WeatherTech Porsche lacking top speed compared to works cars

Porsche privateer WeatherTech Racing "has a lot of work to do" to address its speed deficit to the factory cars at the Le Mans 24 Hours test, says Cooper MacNeil.

#79 Weathertech Racing Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE Pro, Cooper MacNeil, Earl Bamber, Laurens Vanthoor

Porsche locked out the top three places in the GTE Pro class on Sunday, with works driver Kevin Estre laying down the benchmark of 3m52.901s in the #92 car in the morning session – just 0.003s up on team-mate Gianmaria Bruni's #91 RSR-19.

The afternoon session was headed by WeatherTech's Earl Bamber, whose 3m52.938s lap moved up the Proton-run entry up to third for the day ahead of the two factory Ferraris.

That was despite the WeatherTech machine recording a maximum speed of 295.6km/h (183.7mph) during the day’s running, making it the second-slowest car in the class and 3.2km/h (2mph) slower than both of the works Porsches.

MacNeil, who is sharing the WeatherTech Porsche with Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor, conceded that the car “is in good shape”, but said the team will be focusing on closing this gap when running resumes with opening practice and first qualifying on Wednesday.

“We definitely have a lot of work to do,” said MacNeil, who is new to the latest-spec Porsche this season after racing a Ferrari last year.

“With this place being as fast as it is, we need as much straight-line speed as we can get.

“We’re at a bit of a deficit right now compared to some of the other Porsches. We are looking for a little more top speed in the car as well as fine tuning the balance.”

Cooper MacNeil, Weathertech Racing

Cooper MacNeil, Weathertech Racing

Photo by: Marc Fleury

Porsche is looking to rebound from a bruising debut at Le Mans last year for the RSR-19 that debuted in the 2019-20 WEC that began at Silverstone in September 2019.

The Weissach brand’s head of WEC operations Alexander Stehlig reported that the test day “went well” for Porsche, noting the unusually high grip on offer during a hot day at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

Pacesetter Estre echoed those sentiments, saying: “Compared to previous years, the track was very clean with good grip. We managed to start work on the setup very early – and that’s generally not the case.

“Our Porsche felt really good from the get-go and we quickly got up to speed. Still, we went through our checklist and found a few things. We now have a lot of data to analyse and discuss.

“It’s always difficult to know what the competition is doing, but we’ll concentrate on our own business. We’re pleased because we’ve learned a lot and we were always up with the play in terms of balance and lap times.”

The other non-factory Porsche in the GTE Pro class, the RSR-19 entered by HubAuto Racing, was sixth-fastest thanks to a 3m53.221s posted by Vanthoor’s younger brother Dries in the afternoon session.

Porsche likewise topped the times in GTE Am as last-minute signing Harry Tincknell logged a best effort of 3m54.472s at the wheel of the #99 Proton Competition car.

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