Sebastian Vettel, Porsche 963, 2024

Vettel to test Porsche 963 hypercar next week as he considers Le Mans bid


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Four-times Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel will test Porsche’s race-winning 963 hypercar next week.

Porsche’s Penske-run World Endurance Championship team is holding a 36-hour test at the Motorland Aragon circuit in Spain next week to prepare for the championship’s blue riband event, the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The team won the season-opening race in Qatar earlier this month with one of its two 963s. It is yet to confirm the driver line-up for its third car at Le Mans and Vettel could join Mathieu Jaminet in the number four machine.

The extent of Vettel’s preparations indicate he is seriously considering a return to racing for the first time since he retired from Formula 1 two years ago. He drove the car for the first time yesterday at Porsche’s Weissach base and conducted what Porsche called “an extensive simulator session” last week.

“I’ve always followed other racing series and my curiosity for endurance events encouraged me to just give it a shot,” said Vettel. “Now I’m excited about the long run in Aragon and I’m looking forward to my time behind the wheel.

“It’ll definitely take an adjustment and some getting used to but everyone in the team is very open and helps me. This will be a new experience for me. We will then see what happens next in this respect – at the moment there are no further plans for the future.”

Vettel will be one of seven drivers participating in the test along with Porsche Penske’s two works crews. They are Andre Lotterer, Kevin Estre and Laurens Vanthoor, who won in Qatar, plus Matt Campbell, Michael Christensen and Frederic Makowiecki.

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Porsche Motorsport vice president Thomas Laudenbach said the test will offer a “perfect” opportunity for Vettel to acquaint himself with the 963 and for the team to benefit from his experience.

“There was no question for us that we’d be thrilled to support his request for an opportunity to test and provide him with extensive preparation and plenty of time to drive our hybrid prototype,” he said. “There’s no doubt we’ll learn a lot from his valuable feedback.”

A total of six Porsche 963s will contest Le Mans this year as the manufacturer seeks its 20th victory in the historic race. Jota will enter two more and Proton another.

Pictures: Vettel in Porsche’s 963

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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4 comments on “Vettel to test Porsche 963 hypercar next week as he considers Le Mans bid”

  1. would be great to see him and lewis at the 24 hours.

  2. When he’s done enjoying the pleasure of driving it will be back to let’s save the planet.

  3. Would be awesome to see F1 drivers going against IndyCar drivers. Vettel vs Dixon sounds awesome!

  4. Let’s get the whole F1 grid from about 15 years ago back together!

    These racers just can’t stay away, can they? Must have had enough of raising a family already.

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