Three “Made in Flacht” hybrid prototypes have contested the Hypercar class at Spa-Francorchamps: In addition to the two factory cars, the customer outfit Hertz Team Jota fielded a 963 for the first time and brought the first privately-run car over the finish line in sixth place.
In mid-April, Porsche delivered the first 963 customer race car to Hertz Team Jota. The British squad co-owned by David Clark and Sam Hignett is the reigning FIA World Endurance Champion in the LMP2 category. Over the last nine years, the team has finished on the podium at the 24 Hours of Le Mans ten times. In hypercar class introduced this year, the squad fielded a 500+ kW (680 PS) hybrid prototype for the first time at Spa-Francorchamps. Porsche Motorsport supports its LMDh customer team with consultants at all WEC races.
“I looked forward to seeing a Porsche 963 in customer hands at Spa-Francorchamps for the first time,” explains Thomas Laudenbach, Vice President Porsche Motorsport. “I’m sure that the learning curve for Hertz Team Jota will be steep and they will reach the top level.”
Making their debut in the cockpit of the first privately-run Porsche 963 were the works driver António Félix da Costa from Portugal, Will Stevens from the UK and Yifei Ye. The Chinese racing driver is the selected driver from Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific. “Our first race in hypercar categoryis a really special time for everyone connected with Jota, Hertz, Singer and Brady,” states Jota co-owner Sam Hignett. “Alongside Porsche, we’ve worked extremely hard to get the car ready for its debut and it’s looking great.”
The team impressed with its strong performance. Works driver Félix da Costa managed to overtake three rivals in the first lap and advance to fourth place. Bad luck with the safety car phases at a later stage cost the Porsche customer squad a few positions. Thanks to their steady performance, the Portuguese racer and his teammates still achieved a remarkable result with sixth place.