The Porsche Team is offering three young drivers the opportunity to test the innovative Le Mans Prototype Porsche 919 Hybrid at the Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona on Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. Mitch Evans (21, New Zealand), Kevin Magnussen (23, Denmark) and Oliver Turvey (28, Great Britain) are sharing one car. Porsche works driver and championship leader Timo Bernhard (34, Germany) is the driver who will be their reference point at the track.
Team Principal Andreas Seidl explained: “We are a young team with a highly complex race car. For us it is always exciting and informative when drivers share their first experiences with the 919 Hybrid. The feedback is sometimes very detailed and individual. We regularly scan various motorsport categories for strong drivers, inside and outside the Porsche family. We are really pleased our test programme has allowed us to invite these three drivers to Barcelona. Before this, they visited Weissach in October to prepare for this.”
Evans, Magnussen and Turvey didn’t just have their tailor made seats prepared at the Porsche R&D centre in Weissach, but also went into the simulator and studied how to operate the car and its steering wheel together with the engineers. Andreas Seidl added: “Everybody involved in this test will learn and benefit a lot, and that is what this is for. With regard to anything else in the future, we have no announcements planned, especially as we are very happy with our works drivers.”
Mitch Evans is currently in his third GP2 season, which is also the second one for his Russian Time team. With four races still to go, he is sixth in the championship rankings. In 2015 he also made his debut at the Le Mans 24 Hours and finished second in the LMP2 category. “It is a great opportunity for me to test drive the 919 Hybrid – a Le Mans winning car! It is very smooth to drive. A few things are completely new to me. I’m not used to power steering, this type of tyre and have never raced a four-wheel-drive car. But the most impressive thing is the acceleration from the hybrid when the e-machine kicks in. The car is very stable and gives you a lot of confidence. I’d like to thank the Porsche Team for this opportunity.”
Kevin Magnussen had reached his big target when he became a Formula One driver for McLaren in 2014. In Melbourne, at the Australian Grand Prix, he was the first Dane in F1 history to make it onto the podium. After Daniel Ricciardo was disqualified, he was promoted to second. Fifth place at the Russian Grand Prix was another highlight of that season. However, in 2015 he lost the seat to Fernando Alonso. Magnussen: “The Porsche 919 Hybrid is the first race car I have driven for months, and it’s an amazing car with amazing power. It is easy to feel that this is probably the most advanced race car in the world at the moment. I have a few things to work on, especially getting on top of braking. As you can’t see the front wheels here, you don’t really know when you’re locking up, so that is something to get used to and there is also a lot less visibility compared to a single seater. So there are a few things to get used to, but the first impression is really good and I enjoyed it a lot.”
Oliver Turvey has the most experience in endurance racing of the three test drivers. He has competed in Le Mans three times in an LMP2 car. In 2014 he won his class and came second in 2015. His single seater career took him up to GP2 Asia before he went on to race in the Blancpain Endurance Series and the European Le Mans Series. “It is phenomenal to drive the Porsche 919 Hybrid. The amount of power the car has from the combustion engine and the e-machine, which drives the front axle, is really impressive. The grip level and the downforce level is very high. The car feels very stable and consistent – it is a pleasure to drive it and I’m very grateful to Porsche for the opportunity to test here in Barcelona.”