It’s great to be back on top in the WEC and it’s such a good feeling to again have a fast package and win on outright performance.
After the Toyota successes at Silverstone and Spa, and outrunning us at Le Mans, it’s a big improvement to see the car challenging and winning on pure performance.
It’s a great result for the people who have put so much work and effort into producing a car that works especially well at the Nürburgring. Hopefully we can take that speed and performance on to future races in the WEC.
I’ve now been part of the team, in and out, for the last four years, since I first tested with the 919 Hybrid back in 2014. However, this was the first time that I’ve driven the car when it’s not been in Le Mans, low drag, configuration.
All the testing I’ve ever been involved with has all been based around Le Mans. 2015 was always the Le Mans car, and up to this weekend was always the Le Mans package.
It was the first time for me, in Free Practice 1 this weekend, driving the car with the high-downforce aerodynamic kit, so I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect.
It was great to get out and just feel the amount of grip that these modern LMP1 cars can produce, the amount of downforce and the lateral and braking grip involved takes your breath away.
It’s the highest-performance racing car that I’ve ever driven and it feels great behind the wheel.
Performance-wise, we were happy with where we stacked up in relation to Toyota.
The Nürburgring, along with Silverstone, are probably the tracks in this year’s WEC where downforce is most important, so it suited our aero approach this time around.
At other tracks that are higher speed on average, like Shanghai or Fuji, we might not have quite such an advantage.
One other thing we needed to keep an eye on this weekend was aero degradation. We could see in the race with both our cars, the performance peaked and dipped throughout.
We could see on the telemetry when our performance level was dropping, and throughout the race the front splitter, the rear wing, the downforce-generating areas, would have to be cleaned periodically.
Next up is Mexico and it will be my first time going there, but it’s always exciting to go to a new event and race on a new circuit.
I’m not sure how the pair of manufacturers are going to compare against each other because there is obviously a very long straight, which could play to the advantages of Toyota’s car.
Of course, looking back at the last weekend, we’ve obviously got a lot of confidence and a lot of momentum from Nürburgring so the plan from now on is clearly to try and win every other race going and bring home the manufacturers title.
We know it won’t be easy, and probably very unlikely to keep a 1-2 run going, but it would definitely be nice to have the chance again to fight from the front again and maybe, at some point, we’ll get the circumstances where our No. 1 car can claim its first victory of the year.