Sportscars » 19 April 2014
WEC: ‘Inexperienced’ Webber relishing new challenges
Ex-F1 driver Mark Webber is keeping his expectations modest for the 2014 World Endurance Championship opener at Silverstone
Mark Webber says he is simply targeting a 'smooth' run in the Silverstone 6 Hours as he looks to gather experience for his new World Endurance Championship endeavour.
Twelve years after making his debut in F1, Webber turns to sportscars in 2014 as part of Porsche's much anticipated two-pronged attack on the WEC and Le Mans, the Australian joined in his car by long-time Porsche driver Timo Bernhard and youngster Brendon Hartley.
Indeed, though Webber comes to Porsche with plenty of experience in motor racing terms, he admits he remains fairly low on experience compared with his peers at a sportscar level and is thus simply approaching the Silverstone event as a chance to learn.
With this in mind, Webber has targeted a finish with no notable issues, pointing out that Porsche's heritage in motorsport doesn't mean it isn't prone to making mistakes as it embarks on its first top tier sportscar race in 15 years.
“The level of commitment is high for both (F1 and Sportscars)," said Webber, who starts sixth for the race. "F1 is very fast and quick, so I had to get used to that and I am quite low on experience in this type of car compared to Timo, Romain [Dumas] and Neel [Jani], but we are working exceptionally well as a team.
“The aim for the race is to survive. We want a smooth afternoon with the car running seamlessly, smooth pit stops, driver changes… things we are nervous about because it's the first time we have done it. Everyone expects Porsche to do everything perfectly because that is what the brand is associated with, though in racing we may make some small errors because it's our first long race, but we will learn from it.
His first experience of having to complete two or three fast laps – as part of a new qualifying format of an average lap time based on the four best laps from two drivers -, Webber says he is relishing the challenge.
“Pushing for two or three laps was a unique experience for me, it has just been one for me for the last 13 years, so I enjoyed it.
“On the short runs it is pretty tight between all of us, but the Toyota is looking good on long runs, I must say. Qualifying and the race could be different, but we have made a great effort in qualifying with two cars running well, so operationally everything went smooth. “
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