Sebastian Vettel comeback? Four-time F1 World Champion carrying out testing in Spain

Thomas Maher
Sebastian Vettel, Porsche 963.

Sebastian Vettel will take part in a long test at the wheel of the Porsche 963

Sebastian Vettel is taking part in some testing at the wheel of Porsche’s 963 hypercar following an introductory drive.

In the week following the Australian Grand Prix, Sebastian Vettel will carry out extensive testing at the wheel of Porsche’s 963 hypercar at Motorland Aragon, having already carried out sim preparation and a test track roll-out.

Sebastian Vettel preparing for Porsche test

The Porsche Penske Motorsport team has confirmed that Vettel, the four-time F1 World Champion who retired at the end of 2022, will test the Porsche 963 hypercar this coming week at Spain’s Motorland Aragon.

With the team ramping up for its entry into the Le Mans 24 Hours with a 36-hour long test at the circuit, Vettel is set to take part in the test with the 500kW machine.

The German driver, winner of 53 Grands Prix during his time in F1, has already driven the car at Porsche’s test track at their research and development centre in Weissach, Germany.

Vettel has never driven a hypercar prototype, the top class of the endurance racing categories IMSA and WEC, and he’s understandably excited about getting the chance to do so.

“I’m looking forward to testing the Porsche 963. I already got the chance to get a feel for the car during a rollout in Weissach,” Vettel said.

“I’ve always followed other racing series and my curiosity for endurance events encouraged me to just give it a shot. Now I’m excited about the long run in Aragon and I’m looking forward to my time behind the wheel. It’ll definitely take an adjustment and some getting used to but everyone on the team is very open and helps me. This will be a new experience for me.”

But it’s too early to say whether or not Vettel will actually make a return to motorsport competitively, although the German has never ruled it out. Porsche will run three 963s in this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours, two of which have their driver line-ups confirmed.

However, the third car still has two driver spaces free.

“We will then see what happens next in this respect,” he said.

“At the moment, there are no further plans for the future.”

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Vettel met with the operations crew from Porsche at their facility in Mannheim on the 14th March, before putting in a long simulator session on the following day to get familiar with the control systems of the Le Mans car.

On Thursday, Vettel drove the Porsche 963 at the test track, and now joins the test line-up for Porsche in Spain next week – the 36 hours of driving focusing on preparations for the Le Mans 24 Hours at the Circuit de la Sarthe in France.

Joining him are Porsche works drivers Matt Campbell, Michael Christensen, Frederic Makowiecki, Kevin Estre, Andre Lotterer and Laurens Vanthoor.

“We’re delighted that Sebastian Vettel is interested in our Porsche 963,” said Thomas Laudenbach, Vice President of Porsche Motorsport.

“There was no question for us that we’d be thrilled to support his request for an opportunity to test and provide him with extensive preparation and plenty of time to drive our hybrid prototype – there’s no doubt we’ll learn a lot from his valuable feedback. Our 36-hour long run with Porsche Penske Motorsport and our works drivers at Motorland Aragón offers a perfect environment for this.”

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