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Porsche LMP1 Reflections: Andre Lotterer

Andre Lotterer looks back at his brief stint with Porsche and the brand’s perspective while at rival Audi…

Photo: Porsche

We take a look back at some of the key moments in Porsche’s four-year run with the 919 Hybrid through the eyes of those involved with the championship-winning program. Next up is Porsche newcomer Andre Lotterer.

While having only recently joined its LMP1 program, Andre Lotterer has years of memories of racing against Porsche, while as part of the ultra-successful Audi squad in the FIA World Endurance Championship.

The three-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner and 2012 World Drivers’ Champion made the switch to the sister Volkswagen Group brand this year, in what’s been a learning experience in the Porsche 919 Hybrid.

“It’s been really interesting to jump in here,” Lotterer told Sportscar365. “At the beginning, it was a bit difficult with the low downforce package and the driving style.

“You would think that these cars are similar to drive but they’re completely the opposite, so it took some adapting.

“At the beginning, I wasn’t enjoying it that much but from Le Mans, it was alright. With the high downforce package, it started to be a lot of fun and the car came more alive for me.

“I remember at the Nürburgring it was an awesome qualifying lap and I enjoyed it a lot.

“All of the WEC tracks have been quite fun to drive and it’s a really impressive operation that Porsche runs and it’s very efficient and everything.

“It’s what I wanted so I’m just sad that it was only for one year because for sure, I’d like to have been there for a couple more years.”

While Lotterer has one final chance in this weekend’s season-ending Six Hours of Bahrain to become a race-winner in Porsche’s soon-to-be defunct LMP1 operation, he admits the program kept Audi on its toes during a series of epic battles between the two manufacturers for three years.

“They were super impressive in 2014 when they came with the drivetrain that was so far ahead of everyone else,” he said. “They really had the lead and they’re still using the same one.

“We were always trying to catch up because we had a really good car in the corners with the Audi but in 2014 we only had 2MJ and in 2015 it was 4MJ. They were flying by on the straights so that was crazy impressive.

“It was frustrating for us but that was the most impressive thing that Porsche did, entering this championship.”

Lotterer’s biggest takeaway, however, has been the memories achieved through the entire LMP1 hybrid era, having been part of it from the start.

“I think it was really special with three manufacturers putting in so much budget and enthusiasm in those cars and building them from A to Z,” he said.

“It requires a lot of resources and people because most teams have between 250 and 350 people working on it so it’s a beautiful operation when you think about the sport and all of the engineers enjoying themselves.

“Also with the marketing department with what Audi did, we really felt part of the brand and running the spirit of endurance racing with our teammates.

“Everything was great and on top of that, the cars were super fast and the battles were great.

“I think it’s going to be a racing era that we will always speak about, a bit like Group C back in the day, that everyone loved. That will always remain and I’m pretty proud that I was there from the beginning.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

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