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Vettel logs 581km in “definitely fun” Aragon Porsche 963 test

Four-time Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel completed almost two grand prix distances over four stints in Porsche Penske Motorsport's 963 hypercar in testing at Aragon.

Sebastian Vettel, Porsche 963

Porsche Motorsport

Vettel, the 53-time Formula 1 race winner, had previously driven PPM’s simulator in Flacht in Germany before a brief run at Porsche’s fabled Weissach test track on 21 March.

In fair weather conditions at Aragon in Spain today, the 36-year-old completed 118 laps over four stints behind the wheel.

"Of course, I also keep an eye on other motorsport disciplines and know many drivers who are active in the WEC and Le Mans,” said Vettel. “At some point, my curiosity was so great that I had the idea of trying it out myself.

“Porsche gave me the opportunity to test a current hypercar with the 963. After the seat adjustment, the simulator session and the roll-out in Weissach, I already had a good feeling.

“Driving the Porsche 963 on the track here in Aragon – that was definitely fun. I first had to get used to everything and find my rhythm. The driving experience is different simply because of the roof over your head, as well as dealing with the higher weight and the tyres.

“The Porsche works drivers were very helpful and explained to me what was special and what I needed to get used to. That made it easy for me.”

Sebastian Vettel, Porsche 963

Sebastian Vettel, Porsche 963

Photo by: Porsche Motorsport

Vettel, who called time on his F1 career at the end of 2022, is known to have been in preliminary talks with Porsche customer team Jota last year over driving one of its 963 prototypes in the World Endurance Championship.

And while sportscar racing appears to be an option that piques Vettel's interest, the German stressed he has “no further plans” as things stand.

The Porsche Penske Motorsport works team has won both the season opener of the IMSA SportsCar Championship, the Daytona 24 Hours, and this year's first WEC race in Qatar.

Later this year, Porsche is aiming for its record-extending 20th overall victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Sebastian Vettel, Porsche 963

Sebastian Vettel, Porsche 963

Photo by: Porsche Motorsport

Speaking about his team’s long distance test, PPM’s managing director Jonathan Diuguid said: “Aragon is one of the few places in Europe where we can run around the clock and gives us an opportunity to run 36 hours straight in preparation for Le Mans. The quite long back straight that gives us the top speed of more than 300 km/h we see on the Circuit des 24 Heures.

“Having Sebastian Vettel here is a unique opportunity for the team. He is a four-time Formula 1 world champion. He has massive experience with hybrid systems and high performance racing cars.

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“Having his fresh unique perspective on where the car is and gives feedback on our systems and performances is a unique opportunity. We are happy to have him here.

“He came out of the car with a smile which is all good."

Vettel was joined in the test by regular WEC drivers Matt Campbell, Michael Christensen, Frederic Makowiecki, Kevin Estre, Andre Lotterer and Laurens Vanthoor – along with reigning DTM champion Thomas Preining.

Watch: BrrrakeF1 - Under the Skin of Endurance Racing's Advanced Tech

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