Three of the four factory LMP1 teams have been in action this past week, preparing for the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship season with varying levels of their new and/or existing machinery.
Audi’s new 2016-spec R18 took part in a four-day endurance test at Sebring last week, with the diesel-powered machine, now featuring battery storage, being wheeled by all six of its 2016 drivers.
It marked the first proper test for the new car, which was unveiled last month in Munich.
“We have been able to gather a lot of findings,” said Chris Reinke, Head of LMP at Audi Sport. “The suspension, the chassis structure, and particularly the powertrain components, were subjected to an endurance test at Sebring.
“We checked off a large number of tasks on our list and are now going to tackle our next goals.”
Newly crowned World Champions Porsche was also on track, but at Motorland Aragon, with its updated 919 Hybrid, featuring revised components.
More than 3,700 miles were logged over the multi-day test in Spain, with photos of the 2016-spec car having yet to be revealed.
Nissan’s GT-R LM NISMO, meanwhile, took part in a test at NOLA Motorsports Park, with multiple drivers, including Harry Tincknell, Jann Mardenborough, Nelson Piquet Jr., Bruno Junqueira and Memo Rojas turning laps in a high-downforce specification car.
The test, believed to focus on tire development with technical partner Michelin, was run without a functioning hybrid system again, with its rumored battery-based unit derived from Renault expected to be fitted into the front-engined, front-wheel drive car early next year.
Toyota has been the only LMP1 manufacturer absent thus far from winter testing, with the Japanese manufacturer on a delayed schedule for the rollout of its all-new TS050 Hybrid due to a late decision to switch from its normally aspirated V8 to a new turbocharged engine for 2016.
It’s believed the new Toyota will begin testing sometime in January or February.