Porsche 963, Porsche Penske Motorsport (#6), Kevin Estre (F), Andre Lotterer (D), Laurens Vanthoor (B)

WEC: Porsche takes its lumps after getting smoked at Le Mans

The Penske Porsche team got smoked in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and now they are crying because their main rivals sandbagged better than they did.

–by Mark Cipolloni–

Porsche was deemed as the favorite to take victory in the 92nd edition of the French endurance classic given their 2024 performance up to Le Mans.

However, in IMSA and WEC, the race officials determine who will win based on the way they impose performance penalties using what is called Balance of Power.

Therefore, the teams sandbag as much as possible to hide their true performance, so the FIA does not hammer them too hard.

“It makes me laugh, the Toyotas saying after the Test Day that if we don’t win this race, it’s because we’ve messed up. Today, they’re the ones who messed up,” Porsche polesitter Kevin Estre said after his team’s 4th place finish.

“In the end, we were flat out from the first day, and I don’t think they were. We didn’t have false hopes, we were hoping for a good race and we had it. We gave everything we had, but it wasn’t enough.”

Porsche driver Michael Christensen also suggested that Toyota and Ferrari turned up the wick during the business part of the race week, allowing them to overhaul Porsche and engage in a straight duel for the win.

“I think the others turned up the pace,” Christensen, who came home in sixth in the #5 Porsche he shared with Frederic Makowiecki and Matt Campbell, told Autosport.

“The others turned up the pace when it mattered, and we gave everything from the start.”

Porsche 963, Porsche Penske Motorsport (#5), Matt Campbell (AUS), Michael Christensen (DK), Frédéric Makowiecki (F)

Porsche motorsport boss Thomas Laudenbach said, “I can only say we went through our program in practice. We did everything. We thought it was the right thing to do and we showed we can do. If other competitors didn’t want to show everything in the practice that’s of no meaning to me.

“We do what we consider to be right and that’s our program. Yes, in the race it did look a bit different to the practice, but that’s not a problem to me.”

Porsche’s LMDh director Urs Kuratle revealed that the 963 LMDh suffered from a lack of top speed.

“We were lacking speed on the straight,” Kuratle explained to Autosport. “That’s something we need to understand where it’s coming from, from acceleration, from aero efficiency, I don’t know.

“We are not talking much, we are 2 or 3km/h [down], so that’s not really a lot. But these gaps or these differences at Le Mans are even worse. The straights are bigger than on normal racetracks. It’s something that we will analyze.”

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