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Kevin Estre (France)
A bit of jingoism doesn’t hurt. Let’s start this round table with one of the two Frenchmen hired by the Porsche Penske Motorsport (PPM) within the LMDh program. The Lyonnais has spent most of his career aboard cars from Zuffenhausen (Germany) since focusing on Grand Touring in 2008.
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Winner of the Porsche Carrera Cup France in 2011, Kévin Estre repeated the same performance in the German version, and failed to beat the specialists of the Porsche Supercup in 2013. Spent two years in the McLaren GT clan between 2014 and 2016, he then entered the official Porsche GT lap. It was on board the extravagant Porsche 911 RSR that he gleaned his WEC reference stripes in GTE Pro, winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2018 in the legendary “Pink Pig” livery with Laurens Vanthoor and Michael Christensen , two men he will meet again in 2023 in Hypercar.
Kevin Estre has established himself in the space of half a decade as one of the benchmarks of GT racing, signing remarkable victories at the 24 Hours of Nürburgring (2021), 24 Hours of Spa (2019) and some more than daring overtaking (see below). However, his only experience with a prototype dates back to the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans, where he retired in an Oak Racing Ligier JSP2 with Laurens Vanthoor and Chris Cumming.
Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium)
Make the list of the drivers specializing in GT having had the best track record of the last 10 years and you should come across the 31-year-old Belgian. Seeing that his future in promotion formulas was blocked, Laurens Vanthoor passed brilliantly in the FIA GT Series, winning the title with Team WRT (Audi) in his second year of presence in 2013.
Winner of the Blancpain Endurance Series a year later, the French-speaking man took the lead with the Rings brand with two crowns in the Intercontinental GT Challenge and the FIA GT World Cup in the winding streets of Macau in 2016. The Porsche GT Team then gave him sweet eyes and entered it in 2017. The 911 RSR and its deafening noise took him to the top step of the podium at Le Mans in 2018, then in IMSA in the GTLM class in 2019 against Corvette, BMW or Ferrari.
GTD champion still in IMSA in the United States in 2021, Laurens Vanthoor recently distinguished himself in a bitter battle against Mathieu Jaminet at the 2022 24 Hours of Daytona. He is a guy who will not give up on the track with the LMDh!
Michael Christensen (Denmark)
The third man to benefit from a sacred promotion is a faithful sidekick of the Estre-Vanthoor duo. Like the two men mentioned above, the Dane rose through the GT ranks once his career in the GP3 Series ended in 2010.
Entering the program dedicated to young drivers in 2012, Michael Christensen experienced his finest career moments sharing the wheel with Kévin Estre and Laurens Vanthoor (Le Mans 2018, Spa 2019 with Estre and Richard Lietz, Nürburgring 2021). He also triumphed at the 24 Hours of Daytona (in GTLM) and the 12 Hours of Sebring (in GTD). In Grand Touring, it therefore lacks no major Endurance race on the list! This program finally comes to sanction the taste for self-sacrifice and patience for Michael Christensen, who had to be satisfied with a partial season in 2021 in the WEC.
Mathieu Jaminet (France)
His test drive in Team Penske’s No. 5 Oreca 07 during the Le Mans 24 Hours Test Day when he was not in the line-up for the race therefore had a different meaning.
The French driver also joins the Porsche Penske Motorsport program. Driver of the German firm since 2019, the native of Hayange has shone several times with the 911 RSR, especially in the United States. In IMSA, the Habs distinguished themselves above all by winning Sebring in 2021 and the 24 Hours of Daytona last January, after an intense fight against… Laurens Vanthoor.
Matt Campbell (Australia)
Another Porsche GT specialist, Matt Campbell, will also be part of the Porsche Penske Motorsport adventure. A regular at WEC and Le Mans since 2018 with Proton Racing, the man who also won the 12 Hours of Bathurst in 2019 finds Mathieu Jaminet and Felipe Nasr in this program, two drivers with whom he won the 24 Hours of Daytona in January at Pfaff Motorsports.
André Lotterer (Germany)
Of the seven drivers confirmed for 2023, only the French-speaking driver has experienced the insane battles of the hybrid LM P1 era, first with Audi, then with Porsche. André Lotterer has statistics worthy of a team leader in the Sarthe thanks to his three victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with Audi (the legendary 2011 edition, then 2012 and 2014).
Left on the floor by the stoppage of the Porsche 919 at the end of 2017, André Lotterer agreed to evolve a notch below with Rebellion with a non-hybrid LM P1 for two years, finishing the 2018-19 season in fifth place behind the unbeatable Toyotas.
Converted to electric with Formula E, it is in this discipline that this lover of old cars is “recovered” by Porsche in 2019. Seventh after the Jakarta ePrix, André Lotterer was only waiting for an opportunity to dive back into Endurance, a sport for which his passion has never disappeared. In 2023, he will be the team’s veteran (he will turn 41 on November 19).
Dane Cameron (USA)
The American was confirmed last winter as an official Porsche representative. At 33, Dane Cameron has spent most of his career across the Atlantic, winning the DPi class in IMSA 2016 and 2019.
It was in the United States that Dane Cameron made contact with Team Penske, responsible for entering two Acura DPi between 2017 and 2020. In 2019, his association with the experienced Juan Pablo Montoya had enabled him to win the championship. He has a solid technical knowledge transmitted by his father Rick Cameron, a track engineer with 40 years of experience. In 2022, he discovered the WEC circuits with Team Penske in LM P2 with Felipe Nasr and Emmanuel Collard.
Felipe Nasr (Brazil)
His time in Formula 1 was brief but enough for Felipe Nasr to be known to the general European public for his performances with Sauber in 2015 and 2016. Seven finishes in the top 10 later, the native of Brasilia turned away from single-seaters to join IMSA and DPi prototypes.
The transition to Endurance was successful, with a title in his first full campaign in 2018 with Acura and Action Express Racing. Associated with his compatriot Pipo Derani (now Glickenhaus driver) and Eric Curran, Felipe Nasr pocketed the 12 Hours of Sebring as well as Petit Le Mans, two of the most prestigious events of the American season.
Defeated by his new teammate Dane Cameron in 2019, Felipe Nasr took his revenge in an authoritarian way in 2021, signing four victories and eight podiums in 11 rounds in DPi.
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Other pilot announcements, including those for the endurance races at Daytona, Sebring and Road Atlanta (Petit Le Mans), will be made at a later date.