Watch Mark Webber Drive His Porsche 919 Le Mans Race Car Through London
It was a stunt to promote the global debut of the Panamera 4 E-Hybrid.
Few locations seem more out of place for a Le Mans race car than the tight, windy streets of a major city. But that didn't stop Porsche from tasking championship-winning driver Mark Webber from taking his 919 Le Mans race car on a tour of some of the most famous sightseeing spots in London earlier today.
With the new Porsche Panamera 4 E-Hybrid trailing behind it, Webber spent his Tuesday morning inside the 900-horsepower 919 race car driving past London's Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, the London Eye, and several other postcard-worthy spots in the British capital. Both of the cars and a film crew were escorted around the city with a rolling roadblock, provided by the police.
The event was primarily a way for the carmaker to promote the global debut of Porsche's new 462-horsepower Panamera 4 E-Hybrid, providing a photo opportunity for the automaker to get what it considers its two most advanced cars ever together before the hybrid sedan's auto show debut at the Paris Motor Show later this week.
If you're sitting there wondering how frustrating it must be to drive a race car through a tight and crowded city like London, we can help shed some light. In a video clip uploaded to YouTube by "Horsepower Hunters," Webber is seen stalling the 919 multiple times when attempting to maneuver through the city streets. In other words, it looks like a massive pain.
“This wasn’t a trivial show car run - I had a few things going on," Webber said to Autocar. "The car itself put up a bit of a challenge in terms of being able to go that slowly. The 919 Hybrid is built to be a flying machine and take in a lot of air for cooling. It is fitted with a downforce package specced for 220 mph, so to drive it at between 10-15 mph for a long period of time was a little bit of a concern. I was tempted to floor it and get into second gear but I had nowhere to go."
But hey, at least Porsche got the shot.