Newly crowned World Endurance champion at the wheel of his Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1, Mark Webber in an interview released to www.minardi.it, anticipated us his goals for 2016 with the company from Stuttgart putting the victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans that he missed last year into the foreground.
“Le Mans is such a special event. It’s a very long, intense week and the race is incredibly hard to put together.There’s a very special atmosphere at that race and to stand up on the podium in front of tens of thousands of fans is an unreal experience. It would be great to win Le Mans, it’s such a huge challenge and would be a great feather in my cap, but at the same time I’m not getting any younger and won’t be chasing after it for the next ten years” the Australian driver told us. Mark started his career in 2002 at the wheel of the Minardi Team. He succeeded to put himself in the spotlight from his first race in Melbourne in front of his home crowd bringing his PS02 in the fifth place and giving the stable from Faenza two points. “The Minardi Team was a very special moment in my career. We got good results and I enjoyed racing hard against teams we really shouldn’t have been. Gian Carlo has always given me good advice”.
His path in Formula 1 continued without interruption till 2013 passing through Jaguar, Williams and Red Bull with a total amount of 217 grand prix and 9 victories, 42 podia, 13 pole positions and 19 fastest laps in race. “Compared to Formula 1, there is a very friendly atmosphere in the WEC paddock. Within the team both sides of the garage work towards the same goal and there is a busy exchange between engineers and drivers. The inter-team rivalry known in F1 is almost non-existent” Mark highlights referring especially to the fight with his teammate Vettel during 2013 season. Then, he describes the differences between the two cars. “The transition from F1 to WEC was a big adaptation process for me in the first few months(..) The cars are heavier than an F1 car, but faster. With three drivers in the car you have to compromise on certain things inside the cockpit such as seat and pedal positioning, and in particular some aspects of the set-up related to individual driving styles, which is something you need to get used to”.
The new season starts on April 17 with the 6 Hours of Silverstone, the first of nine FIA WEC events, and it continues at Spa-Francorchamps, Le Mans, Nurburgring, Mexico City, Austin, Fiji, Shanghai, and Bahrain.“Last year, after our first win in Germany I knew that we could go all the way if we kept our heads down and continued to work hard. We will start testing the new car in February. This year’s car will pretty much be an evolution of last year’s car and we’re starting with a very good technical basis which allows us to focus our efforts on improving other areas such as the aerodynamic efficiency, weight, suspensions”, the Australian driver closes. “Having been part of Porsche’s LMP1 program has been very rewarding. It would be awesome to have Ferrari and BMW both in the championship and good to compete against them”.