Two years ago, Porsche confirmed that it would be returning to the 24 Hours of Le Mans with a LMP1 prototype in 2014. Now, we have our first look at Porsche new entrant bound for the famed endurance race and the World Endurance Championship.
Porsche Motorsports developed the new LMP1 prototype in house, and factory driver Timo Bernhard was involved in the car's creation from the get-go. Bernhard took the new race car out for its initial testing on the manufacturer's test track at its research and development facility near Weissach, Germany.
"I’m very proud that I was the one to take our baby through its first paces today," said Berndhard. "Already now the car feels great. I look forward to testing the vehicle in the coming weeks and months with my friend and colleague Romain Dumas." Both Bernhard and Dumas will conduct testing for the final development of the LMP1 car at various international tracks between now and the start of the 2014 race season.
Today's rollout actually occurred earlier than planned. According to Fritz Enzinger, the head of the LMP1 program, the young team “has worked with utmost concentration on getting this highly complex vehicle on the track as soon as possible. This allows us a few additional weeks for more testing and further development. From 2014, the regulations are primarily based on efficiency. This makes the competition amongst engineers more interesting and presents us with completely new challenges."
Although still clad in camouflage, we can see that Porsche's LMP1 car will be pretty distinctive – the car tracked today has eight bug-eyed LED headlamps, a surprisingly small rear wing, and a huge front spoiler. Porsche has yet to detail the exact powerplant or engineering of the new LMP1 racer, we do know that the automaker is looking to rekindle its legendary win at Le Mans in 1977. It released the video below last week as a teaser to the new race car and to make its Le Mans goals very clear: Porsche wants to win.