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  3. Porsche is ready for Le Mans after successful test

Porsche is ready for Le Mans after successful test

12 Jun 2024
  • How did the drivers and team principals of the Porsche 963 and Porsche 911 GT3 R teams feel about their performance and preparations during the test day at Le Mans?

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.

Stuttgart/Le Mans. 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,” said 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,” said 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.

More comments on the test day

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!”

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24 Jul 2024

The new Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR-LMH has hit the track for the first time, as Aston Martin with The Heart of Racing begins a comprehensive testing programme ahead of the British ultra-luxury sportscar brand’s bid to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans outright next year and for the first time since 1959.

The new Hypercar, developed by Aston Martin Performance Technologies and works team The Heart of Racing, completed a shakedown and initial evaluation testing in the UK this week, The car was driven by Aston Martin High Performance development driver Darren Turner (GBR), The Heart of Racing’s Mario Farnbacher (DEU) and Harry Tincknell (GBR), who won the LMGTE class of the 2020 24 Hours of Le Mans with Aston Martin.

Aston Martin with The Heart of Racing will now commence a full development schedule to prepare the car ahead of FIA homologation in the autumn and its competitive debut in early 2025. The Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR-LMH is the first racing car to be built to Hypercar regulations to contest both the FIA World Endurance Championship [WEC] and the US-based IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship [IMSA] simultaneously.

The Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR-LMH is unique in the top Hypercar class of global endurance motorsport in that it is the only one among its contemporaries to derive its roots from an existing production-based extreme performance car – Aston Martin Valkyrie, the ultimate hypercar. Works team The Heart of Racing will enter two Valkyrie AMR-LMH contenders in WEC and a single car in IMSA in 2025.

Adam Carter, Aston Martin Head of Endurance Motorsport, said: “The Valkyrie AMR-LMH sets its own standard as a thoroughbred endurance competition car. It is a pure, leading edge racing machine, and while it is very early in the testing cycle, from what we have witnessed so far, we are satisfied that it is achieving the targets and criteria we have set out for it to accomplish.”

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