Countdown to Sebring! Lotterer: "It's going to be a great era"
He’s one of the great modern day endurance racers with a glittering record that includes a trio of 24 Hours of Le Mans wins, 10 WEC victories and the inaugural WEC title in 2012.
His name is Andre Lotterer and his success demands respect. He gets it in abundance.
A ‘driver’s driver’ who loves the sport deeply, the German is a popular figure who receives genuine esteem even from his most competitive rivals.
The good news for his fans is that he is back in the WEC for 2023 with the Penske Porsche squad and the new Porsche 963 Hypercar.
Lotterer, who has a love of the endurance racing’s history as well as its present challenges, is therefore ideally placed to try and put the new era in to some kind of perspective.
“It’s a new generation of cars, you can’t compare them to the LMP1 era,” Lotterer tells fiawec.com.
‘It’s a new rules set, so it’s a new challenge. We’ve been testing a lot and it feels completely different to drive. I mean, not completely but it is different so it takes a bit of getting used to it.”
On the question of where the Hypercar era will fit in to other halcyon periods of endurance racing, Lotterer is expansive in his answer, saying that “if you look back at the great eras the first one, maybe it was in the late 60’s and 70s.
“Then the Group C years was fantastic, then the years in LMP1 were amazing because the cars were just very spectacular, the technology, the battles were really great, and now it looks like we’re coming back into a new era that’s welcoming a lot of manufacturers.
“I think maybe it will break some records in terms of entries in the top category with manufacturers and that means quite something that Ferrari are back and a lot of other manufacturers are involved.
“This is what we always wanted for this championship. The way things are structured we should be quite equal with everyone on paper, so that should offer some impressive battles as well.
“It’s going to be a great era, because with so many brands involved - it’s always what we wanted to see.
But it is the here and now that really drives Lotterer on. At the age of 41 he still has a lot to still give and he’s also plenty fast enough. He was one of the first names on the checklist for the Stuttgart marque when it came to forming drivers last year.
“Let’s see how we’ll be at the first race in Sebring but it’s a big programme for Porsche to have cars in IMSA and cars in WEC so we had a big year of testing and checking all the new parts, how everything copes with reliability and performance,” he says.
“I’m very happy that I can be back in WEC and challenge Le Mans again with Porsche is something special.”
Lotterer’s absence from the WEC now stretches back to 2019 when he raced for the Rebellion team. The absence though has made his heart grow fonder, especially for Le Mans.
“For sure, I’ve missed it, and I really wish that we would have continued but things changed and new challenges come along,” he says. “You focus on your challenges now and see what comes up. Luckily for me it’s come back up and I can give it my all there a few more times in my career.”
The fans will relish that!
Lotterer will be in action next weekend at the WEC's pre-season test, also known as the Prologue, in Sebring followed by the season-opening 1000 Miles of Sebring the week after (17 March).