. #20 Porsche 919 Hybrid (Bernhard/Hartley/Webber) – +2 laps
  6. #7 Toyota TS040 Hybrid (Wurz/Sarrazin/Conway) – +2 laps
Motor Shows Porsche Video

Mark Webber in the Porsche 911 GT1-98

Mark Webber in Porsche 911 GT1-98

We’d been waiting for video footage of Mark Webber driving the Porsche 911 GT1-98 at the Goodwood Festival of Speed and now here it is.

There’s two clips and the second one from Goodwood TV has some good banter from Mark comparing the 911 GT1 to the Mercedes CLR-GT1 which he originally raced in competition against the Porsche.

Porsche WEC

2014 LM24: Porsche post-race review

2014 24 Hours of Le Mans

Porsche’s return at Le Mans was a story of what could have been. For the #20 919 Hybrid (Bernhard/Hartley/Webber) the misfortune of others gave it hope that a fairy tale victory could be theirs.

When Mark took the wheel with around three hours to go spirits were incredibly high and race win was a real chance. At worst, P2 looked to be safe. Alas, less than 30 minutes later their race was over. We watched Mark sitting in the car helplessly while the crew worked to overcome a drivetrain fault and get him back on track. But it wasn’t to be.

The #14 car (Dumas/Jani/Lieb) had fuel flow issues in the first hour which quickly ended any hopes of a strong result. It took nine minutes to fix and the car rejoined towards the back of the field. From there, though, they had a good run for the majority of the race until a gearbox drama brought the car into the garage with a couple of hours to race.

Porsche did get the car back out to cross the finish line, but either the car only had enough steam to make it around for one lap or they made a rookie error with the timing. Due to the fact the car was in the pits for more than 90 minutes they needed to do one full lap (ie. not starting from pit lane) in order to be classified as a finisher.

So despite some very promising signs it was a bit of a bummer and no championship points for Porsche.

Porsche WEC

2014 LM24: Go to sleep Australia!

Mark Webber

The dream is over.

Mark Webber has retired from the 24 Hours of Le Mans with an unidentified drivetrain problem. He slowed on track while in second place and was able to limp back into the pits. The car was wheeled into the pits and the crew worked on the car for over 15 minutes before pulling the pin.

Mark then hopped out of the car and consoled his teammates. Speaking to televsion presenters shortly after he was very upbeat, praising the work of Porsche engineers and race crews: “We never expected to be at such high altitudes through most of the race, so the fall is quite big for everyone in the team.”

It’s now looking like an Audi 1–2 for the win, but as we’ve seen so far this race, anything could happen in the remaining 75 minutes. It is remarkable though, that the three leading cars, including the #8 Toyota, have spent extended periods in the pits with problems of varying degrees.

Audi Porsche WEC

2014 LM24: Wake up Australia!

2014 24 Hours of Le Mans

With less than three hours to race Mark Webber’s #20 Porsche 919 Hybrid is leading the 24 Hours of Le Mans!

Mark’s car is not the fastest and has assumed the lead due to problems with its competitors. First, the #7 Toyota TS040 looked very comfortable and set for a well earned victory. The car dominated the race for 14 hours until an electrical fault with the wiring loom forced the car into retirement.

That gave the lead to the #2 Audi R18 which enjoyed a solid three lap gap to the cars behind. Drama soon befell that car when it came into the pits for a turbo replacement. The car lost over 20 minutes and resumed in P3, some two laps down on the #1 Audi.

Remarkably, then, the #1 Audi was leading the race. Remember, this was the car that was built from the ground up overnight during the week after the original chassis was crashed by Loic Duval during the first qualifying session on Wednesday. Marc Gene was drafted into the team to replace Duval who was ruled out, despite not suffering any serious injury.

Also, this meant Mark’s Porsche, with Timo Bernhard at the wheel, was now in second place. It couldn’t happen, could it?

More drama followed when the #1 Audi also had to pit for a new turbo. Suddenly, the #20 Porsche found istelf in the lead. It’s a lead the car still holds, albeit some 50 seconds ahead of the #2 Audi, which has showed outstanding speed since its turbo was replaced.

It’s not clear if it’s due to strategy or outright pace, but the Audi is clearly faster than the Porsche right now. For the leading 919, with Bernhard at the wheel, young Kiwi Brendon Hartley would usually be the next driver in the car. We expect there will be one more driver change before the end of the race. Will Mark Webber be given the responsibility to bring the car home?

One thing is clear, Porsche is so far exceeding all expectations, even if largely due to the misfortune of others. But, as the saying goes, to finish first, first you have to finish. And we could be set for an all-time classic finish, so get your arse in front of your laptop, or on the couch and cheer Mark home!

Mercedes-Benz Motorsports Video

Good luck at Le Mans this weekend Mark

Peter Dumbreck flips at Le Mans

Let’s hope it goes better than last time.

That’s Peter Dumbreck flipping his Mercedes CLR during the 1999 24 Hours of Le Mans. Mark Webber was in the same team and famously suffered the same fate during qualifying. Mark flipped his car again during the morning warm-up session. His car was withdrawn and he did not start the race.

This weekend, with Porsche, is Mark’s first return to competition at Le Mans since his DNS in 1999.

Porsche WEC

Mark Webber: The road to Le Mans – part 4

Mark Webber, The road to Le Mans

Mark Webber’s return to Le Mans is getting close now. In the latest episode of Red Bull’s feature we see Mark talk about his WEC debut at Silverstone and the follow-up race shortly after at Spa. That’s only 12 hours combined, but he says he’s ready for his first attempt at Le Mans since 1999. Or as he puts it, a full F1 season in one race!

Formula 1 Red Bull Racing

Mark v Daniel: The first win

Mark Webber and Daniel Ricciardo celebrate their maiden grand prix wins

While we’re still in the afterglow of Daniel Ricciardo’s maiden grand prix win it’s timely to compare the immediate in-car reaction of Daniel with Mark Webber after his first F1 victory (see video after the break).

The circumstances leading to the wins for each is vastly different, in the paths their careers have taken and the circumstances in which those first wins took place.

For Mark his career was a hard graft and his win in at the 2009 German Grand Prix was in the bag a long time before the chequered flag.

In contrast, Daniel’s win in Canada came by surprise, almost, and he’s enjoyed a much smoother path into F1. Daniel has also said he was not comfortable celebrating in the car too much until he knew that Felipe Massa and Sergio Perez were okay after their race-ending crash.

[Thanks to Aaron for the tip]

Porsche Video WEC

Mark Webber: The road to Le Mans – part 3

Mark Webber

We’re now up to Part 3 of the Mark Webber: Return to Le Mans series and, finally, we see him at the wheel of the Porsche 919 Hybrid. This episode takes us behind the scenes for Mark’s first test at Portimao in December last year.