Sebastian Vettel completes successful test in the Porsche 963

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Four-time world champion Sebastian Vettel has completed a successful test session with Porsche as the German ponders about the possibility of joining the German manufacturer in the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans this June.

The former Ferrari driver completed 581km in Porsche Penske Motorsport’s 963 Hypercar during the test at Aragon on Tuesday. The German left Formula One at the end of the 2022 season, and has not performed any competitive runs behind the wheel of a race car since, meaning that the test session with Porsche marked his first motorsport outing since he called time on his F1 career.

Vettel has prepared the test with Porsche by having made a visit to to the FIA WEC team at the Porsche Penske Motorsport facility in Mannheim. The Heppenheim native completed an extensive simulator session at the Porsche Motorsport Centre in Flacht in order to familiarise himself with the special features and complex controls of the Le Mans race car.

A week later, Vettel completed his first familiarisation kilometres with the Porsche 963 on the in-house test track at the Weissach Development Centre.

The Aragon test session took place in dry weather with tarmac temperatures between 20 and 25 degrees Celsius and 10 to 13 degrees cool air with the F1 champion having completed almost two Grand Prix distances without any real problems.

Commenting on his long day behind the wheel of the Porsche 963, Vettel added: "Of course, I also keep an eye on other motorsport disciplines and know many drivers who are active in the WEC and Le Mans. 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."

Expanding on Vettel's run, Managing Director of Porsche Penske Motorsport, 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. 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 is reported to be in talks with Porsche about a possible race outing in this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans. Speaking about this opportunity, the German said: "I was curious how these cars behave, and that was the reason for the test. It was a very nice experience, I enjoyed it a lot, I had a lot of fun."

"Now I need to think and decide, and make my mind up what I maybe want to do in terms of racing in the future. But I don't know yet."