Sebastian Vettel Confirms Porsche 963 Le Mans Hypercar Test Next Week

This comes after Vettel was linked to a ride with Team Jota last year.

byAdam Ismail|
Racing photo


When four-time Formula 1 champion Sebastian Vettel hung up his suit in 2022 at the age of 34, fans were disappointed, if not surprised. Disappointed because Seb was always one of the shining stars among F1's elite, even if he found considerably less success later in his grand prix career; unsurprised because, well, everyone reaches their limit of frustration eventually. The hope was that we'd see Vettel on track again in short order, and we may just get our wish this year. Vettel will test Porsche's 963 Le Mans hypercar in the coming days, at Motorland Aragón in Spain. What comes after that? We'll just have to wait and see.

Vettel says he already got "a feel for the car during a rollout in Weissach" in Porsche's announcement, but this will be his first serious run in a prototype. It will follow "extensive time in a simulator," in the manufacturer's words, in preparation for the test.

"I’ve always followed other racing series and my curiosity for endurance events encouraged me to just give it a shot," Vettel is quoted in the release. "Now I’m excited about the long run in Aragon and I’m looking forward to my time behind the wheel. It’ll definitely take an adjustment and some getting used to but everyone in the team is very open and helps me. 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."

Indeed, it's too early to say where this test will lead. Vettel hasn't yet committed to any entry with Porsche—at least not publicly—though the Jota team did confirm it'd spoken with the superstar driver last fall about potentially working together. Should that or any World Endurance Championship participation come to pass, let alone a Le Mans effort, a test in the real deal is the first step.

As Porsche notes, the 963 is completely unlike anything Vettel's ever driven in his racing career, which has consisted entirely of open-wheel cars. Hell—the last time he drove anything in anger, in front of a crowd, that had a roof was at the Race of Champions. Last week he met with the Porsche Penske crew in Manheim, Germany, before hopping in the simulator the very next day and getting some explainers on the machine. The sampling at Porsche's Weissach proving grounds was only yesterday, March 21, so this is still obviously all very fresh for the driver.

Last week, a 963 finished third at the 12 Hours of Sebring, at the hands of Dane Cameron, Felipe Nasr, and Matt Campbell.

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