With the return of Porsche to the top-line category in the FIA World Endurance Championship, it also meant a return to sportscars for Andre Lotterer.
The three times Le Mans Champion, and the very first FIA WEC World Champion from 2012, had a talk with Racing24-7.net, at the second round of the 2023 Championship in Portimao.
First of all, good to see you back again in sportscars. Did you miss the four years away?
“Yeah, for sure! The Championship changed of course, and the competition was not really there, in those years. Now the dynamic is back, so it’s good to be back for these new ways.”
The old Porsche 919 Hybrid, that you drove in the past, and this new Porsche 963 is a completely different systems wise…
“Yeah, you can’t compare. It’s a completely different animal. Of course the 919 was faster, but it was a completely different rule, so impossible to compare.
And also the systems were not so limited, as they are in the LMDh ruleset.
“Yeah, the hybrid – the four-wheel drive – the cars were lighter – more downforce – more efficient. So everything has become a bit more simple now, let’s say, to make it affordable, and to welcome more brands, and that has been achieved. And thanks to that, we have more brands now. But the compromise is a bit in the speed.”
Due to the weight, or?
“Yeah, because it’s heavier, but also less downforce. I think around 30% less downforce – around that. So these two things together, by definition, make the car slower, and also the performance of the car – the damping is much more simple – we had advanced damping systems, that was controlling the car better. So a lot of things. On average, the cars are around 6 to 10 seconds slower per lap!”
But you are already used to low-grid racing from Formula E.
“Yeah yeah – but that’s so different, that it’s still not the same, ” he finishes off with a big smile.
Porsche Penske Motorsport #6 with Andre Lotterer, Kevin Estre, and Laurens Vanthoor was 6th fastest in FP1, 10th fastest in FP2, and 8th fastest in FP3. But as always, it’s super hard to know exactly what programmes the different teams are running. Some are going for Qualifying simulation, while others are working on a race setup.
The Qualifying for the 6 Hours of Portimao will be run today at 16.25 CET, and can be followed via FIAWEC.tv as a pay stream.