02.05.2017    Confidence ahead of the Le Mans dress rehearsal in Spa

The six-hour race at Spa-Francorchamps (BE) is far more than just the second round of the FIA World Endurance Championship WEC: The race on May 6 is known as the dress rehearsal for Le Mans. The Porsche LMP Team enters in Spa, as well as at the 24-hour classic in Le Mans (June 17/18), two Porsche 919 Hybrids with the same six works drivers. Reigning world champion Neel Jani (CH) has the number 1 on the car he shares with André Lotterer (DE) and Nick Tandy (GB). The number 2 sister car belongs to Earl Bamber (NZ), Timo Bernhard (DE) and Brendon Hartley (NZ). After finishing second and third at the season’s opening round in Silverstone (GB), Porsche heads to the Ardennes mountains leading the manufacturer standings.

In the duel with Toyota at Spa and Le Mans, title defender Porsche is one car less compared to the Silverstone winning squad which enters three prototypes in both races. Regarding the aerodynamics of the Porsche 919 Hybrids, the focus remains on preparing for the season’s highlight in France. The aero package with low downforce, however, provides some advantages in Spa on the long flat-out sections. Also on top of the job list is sheer power because the 7.004 kilometre long Grand Prix circuit offers huge altitude differences.

The 30-car WEC field is divided into four classes for prototypes and GT sports cars. The six-hour race gets underway on Saturday 14:30 hrs. It can be followed live on the internet and TV from basically all over the world.

“Next to the Nürburgring, Spa is like a second home race for me,” said Timo. “It is only 200 kilometres from home and it is a brilliant circuit with a very natural and unique character. To manage a really good lap there in a Le Mans prototype is extremely rewarding because the track isn’t an easy one at all. It has fast and slow corners that flow into each other. I fell in love with Spa back in 1998 when I finished sixth straightaway in a huge Formula Ford European Championship field. I have also done the Spa 24-Hours three times. However, so far it is a one-sided love affair between me and the circuit – I have often led races there but have never won. I want to change that in 2017.”

Schedule (local time):
Thursday, May 4 2017 
11:45-13:15 free practice
16:45-18:15 free practice

Friday, May 5 2017 
10:25-11:25 free practice
15:25-15:50 qualifying LMP1 & LMP2

Saturday, May 6 2017 
14:30-20:30 race

TV and live streaming:
- The official WEC App can be downloaded free of charge with an extended (not free of charge) version available which includes full live streaming and full timing. The live stream is voiced by the FIA WEC TV team including live interviews from the pits.

- The WEC races can be followed on various international TV channels in Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, North and South America as well as in the Middle East and Africa.

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