Michael Christensen and Fred Makowiecki got their first laps in the Porsche 919 Hybrid this week, as the Porsche GT factory drivers joined Marc Lieb and Brendon Hartley for a three-day test at Magny-Cours.
The four drivers combined to complete 1,200 miles in the German manufacturer’s test car, in preparation for the second half of the FIA World Endurance Championship season.
Christensen, who competes full-time for Porsche North America in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship and Makowiecki, who handles similar duties in the FIA World Endurance Championship with Porsche Team Manthey, sampled the the LMP1-H car for the first time on Tuesday, both walking away with positive impressions.
“The 919 Hybrid is a fantastic car,” Makowiecki said. “I very quickly built confidence in the driving behavior and picked up the pace from lap to lap. What amazed me the most were the high corning speeds that are possible with this car.”
While Makowiecki entered the test with previous prototype experience, having been in the running for a factory seat at Peugeot prior to the French manufacturer’s withdrawal from LMP1, it marked 24-year-old Dane Christensen’s first experience of a prototype.
“When I got the call to say I’d be testing the 919 Hybrid I couldn’t believe it at first,” he said. “The car is totally fascinating. The extra boost from the electric motors almost takes your breath away.
“However, I quickly adjusted to the handling of the car. Marc Lieb helped me a lot with this. Less than a year ago he was a GT driver too and he can still remember his first LMP1 test kilometers.”
The test for both GT works drivers was made possible thanks to Porsche’s development program, which rewarded the rising stars with the opportunity to try their hand in the hybrid-powered prototype.
“Michael and Frédéric have earned themselves this chance with their performances in our works GT campaign,” said Hartmut Kristen, Porsche Head of Motorsport.
“I’m particularly pleased that Michael, as a graduate of our junior program and now a works driver, has proven himself worthy for such a test.
“Once again, this underlines that our systematic and long-term youth development concept is working.”
The three-day test at the French circuit concluded today, with the Porsche Team returning to race action next weekend in Austin for the FIA WEC Six Hours of the Circuit of The Americas.