Is Sebastian Vettel Heading For Le Mans With Porsche?

Porsche Motorsport has ignited rumours by announcing that the four-time F1 champion is testing its 963 racer this week
Is Sebastian Vettel Heading For Le Mans With Porsche?

We’ve all been wondering whether Sebastian Vettel, the much-loved four-time F1 Drivers’ Champion, would get back to professional racing after he hung up his helmet at the end of the 2022 season. Now, rumours are beginning to fly that it could be on the cards with Porsche and its endurance racing efforts, thanks to the announcement that Vettel is to run test sessions in the 963 LMDh racer.

Nothing concrete has been said about Vettel racing the 963, which is fielded as a joint effort between the factory Porsche team and US outfit Penske, but everything points to it looking very likely. This week, Vettel drove the car at Porsche’s test track in Weissach, Germany, and next week, he’ll be heading to the MotorLand Aragón circuit in Spain for a 36-hour test session in preparation for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.

He’ll be joining the six drivers who field Porsche Penske’s two full-season entries in the World Endurance Championship for the test session, which seeks to work on both driver and car endurance as Porsche aims for a 20th outright victory at the flagship race in France.

For Le Mans, Porsche will enter a third 963 to increase their chances of success, although so far only one driver has been announced – French racer Mathieu Jaminet, who campaigns the 963 in the North American IMSA series. The presence of Vettel at this test would seem to point near-conclusively to him taking one of the two remaining seats, although both he and Porsche are keeping their cards close to their chest for now.

“I’ve always followed other racing series and my curiosity for endurance events encouraged me to just give it a shot,” said Vettel. “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.”

Meanwhile, Thomas Laudenbach, the vice president of Porsche Motorsport, said: “There was no question for us that we would be happy to support [Vettel’s] request for a test opportunity and give him extensive preparation and sufficient time behind the wheel of our hybrid prototype - we can certainly learn a lot from his valuable feedback.”

Is Sebastian Vettel Heading For Le Mans With Porsche?

Should a Vettel Le Mans entry happen, it would be far from the first time an F1 champion has had a crack at Le Mans. It was common in the 20th century, when many more drivers jumped between disciplines throughout a season, but in recent years, two-time F1 champion Fernando Alonso has won the famous endurance event twice with Toyota in 2018 and 2019.

Meanwhile, 2009 champion Jenson Button is amongst some 14 ex-F1 drivers running in the WEC this season. He’s driving the privately-entered Porsche 963 of Hertz Team Jota, with whom Vettel was previously linked.

It’s also worth noting that the entire WEC field is running on synthetic fuels, something Vettel has been very vocal about his support for. 

So far, nothing is confirmed beyond Vettel testing the 963, but with everything seemingly pointing to a Le Mans drive, we’ll be watching Porsche Motorsport’s social feeds very closely.


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