If you ever wanted a feel for what it’s like lapping Belgium’s Spa in a top-level endurance racer, then sit down and watch this video in its entirety.
It’s filmed from the cockpit of the number 2 2017 Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 race car with Porsche factory driver Earl Bamber behind the wheel. The lap was during practice for Sunday’s 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps.
The number 1 919 Hybrid qualified on pole for the race, with Neel Jaani and Andre Lotterer achieving a combined average lap of 1:54.097. (That’s about 7.0 seconds off the pace of the fastest qualifying time during 2016’s Formula One Belgium Grand Prix.)
The Porsches couldn’t hold off Toyota’s 2017 TS050 Hybrids, though. In a thrilling finish, the number 8 TS050 Hybrid piloted by Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Anthony Davidson took the checkered flag less than two seconds ahead of the number 7 TS050 Hybrid piloted by Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi.
It was their second consecutive victory for Toyota in the 2017 World Endurance Championship after bagging top honors in last month's season opener at Silverstone.
The number 2 919 Hybrid came third while the number 1 car came fourth. Porsche cited excessive tire wear on its cars due to the low-downforce setting used as the reason for being slower than the top two Toyotas which were both using a high-downforce setting. A third Toyota using a low-downforce setting came in fifth.
Teams now head to France for the 2017 24 Hours of Le Mans running June 17-18, the highlight of the WEC.