Racing24-7.net had a small chat with Brendon Hartley yesterday, where he explained about the new Porsche 919 Hybrid for this season, and the race later today.
On the question on why the car is a lot faster this year, even with the same chassis as last year, he replied:
“It’s a combination of many things. Obviously, the chassis is only one part of the car. We have improved in every area. By regulations they have removed aerodynamics, they have removed downforce, by raising the front splitter and shortening and lowering the rear diffuser. So in theory they have reduced the laptime a lot, by taking away downforce. Obviously the engineers have worked hard to get some of that downforce back, in an efficient way. Then there is engine. So we have improved the combustion engine, the efficiency of the electric drive train, the suspension – I mean, there is no area that we haven’t improve, so it’s small pieces in every area. It’s not one specific thing, but it’s many, different small things.”
One of the other areas that they have worked on, is the power delivery from the hybrid system.
“Drive-ability is one part of it, but combustion engine has been improved, electric engine has been improved, batteries – it’s actually every department and not just one. The only tough one was aero, because they changed the regulations. The guys work pretty hard to get the same, so that is why we are seeing the car going quicker and quicker.”
“I would love to say it’s just the drivers, but…” and then his face broke into a big grin.
Asking about his hopes for the weekend, he couldn’t deny that their 5th starting position isn’t what he had hoped for.
“Well, I was hoping for the qualifying, but we had some problems on our car, so we couldn’t get all the energy out of the battery, due to a few things that happened in qualifying. The first lap was very good actually, we were the quickest car across the line, but then the laptime got deleted (because of the red flag). And then the issue kind of started from there, and it just spiraled out of control. We couldn’t challenge for Pole Position at all, but our race pace all weekend has been really strong. We just have to find a way to get to the front, we know we have the pace. It’s a long race, but it’s a little bit frustrating with the quali, but car number 1 got everything right.”
“I think it’s going to be another close race (today).”
Porsche will line up first and fifth in the race, with the three Toyotas in between, when the race starts at 14.30 CET.