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Vanthoor: Porsche’s Season ‘Exceeding Expectations’

Laurens Vanthoor on Porsche Penske Motorsport’s uptick in form in FIA WEC…

Photo: Julien Delfosse/DPPI

Laurens Vanthoor reckons Porsche Penske Motorsport’s push for improvement in the FIA World Endurance Championship over the preceding twelve months is “paying off,” with the Belgian adding that the team’s season is so far ‘exceeding expectations.’

Vanthoor, Kevin Estre and Laurens Vanthoor arrive at Spa-Francorchamps leading the Hypercar standings, enjoying a 16-point cushion over the No. 7 Toyota GR010 Hybrid thanks to victory at Qatar and a second-place finish in Imola.

In addition to a strong position in the drivers’ standings, Porsche also heads the manufacturers’ standings ahead of Toyota and Ferrari.

The German manufacturer has enjoyed a significant upswing in form compared to its debut season in the Hypercar category, when the No. 6 Porsche 963 finished sixth in the standings with a pair of third places at Portimao and Fuji the highlights of its campaign.

Asked if he believes Porsche’s performance so far this season has met expectations, Vanthoor replied: “I would say exceeding. But in the end also it’s the reward of what we’ve been working for last year and in the winter.

“I think we’ve put a lot of effort in and made a lot of changes or improvements and it’s paying off now.

“I always said that these two names, Porsche Penske, [if] with that we’re not fighting for wins and championships, I don’t know what’s going wrong.

“We just [needed] a year of time to get everything sorted, which is probably kind of normal.

“It’s still a very long year but so far we’ve shown that at both races we were there. And hopefully we can continue that trend here and especially at Le Mans.”

Vanthoor remains level-headed about Porsche’s position in the championship, noting that the objective is to keep scoring points consistently.

“Whenever you want to fight for a championship that’s the mindset you have to do,” he said.

“Last year that wasn’t really the case because we were never in the fight for it, so we were more trying single races for sure.”

He added that a big focus on championship position is “irrelevant at this point,” with less than half the races on the schedule completed.

“But scoring points consistently is the only way, with such a big field, to be able to fight for a championship,” Vanthoor said.

The six-hour race at Spa is the final stop prior to next month’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, where 50 points will be on offer.

Even considering the big impact that Le Mans will play on the championship, Vanthoor refuted the notion that Spa will play an important role to get into the best position possible for the French endurance classic.

“I more just consider it as a race in the championship,” he said.

“Not thinking that Le Mans is next. We obviously want to score the maximum amount of points. Win the race if we can for sure, by being smart.

“But I’m not thinking that Le Mans is the next race. A lot of people also ask is this like the general repetition for Le Mans.

“I don’t see any characteristic resemblances with Le Mans on Spa. So yeah, it’s just another race and the next race is Le Mans but it’s two different things.”

Davey Euwema is Sportscar365's European Editor. Based in The Netherlands, Euwema covers the FIA World Endurance Championship, European Le Mans Series and Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS, among other series.

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