Qatar 1812 Km: An all-Porsche/Michelin podium in Qatar
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Qatar 1812 Km: An all-Porsche/Michelin podium in Qatar


Not only did the Porsche 963 claim its maiden FIA World Endurance Championship victory in Qatar but it also scored a resounding one-two-three finish to kick off the 2024 campaign. Winners Estre/Vanthoor/Lotterer (#6) were joined on the podium by Stevens/Ilott/Nato (#12) and Campbell/Makowiecki/Christensen (#5). Michelin is tire supplier to all of the Hypercar prototypes.

After dominating the time-sheets in last week's Prologue test and Qualifying session, the Porsche 963 continued its assertive display at Losail International Circuit by monopolizing the top three places (with two factory cars and one customer car) and clocking the fastest race lap (Campbell, 1m39.748s).

The #6 Porsche Penske Motorsport car emerged in front on the 54th of the race's 335 laps and stayed there until the flag to harvest the German prototype's first-ever FIA WEC success, although it had already come first in North America's IMSA endurance-racing series.

The #93 Peugeot 9X8 appeared to be heading for second place – the team's best result since its return to the discipline – and even led for 38 laps early on. Unfortunately, it ran out of fuel with the end in sight and had to settle for seventh, finishing at reduced speed. Its woes promoted the #12 (Hertz-Jota) and #5 Porsches to second and third.

All of the 19 Hypercar prototypes and nine manufacturers contesting the 2024 FIA WEC's opener raced on Michelin tires. The hard-compound MICHELIN Pilot Sport successfully double-stinted and even completed triple stints on some prototypes, including the Hertz-Jota Porsches. The #7 and #8 Toyota GR010 Hybrids covered 104 laps (568km) on the same left-hand tires.

“It's a tremendous result at a circuit that was new to us,” notes Pierre Alves, the manager of Michelin Motorsport's endurance-racing programs. “The track gave good grip but put little energy into the tires. Even so, our range combined the longevity and versatility our partners needed to triple stint or run other strategies, such as changing only two of their car's four tires, or running the hard and medium compounds simultaneously.”

The day's top six was rounded out by the #2 Cadillac V-Series.R, #83 Ferrari 499P and #7 Toyota GR010 Hybrid, but the two Ferraris suffered delays (drive-through penalty, loss of the engine cover). The #35 Alpine A424 completed its maiden FIA WEC appearance inside the top 10, while the best-placed BMW M Hybrid V8 was 12th and the Lamborghini SC63 concluded its debut race in 15th spot.

Round 2 will take teams to Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari d’Imola, Italy, on April 21.


Final positions:

  1. Estre/Lotterer/Vanthoor (Porsche 963/Michelin), 335 laps

  2. Stevens/Ilott/Nato (Porsche 963/Michelin), +33.297s

  3. Campbell/Christensen/Makowiecki (Porsche 963/Michelin), +34.396s

  4. Bamber/Lynn/Bourdais (Cadillac V-Series.R/Michelin), +1 lap

  5. Kubica/Schwartzman/Ye (Ferrari 499P/Michelin), +1 lap