24h Le Mans
27/05/2020 - 17:01

Kévin Estre: "The 24 Hours in September will be very interesting!"

In our live Instagram Q&A session yesterday, Porsche GT Team driver Kévin Estre looked ahead to the 88th Le Mans 24 Hours to be held on 19–20 September 2020. He also spoke about the German manufacturer’s interest in the future top class of endurance racing (LMH-LMDh), his favourite Le Mans memory, the upcoming Virtual 24 Hours and hydrogen power.
Kévin Estre: "The 24 Hours in September will be very interesting!"

THE LE MANS 24 HOURS TO BE RACED ON 19–20 SEPTEMBER 2020

The 24 Hours in September will be interesting! It is likely that the temperatures will be cooler and we might get some rain. The night will be longer which is a good thing for us as the Porsche 911 RSR-19 runs well in night-time conditions. The main difference will be the tyres. Normally, we choose our tyres in June but we shan’t be able to do that for this race. We shall see how they react. We’re hoping it won’t be too cold to keep them at the right temperature. If it drops to 10°C, it will be difficult. It’s a challenge and we’ll have to find the right solutions.

PORSCHE’S INTEREST IN THE FUTURE TOP CLASS OF endurance

The ACO, IMSA and the WEC have done a good job. It’s a very positive move for world motorsport to have a car that can race in the FIA World Endurance Championship and also in the American championship. The same car will be able to race and win at the 24 Hours of Daytona and at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. It is creating a lot of interest among manufacturers and that’s great. There will be some very nice cars of different types. It has been said in the press that Porsche is looking at this new class. The marque has always been involved in endurance and was in LMP1 just a few years ago. When Porsche enters a class, they don’t do things by half. I hope there will be some good news in the coming months but, for the moment, it’s something they are studying.

THE VIRTUAL 24 HOURS OF LE MANS ON 13–14 JUNE 2020

It’s great to offer motorsport fans an alternative as we can’t race at the moment. I don’t have a sim at home but we have a very good one at Porsche. We use it occasionally to develop the 911 RSR. Looking at the teams and drivers involved, the Virtual 24 Hours of Le Mans promises to be a fantastic race. If you want to perform in esport, you have to train hard and spend a lot of time behind the wheel.

I dream of driving the Porsche 919 Hybrid... In terms of technology, it’s a fantastic car.
Kévin Estre

HIS FAVOURITE MEMORY OF THE 24 HOURS OF LE MANS

That’s easy – our LMGTE Pro win in 2018 with the Porsche ‘Pink Pig’. I could say that the finish was my best memory because we won but, personally, I find the start is the most impressive moment. For the last four years, I’ve been lucky enough to drive the first stint in the race. It’s also quite challenging as there is a lot of pressure on us. It was also Porsche’s 70th anniversary that year. We had an amazing car and enough performance to win the race. That’s my greatest memory.

THE MAGIC OF THE 24 HOURS OF LE MANS

It all starts with the Scrutineering as there are already lots of fans.  We sign more autographs there than at any other race. Then there is the Drivers’ Parade. We generally end up with arm ache from throwing so many goodies to the fans. I also enjoy the pre-race ceremony very much. It’s really a dream come true for me to race at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. When you tell someone you’re a professional driver and you race at Le Mans, everyone knows what you’re talking about. It’s a legendary race.

THE Porsche 911 RSR-19

It’s a very well designed car. During development, it had speed straight away as we had learned a lot from the previous version. Only 2% of its components are identical to the 2017 RSR. The car is better balanced in the turns than the previous version. That’s a big advantage. The car is also easier to set up which is another of its many assets.
When we heard the first RSR in 2017 with the exhausts at the rear, we looked at each other and remarked what an incredible sound it made. It made a lot of noise but that didn’t stop us from talking over the radio with the engineers. The exhausts on the 911 RSR-19 are now just in front of the rear wheels and it makes a raw noise that is actually louder in the cockpit. We have done a lot of work with the manufacturers of helmets, balaclavas and earpieces to get the decibels down. We have now found some good solutions.

HIS DREAM CAR FROM THE 24 HOURS OF LE MANS

I dream of driving the Porsche 919 Hybrid. I might get the chance, one day, at a historic event like Goodwood. In terms of technology, it’s a fantastic car. It won Le Mans and the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Other than this prototype, I have never had the chance to sit in the Porsche 917 ‘Pink Pig’ that raced at Le Mans in 1971. I’d really love to try it. In 2018, we suggested to Frank-Stefen Walliser, the boss of Porsche Motorsport, that he let us drive it if we won the 24 Hours. We went to see him in the evening after the race but he told us that the car wasn’t ready. I hope we’ll get the chance one day.

DRIVING A HYDROGEN-POWERED CAR

I can see myself driving a different car to what we are driving now. I hope it will be an innovative car, with cleaner technology but with similar performance to what we get today with the 911 RSR-19. Hydrogen appears to be a good solution but there’s still work to be done.

 

You can see Bruno Vandestick chat to Kévin Estre on the official 24 Hours of Le Mans Instagram account.

BREAKING NEWS: THE 2020 24 HOURS OF LE MANS TO BE RACED BEHIND CLOSED DOORS