Vettel in talks with Jota Porsche team about 2024 WEC drive

Four-time Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel is in talks with the Jota Porsche team about making a return to the cockpit in the World Endurance Championship next season.

Sebastian Vettel

Jota team principal Sam Hignett confirmed to Autosport that the British operation has approached Vettel about joining its expanded two-car Hypercar class assault on the WEC in 2024 with a pair of Porsche 963 LMDh prototypes.

Hignett stressed that discussions with the German about a WEC drive and an attack on the Le Mans 24 Hours remain at an early stage and that no deal has been done.

“We are speaking to Seb, there are discussions, but nothing is done,” he said.

“There isn’t any kind of contract signed and he certainly hasn’t tested one of our cars.”

Vettel, who called time on his F1 career at the end of 2022, has refused to rule out the possibility of some kind of comeback.

He declared that he remained race fit earlier this month and said over the course of a visit to Suzuka for last weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix that he misses “the amazing feeling” of driving an F1 car.

But he poured cold water on a return to F1 in the short-term.

#38 Hertz Team JOTA Porsche 963 : Antonio Felix Da Costa, Will Stevens, Yifei Ye

#38 Hertz Team JOTA Porsche 963 : Antonio Felix Da Costa, Will Stevens, Yifei Ye

Photo by: Paolo Belletti

Asked if he was considering a comeback, he said: “Not for now: F1 was the centre to my life for so long, but once you step out, you realise even more how big the rest of the world is, and how small in a way F1 is.”

Jota has made it clear that it is in a position to pick and chose the line-up for its second 963 and that it does not require funded drivers.

The second car, like the first, will be backed by car hire giant Hertz in whose distinctive gold colours it races.

Hignett alluded to the environmental credentials of Jota as being part of its pitch to Vettel, who unveiled a number of bee hotels at Suzuka as part of his ambassadorial role with the BeesandApple environmental project.

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“Sustainability is important to us as a team, which is why our hospitality unit at Le Mans was solar powered,” he said.

“We know that is important to Seb as well.”

Hignett revealed that Jota has a “long list of drivers” as it looks to put its two-car Hypercar assault together for next year.

“We are speaking to a lot of people, some who are high up on the list and some others who aren’t so high,” he said.

It is known that another F1 world champion in Jenson Button is on the list, while Hignett again confirmed that Robert Kubica, who is racing in the WEC in P2 with WRT this year, is in discussions with the team.

Jota, a three-time LMP2 class winner at Le Mans, returned to the top flight of sportscar racing this season with the first customer 963 to race in the WEC.

It has never made any secret of its plan to run two Porsches next year and confirmed earlier this month that it already has a second car on order for 2024.

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