It's race week! Stevens eager to return to winning ways for Interlagos

With four races completed the FIA World Endurance Championship now heads to Brazil for the start of the second half of the 2024 season with the Rolex 6 Hours of São Paulo on Sunday 14 July.

The No. 12 Hertz Team JOTA Porsche has been at the sharp end of the Hypercar grid in the first half of the 2024 season, with Will Stevens and Callum Ilott winning the TotalEnergies 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps and finishing second in the opening race in Qatar.  

The British team is currently fourth in the driver standings on 60 points after finishing eight overall at last month's 24 Hours of Le Mans, finishing as the top privateer for the third time in four outings.  The No. 12 Porsche heads into the second half of the season with a 57-point advantage over the No. 99 Proton Competition Porsche in the Hypercar Teams' standings. 

So how does Will Stevens feel about the performance at Le Mans?  

“I've got mixed feelings from this year's Le Mans. We obviously came there to do better than eighth and I felt like we were moving nicely in the right direction and the pace we showed in practice, I think we were confident of scoring a good result there. 

“I think the way the weekend evolved after the unlucky accident for Callum, you then need to look at it from a completely different point of view. Honestly, from where we were at 1am on Thursday morning, after crashing in free practice, it was looking like maybe we wouldn't be racing. So, for the team to source a different chassis, completely rebuild a brand-new car and go through the race with no mechanical issues. 

“I think it can't be underestimated how actually difficult that is and the achievement for the team to actually make that happen. To be on the lead lap and still be in the hunt during the race, I think we honestly did the best we could. 

“I think looking at it from the other way, we honestly did lack a bit of pace during the race. We never really had enough speed to fight at the front, which, ultimately, that's what we're there to do. 

“You always need to get the best result for the situation you're in and I believe we did that as a team. But obviously, we went into the week hoping for more than more than P8, so mixed feelings.”

The WEC hasn’t been to Interlagos for 10 years and while São Paulo will be new for most of the drivers and teams, Will Stevens is one of a handful of drivers who has experience of Interlagos, having raced in F1 in 2015 at the Brazilian circuit.  “I think it's a great addition to the championship, it's a track with a lot of history and it's a pretty unique track as well.  

“I think a lot of people go into Brazil think it's going to be nice and hot, but, actually, it's winter there, so it's going to be pretty cold and quite rainy, I think. Brazil is a country I love, my wife is from Brazil, so I've spent quite a bit of time there myself. I'm really excited to go back there.  

“I think it's going to be a really challenging race, with the track in terms of layout it is going to be very difficult for traffic, so I think it's going to be quite a chaotic race. 

“In terms of style it will be similar to Imola in the way of traffic management and all these kinds of things. But it's a great track to drive. 

“I drove it in Formula One back in 2015. The track’s a little bit different from curbs and some tarmac in places, but, for sure, that should help me as I think a lot of people haven't been to that track recently. It’s something new for everyone because no one's got prior knowledge and experience, but that's an area that we need to hopefully capitalise on and do a good job.”

The Rolex 6 Hours of São Paulo is Round 5 of the 2024 FIA World Endurance Championship and takes place later this week (12-14 July).