Porsche is ready for Le Mans after successful test

 Porsche is ready for Le Mans after successful test

Porsche 963, Porsche Penske Motorsport (#6), Kevin Estre (F), Andre Lotterer (D), Laurens Vanthoor (B)
Porsche Penske Motorsport’s Porsche 963 covers 2,671 kilometres on the Circuit des 24 Heures in Le Mans
Six hybrid prototypes from Weissach impress with steady pace
Manthey’s two Porsche 911 GT3 R clock up many test kilometres
The endurance classic gets underway this coming Saturday at 4 pm

Porsche Penske Motorsport has completed its preparations for the upcoming 24 Hours of Le Mans on the official test day. In the two sessions on the Circuit des 24 Heures, the three Porsche 963 fielded by the works team turned a total of 196 laps during the six hours of track time. This is equivalent to 2,671 kilometres. Despite favourable track conditions, the three-hour sessions were repeatedly interrupted by red flags. Both runs ended early due to incidents.

The one chance to test ahead of the season highlight at Le Mans was held in perfect weather conditions and pleasant temperatures of just over 20 degrees Celsius. Porsche Penske Motorsport and the customer teams made the most of this opportunity. The works team’s three Porsche 963 turned extremely steady laps over the long run and occupied first, second and fourth in the time sheets. The fastest lap of the entire test day was set by works driver Kévin Estre from France in 3:26.807 minutes.


“First and foremost, a huge thank you to the entire team, who perfectly prepared both the cars and all the equipment,” states Urs Kuratle, Director Factory Racing LMDh. “Our third Porsche 963 and some of the crew came directly from the USA. The integration worked perfectly, and the racing car immediately reached at the same high level as the two regular WEC vehicles. We were fast and extremely reliable. We systematically checked off our to-do list and apart from a puncture on our number 5 car, we had no problems whatsoever – not even with the customer teams. That’s remarkable. Still, today’s lap times don’t say much about where we stand compared to the competition.”


“We used the test to check the brakes and try out a few critical things,” says Jonathan Diuguid. The Managing Director of Porsche Penske Motorsport adds: “We did everything we could to be as well prepared as possible for the upcoming race week. We tested the tyres and implemented several setup variations. We’ve now collected sufficient data for an intensive analysis.”


The Hertz Team Jota and Proton Competition customer teams also turned many laps on the official test day. The No. 38 car of the British team led by the 2009 Formula 1 World Champion Jenson Button (Great Britain) covered the longest distance of all six Porsche 963 with 967 kilometres. In the LMGT3 class, the two Porsche 911 GT3 R racers fielded by Manthey EMA and Manthey PureRxcing also completed an extensive test programme turning a total of 125 laps on the Circuit des 24 Heures. The 13.626-kilometre racetrack runs predominantly on country roads, which will be closed to public traffic for the endurance classic and the test day. The first free practice sessions get underway on Wednesday, 12 June, at 2 pm.


TV coverage and live streaming of the race
The 92nd edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans starts next Saturday, 15 June at 4 pm. The endurance classic will be broadcast in Germany by the free TV channel Nitro from the RTL media group and on the sports channel Eurosport. The official apps of the FIA WEC and the Le Mans organiser ACO offer a paid live stream and live timing.


More comments on the test day
Mathieu Jaminet (Porsche 963 #4): “I only drove a few laps today, but it’s a great feeling to be back in Le Mans. We tried out many different vehicle setups and our lap times looked impressive. We made it into the top four with all three cars. Let’s hope that we can be that far ahead in all of next week’s sessions.”


Michael Christensen (Porsche 963 #5): “It feels great to be back driving on this very special Le Mans circuit at last. The conditions were super today. Our car handled beautifully, and we managed to tick off almost everything on our test list. However, we still need to try out a few more things in the practice sessions at the start of the race week. The test day is always critical – for us drivers and the whole team.”


Kévin Estre (Porsche 963 #6): “Our car ran like a dream from the very first lap and I immediately had a great feeling. During the test day we made further progress as part of the normal setup work. At the start of the second session, I got two clear laps in without slower traffic and my lap times reflected this. We’re definitely in a better position compared to last year.”


Dieter Gass (Team Principal Hertz Team Jota): “We had a productive test day, with both cars running without problems. Unfortunately, there were a couple of long interruptions due to the red flags or safety car practices. Still, we achieved the level of performance that we’d expected. It’s great to see that our two Porsche 963 are performing at a very similar level – I take that as a good sign. We now head into the race week feeling optimistic.”


Christian Ried (Team Owner Proton Competition): “We usually use the morning of such a test day to run through a few procedures and check all the functions in the car. The track was still very dirty in the first session. We only started setting up the car in the afternoon, when there was more rubber on the road and sufficient grip had finally been built up. Today’s conditions were great. I’m confident that our Porsche 963, the drivers and the entire team are now well-prepared for the race week. Le Mans is the highlight every year!”


Richard Lietz (Porsche 911 GT3 R #91): “We tried out everything on our list as part of the test day preparations. Among other things, we also ran in the spare parts that we would need to use in the event of an incident during the race. Everything felt normal and good. It was a standard program without incidents and a pleasing start to a long Le Mans week."


Joel Sturm (Porsche 911 GT3 R #92): “Driving on this special track for the first time was an extreme experience for me and great fun. The test ran smoothly. We completed the scheduled programme. It’s tricky to assess the performance and the level of competition at this point. I reckon we’ll be up with the play. Now it’s finally time for the race week!”

All results from the test day are available on fiawec.alkamelsystems.com.

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