Porsche has opted for its 919 Hybrids to start the FIA World Endurance Championship season in low downforce configuration, with the German manufacturer confirming Monday that it will utilize its Le Mans-spec aero package for this weekend’s Six Hours of Silverstone.
The decision comes on the heels of a reduction from three to two aero kits permitted by each LMP1 manufacturer for the season, which Porsche LMP1 team principal Andreas Seidl feels could benefit them with a more-developed high downforce package to debut following the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
However, Seidl, who doubles as Porsche’s LMP1 technical director, admits this weekend’s race “is going to be difficult” by its strategy.
“We have managed our resources the way that we focus on developing and testing our Le Mans aerodynamics until the third race of the season is over,” Seidl said.
“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.”
Toyota has opted for the opposite approach, with the Japanese manufacturer to run its updated TS050 Hybrids in high-downforce configuration for the first two rounds, and debuting its Le Mans package on its third entry in next month’s Six Hours of Spa.
The split approach from the two remaining LMP1 manufacturers is expected to result in a vastly different race that could favor Toyota.
Both manufacturers ran its Le Mans aero packages in the Prologue at Monza earlier this month, with Toyota’s Nico Lapierre leading the way.
“Porsche and Toyota operate on the same top level,” Timo Bernhard said. “Small advantages for one or the other can vary from track to track with the respective aerodynamic strategies playing an important role.
“It will be very interesting to see how this turns out in Silverstone.”
On-track action for the season-opening round kicks off on Friday.