Porsche LMP1 Team and Toyota Gazoo Racing have opted to use different aero packages for the opening round of the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship at Silverstone. Toyota will use the high-downforce aero it revealed at the car’s launch last week, while Porsche will run its Le Mans-spec low-drag kit on its 919 Hybrids.
As per the 2017 LMP1 H regulations, each manufacturer can only run two aerodynamic packages on its LMP1 racers during the season, down from three during the previous years.
“We have chosen to use our high-downforce aerodynamic package for Silverstone because, based on our simulations and previous experience, this is more suited to the characteristics of the circuit,” Toyota Gazoo Racing president Tashio Sato explained to DSC.
“Our low-downforce Le Mans package is more focused on top speed, so we don’t believe it is appropriate for a fast, high corner density, sweeping circuit like Silverstone.”
Porsche meanwhile believes that prioritising the development of its low-drag package by racing it is key prior to Le Mans, even if it puts the team at a disadvantage for the season opener this weekend.
“We have managed our resources and will focus on developing and testing our Le Mans aerodynamics until the third race of the season is over,” explained Porsche team principal Andreas Seidl. “This means low downforce for the benefit of low drag and this unavoidably will be a disadvantage in Silverstone.
“After the Le Mans 24 Hours in June we will consequently arm the 919 with more downforce for the remaining championship rounds.”
Both teams have completed extended running prior to the first round of the season, with Toyota and Porsche both now confirming that they have completed 30-hour tests with their updated prototypes to ensure that their performance levels are as high as possible over long runs and that reliability issues aren’t a factor early in the season.