Sebastian Vettel tests the Porsche 963: German F1 world champion test drives for Porsche Penske Motorsport

Spread the love

Sebastian Vettel enters new terrain with this test drive: for the first time, the four-time Formula 1 world champion will gain experience in the cockpit of a hypercar prototype.

Since 2023, the Porsche Penske Motorsport works team and private teams have campaigned the Porsche 963 in the North American IMSA sports car series and the FIA World Endurance Championship WEC. After winning three IMSA races last year, Porsche Penske Motorsport succeeded in kicking off the 2024 season with a win in both championships. In the WEC, which also incorporates the Le Mans 24-hour highlight, the entire field including the ca. 500 kW (680 PS) hybrid race car will run on biofuel. This fuel has been used in the WEC since March 2022.

“I’m looking forward to testing the Porsche 963. I already got the chance to get a feel for the car during a rollout in Weissach,” said Sebastian Vettel.

“We’re delighted that Sebastian Vettel is interested in our Porsche 963,” said Thomas Laudenbach, Vice President Porsche Motorsport.

Vettel has prepared systematically for the test with the Porsche 963. On 14 March, he met the operations crew at the Porsche Penske Motorsport facility in Mannheim. The next day, on 15 March, the German completed an extensive simulator session at Porsche Motorsport. There, he got to know the engineers and familiarise himself with the special features and complex control systems of the Le Mans prototype. On 21 March, he got his first taste of the Porsche 963 on the in-house test track at the Weissach R&D Centre. It proved to be an unusual experience for the 36-year-old: After 299 Grand Prix starts in Formula 1 single-seaters, it had been some time since Vettel had driven a racing car with a roof – previously only at the Race of Champions or turning demo laps.

Next week, Porsche Penske Motorsport will head to the 5.345-kilometre circuit at Motorland Aragón near Alcañiz to conduct a 36-hour long run. Joining Sebastian Vettel for the test are the works drivers Matt Campbell (Australia), Michael Christensen (Denmark), Frédéric Makowiecki (France), Kévin Estre (France), André Lotterer (Germany) and Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium). This endurance test serves as preparation for the highlight of the season in Le Mans on 15/16 June. As the record holder, Porsche aims to secure its 20th outright victory at the Circuit des 24 Heures.

To increase the chances of the desired success, Porsche Penske Motorsport will field a third Weissach-made hybrid prototype at the French endurance classic in 2024. Mathieu Jaminet from France has already been confirmed to helm the No. 4 car. The customer teams Hertz Team Jota and Proton Competition have entered three more Porsche 963 race cars. Two Porsche 911 GT3 R campaigned by Manthey EMA and Manthey PureRxcing will tackle the new LMGT3 category.

Spread the love