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july 10, 2024 - Porsche

Brazil debut for Porsche Penske Motorsport’s 963

  • Porsche travels to round five as the manufacturers’ championship leader
  • First time in Brazil for the FIA World Endurance Championship since 2014
  • The 919 Hybrid clinched its maiden win in São Paulo a decade ago
  • Hertz Team Jota and Proton Competition field three more 963
  • Porsche customer team Manthey races in Interlagos as Le Mans class winner

Porsche Penske Motorsport is determined to defend its lead in the FIA World Endurance Championship at round five of the season. For the first time in ten years, the championship returns to race in Brazil from 12-14 July. The Autódromo José Carlos Pace in São Paulo will host the six-hour race. The works team competes with two 512 kW (696 PS) Porsche 963 racing cars. Porsche customer teams Hertz Team Jota and Proton Competition campaign three more hybrid prototypes from Weissach in the Hypercar top category. In the LMGT3 class, the Le Mans winning squad Manthey fields a pair of Porsche 911 GT3 R.Stuttgart. Porsche Penske Motorsport aims to continue its stellar performances from the first three rounds of the season in South America. The sports car manufacturer returns to Brazil with great memories: at the last WEC race in Interlagos a decade ago, the Porsche team at that time secured its first-ever win with the 919 Hybrid. The works team is now determined to achieve a similar result next weekend. Porsche tackles the race as the leader of the manufacturers’ world championship, with customer squad Hertz Team Jota and works drivers Kévin Estre from France, André Lotterer from Germany and Belgian Laurens Vanthoor at the top of the team and driver points table.
“The Formula 1 circuit in Interlagos has a special chapter in the history books of Porsche motorsport: it was there that the Porsche 919 Hybrid’s unforgettable winning streak really took off,” says Thomas Laudenbach recalling the first triumph with the LMP1 racing car that went on to win Le Mans three times. The Vice President of Porsche Motorsport adds: “I’m curious to see how well our Porsche 963 performs on the time-honoured racetrack. After the Le Mans disappointment, we underwent a thorough analysis. From now on, we again need to make full use of our cars’ potential and achieve results like those in the first three races of the year. We have one goal – to become world champions. To do this, we must score as many points as possible in Brazil.”
“All of the teams and manufacturers in the FIA WEC are heading into uncharted territory with their vehicles,” says Urs Kuratle, Director Factory Motorsport LMDh. “We can’t fall back on current data regarding tyre wear, so it’s important to learn as much as possible in the free practice sessions and quickly transfer these insights into the car setup. The track has a bit of everything: fast passages, narrow parts as well as undulating sections. I’m convinced that we’ll be a top contender for victory. I’m excited to see how the avid Brazilian motorsport fans will receive us.”
“It’s been a fairly tight turnaround between Le Mans and São Paulo but the team in Mannheim did a fantastic job of stripping and rebuilding our two Porsche 963,” says Jonathan Diuguid, Managing Director Porsche Penske Motorsport. “Some of our crew and drivers have competed at Interlagos before but essentially, it’s another new track on the calendar. This means we need to arrive refreshed and ready to make the most of the conditions faster than our rivals. We aim to extend our world championship lead in Brazil.”
The race
The Autódromo José Carlos Pace in Interlagos on the outskirts of the metropolis of São Paulo hosts the six-hour race. 40 Formula 1 Grands Prix have been contested on the 4.309-kilometre circuit since it was built in 1942. Between 2012 and 2014, the FIA World Endurance Championship held three races on the permanent racetrack, which is driven anti-clockwise.
The FIA WEC will race in São Paulo in July for the first time. While Central Europe enjoys the height of summer, South America’s Brazil is in the middle of winter. However, the average maximum temperature in Interlagos in the coldest month of the year is still a balmy 23 degrees Celsius. Statistically, the probability of rain is significantly lower than at previous events in September (2012 and 2013) and November (2014).
An overview of the Porsche teams
Hypercar (Porsche 963):

Porsche Penske Motorsport #5: Matt Campbell (AUS), Michael Christensen (DK), Frédéric Makowiecki (F)
Porsche Penske Motorsport #6: Kévin Estre (F), André Lotterer (D), Laurens Vanthoor (B)
Hertz Team Jota #12: Will Stevens (UK), Callum Ilott (UK), Norman Nato (F)
Hertz Team Jota #38: Jenson Button (UK), Phil Hanson (UK), Oliver Rasmussen (DK)
Proton Competition #99: Julien Andlauer (F), Neel Jani (CH)
LMGT3 (Porsche 911 GT3 R):
Manthey EMA #91: Yasser Shahin (AUS), Morris Schuring (NL), Richard Lietz (A)
Manthey PureRxcing #92: Alex Malykhin (UK), Joel Sturm (D), Klaus Bachler (A)
TV / Stream
The German free-TV channel Sport1 will air a live broadcast of the opening stage of the race on Sunday, 14 July from 16:15 hrs and the final phase from 20:15 hrs and offers extensive reports in the week after the event. Eurosport2 will also televise highlights from round five. The fee-based FIA WEC app offers live timing and a live stream of qualifying and the entire race.
FIA WEC standings
Drivers’ comments ahead of the race
Michael Christensen (Porsche 963 #5): 
“We’d have loved to have climbed the podium at Le Mans but unfortunately, that wasn’t to be. What’s the best way to forget disappointments? Get in the car, race again and win! This is my first São Paulo event and I’m excited. Some teams competed there ten years ago – but not with the current cars and the latest generation of tyres. What’s more, the track has changed quite a bit since then. So, we have many new things to discover. That’s good.”
André Lotterer (Porsche 963 #6):“I drove the Audi LMP1 car in São Paulo back in the early days of the FIA WEC. I won in 2013, and the year before I finished on the podium in second. It’s wonderful to go back there now. Brazil has a fantastic motor racing culture. A lot of famous drivers come from there. The fans are always upbeat. It’s great fun. I’d like to win there again – preferably next weekend with my teammates Kévin Estre and Laurens Vanthoor and the team. We want to move a step closer to the title."
Callum Ilott (Porsche 963 #12): “It’s incredibly cool to be heading down to Brazil for the next leg of the championship. Interlagos is such a special track with a long motorsport heritage. There are many passionate fans there who live and breathe motorsport. I think the race itself will be really exciting and eventful as it’s quite a tight, challenging track. Fans can look forward to some action-packed racing. I’m really looking forward to it.”
Jenson Button (Porsche 963 #38): “I’m looking forward to heading back to Interlagos. I was last there eight years ago, but I have so many happy memories of the circuit. It was there that I scored my first points in Formula 1 back in 2000 with sixth place. I also won the World Championship there in 2009 as well as my last Grand Prix in 2012. That’s what makes this place so iconic for me personally. The Brazilian fans are fantastic, and so passionate – they love their motorsport. As drivers, we really enjoy the track, it’s flowing and fast. The multi-class racing in the WEC means lots of overtaking. It’s going to be extremely challenging in a good way.”
Neel Jani (Porsche 963 #99): “I last competed in São Paulo exactly ten years ago. It was an unforgettable weekend for me and my teammates Marc Lieb and Romain Dumas in the LMP1 car. We clinched our very first victory with the Porsche 919 Hybrid. What great memories. The track has a very tight infield. Lapping slower traffic is particularly tricky there. We hope to build on our Spa-Francorchamps performance. Le Mans was less than ideal, so we aim to do better this time.”
Richard Lietz (Porsche 911 GT3 R #91): “I’m one of the drivers who know the circuit in São Paulo. This experience and the fact that we tested there a while back are invaluable. The car and the tyres come under enormous stress. And it’ll be strenuous for us drivers – partly because we’re driving anti-clockwise, which means we have more left-hand turns than usual. Our class victory at Le Mans was great, but now that we’re leading the championship, our car is loaded with a lot more BoP ballast. That makes the job in Interlagos even more difficult.”
Joel Sturm (Porsche 911 GT3 R #92): “This is my first time competing in São Paulo, but I’m certainly not alone. The track is completely new terrain for many of us. I can’t wait! After our bad luck in Le Mans, we’re not looking quite as strong in the championship as we were previously. Now we need to turn things around – ideally with another class win. We’re currently tied with our brand colleagues in first place. We’re targeting the title, so we must score as many points as possible in Brazil.”
The schedule (local time, CEST -5 hours)
Friday, 12 July

10:45 – 12:15 hrs: Free practice 1
15:15 – 16:45 hrs: Free practice 2
Saturday, 13 July
10:30 – 11:30 hrs: Free practice 3
14:30 – 14:42 hrs: Qualifying LMGT3
14:50 – 15:00 hrs: Hyperpole LMGT3
15:10 – 15:22 hrs: Qualifying Hypercar
15:30 – 15:40 hrs: Hyperpole Hypercar
Sunday, 14 July
11:30 – 17:30 hrs: Race

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