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Porsche Confident Test Day Issues Are Resolved

Porsche’s lead performance engineer reckons team can bounce back from bumpy test day…

Photo: Porsche

Porsche is confident that it has been able to overcome the issues it encountered during the 24 Hours of Le Mans test day, according to its lead performance engineer.

Both GTE-Pro cars encountered problems during the morning session of the official test day on Sunday, which limited the running time for both cars.

The No. 92 Porsche 911 RSR-19, piloted by Michael Christensen, Kevin Estre and Laurens Vanthoor, suffered a driveshaft problem early in the session that forced Christensen to park the car in the grass on the inside of Tertre Rouge.

Romain Gineste, the lead performance engineer on the factory GTE-Pro squad, indicated that the Dane encountered an issue that appeared significant at the time, but was fixed relatively easily.

“The part failed,” Gineste told Sportscar365. “So the driveshaft broke and actually broke the damper behind, but it was just a simple parts failure.

“So we changed parts, everything is new and hopefully it will not happen again.”

Christensen added: “They saw some wear in a part of the old driveshaft. It had some runtime on it that I know of and there was some wear that was not supposed to be there, and then it happened.

“There was some wear there shouldn’t have been there, and that’s why it happened, basically. Where that wear came [from], I’m not sure they know why. That’s what I know.”

Gineste also said that the mileage on the faulty part was good, saying he hoped the failure would be a “one-off'” because it would be far more costly if it occurred during the race.

“In this case, it is a big failure,” he said. “This could take one to one and a half hours to fix, so it’s race over.  So in this case, the failure is way too big.

“There are parts on the car that could fail and it is possible to change them quickly, but this is way too much.”

The No. 92’s issue, combined with an off-track moment for the sister car driven by Gianmaria Bruni, resulted in less runtime for Porsche compared to class rivals Corvette and Ferrari.

“It’s never good to start the event with a technical issue and lose track time, but we have a plan for the rest of the event and it’s behind [us] already,” Gineste noted.

“The track time we lost is definitely a bit of a compromise somehow, but at the end of the day we can just rework the plan for the rest of the event and we will compensate.

“It is never ideal to lose time, but at the end of the day it will work.”

Bruni “Locked Wheels” at Mulsanne

Gineste also explained that the incident that caught out Bruni and caused the Italian to take a trip through the gravel was the result of a lockup that sent the car into a slide.

After the incident, Bruni hinted that the rear of the car stepped out as he approached the corner, but that further analysis would have to take place.

According to Gineste, Porsche suspects that a lockup was largely at fault for the incident, although did not completely rule out the possibility of aero issues.

“He seemed to have lost the car locking wheels,” he said. “I think it is a combination of both. He was definitely pushing at the time and he definitely locked the rears and then he lost control of the car.”

Similar to the issue on the No. 92 car, Gineste stated that he was not concerned about the incident going into the rest of the weekend.

“At this stage, we are not worried. He just lost the car, that is it. Nothing bad with the car.”

Bruni was similarly untroubled by the loss of track time, saying the issue occurred during a time where track conditions did not yet allow for optimal running and therefore hinted that the consequences were minor.

“We lost an hour, also the first three, four hours of the session normally the track is not there yet, so we didn’t lose so much.

“We know the car, the car is same as last year, we drove [afterwards], so it should be okay.”

Daniel Lloyd contributed to this report

Davey Euwema is a Sportscar365 reporter based in The Netherlands, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, DTM, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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