Mark Webber sampled Porsche's LMP1 racer ahead of his full-time return to the championship next year

Mark Webber has his first taste of Porsche 2014 World Endurance Championship challenger at the Algarve International Circuit in Portimão, Portugal.

The retired Red Bull Racing Formula 1 driver hadn’t been due to drive in the hybrid LMP1 racer until the New Year, but his former employer was kind enough to give him permission to get behind the wheel even though he remains under contract to the team until the end of the year.

The outing was an opportunity for Webber – who announced his return to endurance racing in June – to familiarise himself with key members of the team and provide feedback into the new car’s development.

The test session was specifically focusing on suspension and tyre testing with Michelin, and it follows previous tests conducted at Lausitz, Magny Cours, Monza and Paul Ricard in the latter half of this year.

Webber described his first drive in the Porsche LMP1 racer as 'intense'“My first day in this fascinating project was an intense experience for me and I would like to thank Red Bull Racing for giving me the chance to join the project so early,” Webber said.

“This is a major and important step for us all. It allows me to integrate with the team quicker and to contribute to further developing the LMP1 race car.”

Webber is one of four drivers already confirmed for Porsche’s LMP1 class return next year, which will see it take on Audi and Toyota in a three-way fight for outright honours in the WEC and the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Already confirmed are Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas and Neel Jani, while Porsche stalwart Marc Lieb and former Red Bull junior driver Brendon Hartley are also considered to be candidates to claim the remaining two seats with the team.

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.