Sebastian Vettel Is Testing a Le Mans Porsche

sebastian vettel tests a porsche 963
Sebastian Vettel Is Testing a Le Mans PorscheGruppe C Photography

Four-time Formula 1 world champion Sebastian Vettel has been retired for just over a year, but he is a mere 36 years old and his time in race cars might not be done. Today, Porsche has announced that the former Red Bull ace is joining the group's Penske Porsche Motorsports 963 program for a 36-hour test in Spain.

It will be Vettel's second time behind the wheel of a Porsche 963, following a brief run at the brand's test track in Weissach to get familiar with the car. The second, formal test should put the F1 legend behind the wheel for extended hours as the team builds the 963's endurance ahead of its fourth 24 hour race. While the test is not necessarily a precursor to Vettel joining the team at Le Mans, it is a natural first step in progression toward that dream. Until then, he says in a quote shared by Porsche that "at the moment there are no further plans for the future.”

This is not the first time that Vettel has been linked to a Porsche 963 drive. Last year, he addressed rumors that he would join another Porsche WEC team, Jota, for the 2024 season. That customer Jota team has since rolled out a six-driver, two-car lineup without Vettel, although his fellow former F1 champion Jenson Button does run in one of the team's cars.

If Vettel does join Porsche's 963 program, it would most likely be in a future season. The Porsche Penske factory team still has two open seats for this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans, but team leaders told Road & Track earlier this month that those opportunities are expected to be offered to the brand's full-time IMSA drivers. Seven other Porsche factory drivers are already confirmed over the team's three-car entry.

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