Tincknell on new Proton Porsche: “It’s a big learning weekend”

The new Proton Competition run Porsche 963 Hybrid Hypercar will make its debut at the WEC 6 Hours of Monza this weekend, and one of its three star drivers is relishing the prospect of racing in the Hypercar class for the first time.

Harry Tincknell has not yet driven the car, as Porsche Penske driver Kevin Estre shook the WeatherTech liveried machine down at Weissach, Porsche's own test facility, last week.

He will join former WEC champions Neel Jani and Gianmaria Bruni for the remaining three WEC races of the 2023 season at Monza this weekend, before they complete the season at Fuji in September and the season finale in Bahrain in October.

Ticknell reckons that although Monza will effectively be a test for WEC's most experienced team with the Porsche 963, the competitive instincts will still be with them throughout.

“None of us three drivers have driven the car yet, so it will be straight in to the lion's den halfway through the season. But we're super excited,” said Tincknell.

“We know this program has been coming for a little while now and we're really intrigued to see how it goes. We've done as much preparation as we can on the simulator. The 50-page manual is pretty complicated and there's lots of stuff that you can change in car to affect the balance.

“I think objectives wise, it's just trying to have a clean weekend. Finishing the race would of course be fantastic and we just need to do every lap.”

Tincknell liked his task at hand to when he faced one of racing's greatest tests at the Macau Grand Prix earlier in his career.

“It's a bit like I remember at my first Macau and everyone was telling me 'you've just got to do every lap because you just build more confidence.' You learn more, you've got more data to analyze for the engineers so it's clear what you need to achieve.” he said.

“It's a big learning weekend for them (the team) as well, it's obviously a big step up for Proton but they're definitely capable of it.

“If we could pick up some pieces in the race, that'd be great. But ultimately, right now, it's a test rather than a race weekend for us but we'll always push for a maximum.”

Proton Competition have been ever-present in the WEC since the very first race and have scored 10 WEC LMGTE Am victories. This puts the German squad in good stead as they race in a different category for the first time.

“We've definitely got a lot of expertise and, and systems in place,” says Tincknell.

“The crew within Proton is a mix of the talent pool that they have got. As I said, it's a complex car with the Hybrid system, the Brake-By-Wire system which is all very different to what the LMGTE AM car has. Just the way the energy efficiency works in this championship in the Hypercar classes is a big test for us all, so again, it's very different to the LMGTE Am class cars.

“Regulations wise, and on the software side, it's a lot more complex but we're not going in to it blind and we've got a lot of good support with people that have been doing it for a while with this car.

“The same goes for us as drivers. You look at the dashboard and there's a lot of new numbers and a lot of new terms to learn.

“I've been doing my revision like when I was doing GCSEs at school and I am sure that with Gimmi and Neel we will be in a strong position once we get some good miles under our belts.”