Porsche’s North American-based factory team is “more prepared” for its second outing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans according to team manager Michael Harvey, who is hoping to continue the team’s string of recent success from the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
The CORE autosport-run squad, which again forms half of the German manufacturer’s four-car works GTE-Pro effort, has returned with a largely unchanged operation, apart from several new crew and a revised driver lineup in its second car.
Porsche Young Professionals Matthieu Jaminet and Dennis Olsen, both set for their Le Mans debuts, have replaced veterans Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas in the No. 94 Porsche 911 RSR alongside the returning Sven Mueller.
Harvey feels they’ve been able to learn a lot from the team’s maiden run, which saw unexpected issues from both of its cars.
“We’re definitely more prepared and have a better understanding of what it takes to so it,” Harvey told Sportscar365. “Culturally, it’s much easier for the guys and everything. Now they know what to expect.
“Last year seemed like a mountain and this year seems like a hill [to climb].
“We learned a lot of lessons last year and have enacted on them this year. The crew has done a great job and we’re ready to go.”
The No. 94 entry encountered a challenging event last year, with an accident by Mueller in qualifying forcing the team to revert to a spare chassis, prior to a race-ending accident.
CORE’s No. 93 Porsche of Nick Tandy, Earl Bamber and Patrick Pilet, meanwhile, was delayed with an alternator issue in the race, dashing hopes of a representative result for the American operation, in a race that saw the Manthey-run cars finish 1-2 in class.
“I don’t want to say there are some things that were out of our control, but they were,” Harvey said. “Random things go wrong at any point of time.
“There’s only so much preparation you can do. That’s why it’s racing.”
Twelve months later, and on the heels of three consecutive class wins in WeatherTech Championship competition, Harvey has high hopes for the weekend.
“We’ve had a lot of success and have won a lot of races [this year],” he said. “And we haven’t been the fastest car.
“We’re focused on doing exactly the same thing we’ve been doing for the last three races in IMSA here. Then we’re really focused on what we’re doing when we get back, to continue at Watkins Glen and Mosport.”
Harvey: CORE Enjoying “Really Strong” Integration With Manthey
The level of cooperation between the two Porsche factory teams has continued to be “really strong” according to Harvey, who has praised the Manthey-run WEC operation and the general level of teamwork.
The two teams have again joined forces this weekend in a near-identical operation to last year, in the sharing of technical and engineering resources.
“Since we started having a stronger build with them 18 months ago, it’s been nothing but a pleasure,” Harvey said.
“They do a lot of work for this event. We did a little bit for Sebring, when they came over. They worked in our shop.
“Apart from the fact we don’t work under the same roof, we really are the same team.
“All of our guys get on with their guys, even outside of this event. It’s really interesting to see how that interaction works.”