Despite being a veteran of 215 Grand Prix races, Formula One star Mark Webber is among the crop of drivers that have been required to take part in a new layer of preparation for this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans .
Webber, who is coming off a successful 12-year run in F1, will return to Circuit de la Sarthe for the first time since 1999, having signed a long-term contract with Porsche to race its new 919 Hybrid in the FIA World Endurance Championship.
As part of the new ACO’s new safety measures, all rookie drivers, or those who have not competed at Le Mans in the past five years, are required to take a one-day training course on a professional simulator to help come to grips with the unique conditions they’ll be faced with in the twice-around-the-clock French endurance classic.
Webber recently had the opportunity to complete his mandatory course, which included daytime, nighttime and wet weather running, along with the new-for-2014 safety car system and slow zone procedures.
“I haven’t raced at Le Mans for several years so it was a kind of update for me,” Webber said. “This training session is a very good idea as there are specific things that you have to learn to compete in the Le Mans 24 Hours. It’s important for the drivers to do this course on the simulator.”
A total of 17 drivers have so far taken part in the simulator training sessions, run by AOTech, in partnership with the ACO. New and re-qualifying drivers will still have to also complete their mandatory 10 lap minimum at the Le Mans Test Day in order to be eligible to compete in the race.