Webber shows promising pace but Audi top the time sheets in Le Mans test

Vale resident Mark Webber (left) at speed on the famous Le Mans Mulsanne Straight during Sunday's Pre-Test
Vale resident Mark Webber (left) at speed on the famous Le Mans Mulsanne Straight during Sunday's Pre-Test

Mark Webber and his Porsche team-mates were in action at Le Mans on Sunday to take part in the important Le Mans 24-Hour Race Pre-Test ahead of next week’s main event.

All 60 cars that will contest the 84th-running of the world famous race in ten days time were present for the test that saw the number 8 Audi R18 of Lucas di Grassi, Loic Duval and Oliver Jarvis set the pace.

Aston Clinton’s Webber was on-track in the number 1 Porsche 919-Hybrid and set the car’s fastest time during the second session of the day, which was run under an overcast sky in cool conditions.

The local Aussie said this week: “The Le Mans 24-Hours can be won and lost by the car and team that makes their tyres last the longest.

“This was one of the items we worked on during the test. We think we are in pretty good shape ahead of race week.”

Webber shared driving duties in the number 1 car with Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley, and all three spent considerable time in the car, with Hartley commenting: “Racing at Le Mans with a driver like Mark Webber as a team-mate is a considerable confidence boost.”

The trio have not enjoyed the best of luck this season, with a crash in the opening World Endurance Championship race at Silverstone and a poor result in the second round of the series in Belgium.

The second Porsche 919-Hybrid will be driven by Neel Jani, Marc Lieb and Romain Dumas. The number 2 Porsche ended the Pre-Test third fastest overall.

The Circuit de la Sarthe at Le Mans measures a distance of over 13km, with 9.2km of the course made up of public roads in and around the town. The track’s famous Mulsanne Straight will see cars reach speeds in excess of 320 km/h.

Webber added: “Le Mans is all about speed. It is a track where you need to be smooth and very careful.

“There are no real margins for error and you have to keep an eye open for slower GT cars. Traffic can make or break a lap, especially in qualifying.”

Porsche will also field two 911 RSR cars in the GTE-Pro class, with the team’s number 91 car to be driven by 2015 race winner Nick Tandy.

Pre-race scrutineering and documentation takes place on Sunday and Monday in Le Mans town centre, with free practice and qualifying starting a week today (Wednesday).