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Da Costa “Pushing” for Porsche 963 Drive with JOTA

Porsche Formula E recruit Antonio Felix da Costa aiming for WEC again next year with JOTA…

Photo: Porsche

Newly signed Porsche Formula E factory driver Antonio Felix da Costa says that he and JOTA are “pushing” to continue working together next year, for when the team starts running a Porsche 963 in the FIA World Endurance Championship.

Da Costa, who currently leads the WEC LMP2 standings alongside his JOTA co-drivers Roberto Gonzalez and Will Stevens, is hoping to stay with the British squad for its graduation to the top prototype class next season with a Hertz-backed Porsche LMDh.

Earlier this week da Costa was announced by Porsche as one of its factory drivers in the 2023 ABB FIA Formula E World Championship, transferring from DS Techeetah.

The Portuguese ace is no stranger to balancing Formula E and WEC commitments but acknowledged that it would be difficult to combine two factory programs with Porsche in the same year.

Instead, he has indicated a desire to remain with JOTA for when the reigning 24 Hours of Le Mans LMP2 class winner goes up against Porsche Penske Motorsport and factory teams from other LMDh and LMH manufacturers with its privateer program.

“My intentions are to be in the WEC next year as well [as Formula E],” he said.

“Obviously I don’t think it’s possible to be, or I think it’s very difficult to be, factory-factory.

“So I don’t think it’s possible for me to integrate into the factory team there [at Porsche] and I wouldn’t want to because one of the programs needs to be slightly compromised.

“I don’t want to compromise Formula E because it does really require the extra work: the simulator, the traveling early – most races are flyaways – so it does really require the extra attention of the athlete, of the driver, to be in his full form.”

Da Costa suggested that a full season in the WEC, particularly with a privateer team, requires less of that “extra attention” due to the championship’s different demands.

He previously balanced factory WEC and Formula E drives with the same manufacturer in 2018-19 when he drove for BMW, however only three of the eight WEC rounds fell within the Formula E calendar.

“I think in WEC it’s different,” da Costa said. “Not that it requires less work or talent or whatever, it’s just a little bit different.

“First of all, you’re sharing the car with two other guys. One of the drivers will always be a tier one in that weekend, the quali driver… a lot of attention needs to go to the quali driver.

“When you’re just mid-stint driver for that weekend, at least in JOTA this is how we do things, you just need to be there.

“Obviously you do your job properly, drive the car fast, no mistakes and bring the car back for the guy that starts and ends, to be able to really perform.”

While parallel factory drives appear to be out of the question for next year, da Costa is keen to maintain a dual program that is similar to what he has recently done with JOTA and DS Techeetah.

Next season’s WEC schedule has not been released, however the Jakarta E-Prix falls on the confirmed Le Mans test day weekend. There is also a Formule E round set for one week before the planned season-opener at Sebring, which is typically used for testing.

“I want to be there, first of all for my love of racing,” da Costa said of the WEC.

“I am a racing driver; I want to be in a racing car every weekend if I can. I know this worries my bosses with my resting time, but I’m 30 years old I’m not married I don’t have kids, I’m a racing addict and I want to be racing as much as I can.

“With clashes, it looks like it’s OK. If it does happen with JOTA which is what we’re pushing for, JOTA has given me the freedom to fully focus on Formula E and compromise on missing a couple of tests or whatever it might be.

“At the moment it looks like the Prologue and the Le Mans test have to be skipped.

“I don’t see a huge problem with that if I’m honest, and if it does still give me the opportunity to be racing a double world championship in the top-class next year for both of them and having a chance to win overall fights, then it’s what I want to do.

“Now we need to obviously finalize the last details to make everything happen. But I believe, my wish is to do that so I hope that we can find a way to make it work.”

Sam Smith contributed to this report

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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