Porsche, Toyota and Audi put up impressive showings at the World Endurance Championship (WEC) Prologue held at Paul Ricard in southern France over the weekend, with the German sports car maker showing that it will still be the force to beat this season.
The WEC Prologue is the pre-season testing of the endurance races sanctioned by the FIA (International Automobile Federation).
As the last session of the Prologue was taking place, it was Porsche that dominated the morning session. New Zealander Brendon Hartley clocked a time of 1:37:886 with the No. 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid. Like since the beginning of the Prologue, Toyota and Audi followed, with all their official cars came in under 1:40. As for the private Le Mans Prototype One (LMP1), Rebellion Racing was clearly faster than the ByKOLLES team during the morning session. The CLM P1/01 gave up more than 10 seconds to the lead Porsche.
In the Le Mans Prototype Two class (LMP2), the Alpine A460s are still in view. The No. 36 is in the lead with 1:46:974, and the sister car (No. 35) is in third place. Flanked, G-Drive Racing’s Oreca 05 powered by Nissan is doing well with a great time of 1:47:648 for Roman Rusinov.
The LM GTE Pro is for now under Ferrari control. The new 488 GTEs are once again on point. The No. 71 is ahead of the No. 51 with respective times of 1:58:083 and 1:58:362. The two Ford GTs are at less than a second. Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK is complete and all the drivers are hard at work. For now, it’s French driver Olivier Pla who is standing out. He is faster than the Ford drivers, with a time of 1:58:525. Experienced Andy Priaulx follows in 1:58;697.
In LM GTE Am, Larbre Compétition’s Corvette did not take the track. The American car keeps the absolute best performance in the class (1:58:268 with Paolo Ruberti), but the Porsche 911 RSR of Gulf Racing closed in and clocked the best time this morning. 1:58:818 for the blue and orange car.
Toyota has been preparing hard for the Prologue and wants no less than a crown at the 24 Hours of Le Mans that takes place on June 16 to 20 at the Circuit de la Sarthe in Le Mans, France.
“The first race of the season is getting closer and our preparations are almost complete. The Prologue was an important milestone and we achieved our main targets in this test, which were to understand our different aerodynamic packages and continue our intense preparations for the start of the season,” said Toshio Sato, Toyota GAZOO Racing team president.