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Porsche: Situation “Wasn’t Right” for Vettel Le Mans Drive

Porsche LMDh boss Urs Kuratle on why Sebastian Vettel won’t represent marque at Le Mans after testing 963…

Photo: Porsche

Porsche’s LMDh factory director Urs Kuratle says that the “situation was just not right” for Formula 1 champion Sebastian Vettel to race for the German manufacturer in this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The reveal of the final entry list for the FIA World Endurance Championship centerpiece race on Monday confirmed that Vettel will not be a part of Porsche’s lineup for its No. 4 car, despite his much-publicised test in a 963 at Motorland Aragon in March.

Porsche suggested in the wake of that test that Vettel, who turned 118 laps of the Spanish track, was a serious consideration for a slot in its third Hypercar entry at Le Mans.

However, finally it was decided that Mathieu Jaminet, who was the only driver previously nominated for the No. 4 car, would be partnered by Porsche IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship regulars Nick Tandy and Felipe Nasr.

Explaining why Vettel was not finally selected for a drive, Kuratle hinted that a lack of opportunities for further testing for the 36-year-old was a factor.

“We had discussions and it didn’t work for this year’s Le Mans for some reasons and that’s it,” Kuratle told reporters at Spa.

“It’s partly how you can prepare it, and it didn’t come together. The time in the car would have been limited, and there’s not much more we could have done with the test ban we have.

“I’m not blaming the test ban, but in the situation we are in, we are not able to have a third car here [at Spa] for example like we used to in the past. The situation was just not right.”

Asked whether Vettel could feature in Porsche’s plans again in the future, Kuratle replied: “It could be.

“The book is not closed, but it’s also not defined how it continues.”

Kuratle clarified that there are currently further no plans for Vettel to drive the 963, adding: “It’s not because we don’t want, or he doesn’t want, simply because the discussions have not been done.”

No. 4 Lineup Decision Both “Easy and Difficult”

Kuratle described the decision to reprise last year’s lineup from what was then the No. 75 Porsche of Jaminet, Tandy and Nasr as both “easy” and “difficult.”

The “difficult” part, he explained, was deciding which of the four Porsche IMSA full-timers not to use, with Dane Cameron being named as the marque’s reserve driver for Le Mans.

Cameron was part of Porsche’s full-time WEC roster in 2023, with Matt Campbell having served as the reserve at Le Mans.

“The easy bit is that we have four of the best drivers in the U.S. in the IMSA team, and to bring those guys over to Le Mans is a no-brainer,” said Kuratle. “That car, with these guys, will be one of the best driver lineups in the whole pitlane.

“The not-easy part is to decide who is not driving, because we have 10 drivers [across both the WEC and IMSA rosters] but we only need nine.

“You have to announce who is the one not driving, and all 10 have the experience and the possibility to perform really well at Le Mans. That was the difficult part.

“But, at the end of the day, we are not expecting a Nobel Prize for this decision. Don’t forget with Felipe we have a Daytona winner, and with Tandy we have a Le Mans winner [in 2015] already.”

Jamie Klein is Sportscar365's Asian editor. Japan-based Klein, who previously worked for Motorsport Network on the Motorsport.cоm and Autosport titles, covers the FIA World Endurance Championship and SUPER GT, among other series.

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