With the Formula One season in the books, Mark Webber was finally able to turn his first laps aboard Porsche’s as yet unnamed LMP1 car. The Australian is still under contract to Red Bull Racing through the end of 2013, but received the team’s blessing to test in an unbranded white firesuit at the Autódromo Internacional do Algarve near Portimão, Portugal.
The pairings of Porsche’s four confirmed full season drivers for the FIA World Endurance Championship — Webber, Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas and Neel Jani — have yet to be determined. Webber, though, was pleased after sampling the machinery for the first time.
“My first day in this fascinating project was an intense experience for me,” Webber said. “I would like to thank Red Bull Racing for giving me the chance to join the project so early. This is a major and important step for us all. It allows me to integrate with the team quicker and to contribute to further developing the LMP1 race car. We have a long way to go, and it involves a lot of hard work. I have no misconceptions about this.”
Fritz Enzinger, head of Porsche LMP1, was also thankful to Red Bull for allowing Webber his first running. Enzinger described Porsche’s test program for its last running of the 2013 calendar year, noting it would primarily focus on suspension and tire tests with tire technical partner Michelin.
“Between the rollout of the completely new car in June and now we have made significant progress,” Enzinger said. “Every single kilometer was important, providing us with new data that brought the development forward. The whole team has worked extremely hard, and I would like to express my sincere thanks for this. Our efforts will continue unabated in 2014. Until the start of the season at Silverstone mid-April there is still a lot to do.”