Kevin Estre, Porsche GT official driver / FIA WEC / Porsche 911 RSR #92
Newsletter 24 November 2021, season review
Among the achievements that have marked Kevin Estre’s 2021 season, the first one to underline is his score of five out of six possible pole positions at the wheel of the #92 works Porsche 911 RSR GTE Pro in the World Endurance Championship that has just ended in Bahrain. This stunning feat only serves to highlight the Frenchman’s out-and-out speed. Clearly, clinching a second world title in the FIA WEC was his priority objective this year. Unfortunately, his hopes were crushed in the dying minutes of the final race when one of his team-mates was punted into a spin by the Ferrari of their direct rivals. But 2021 also saw Kévin emerging victorious in an event that he had set his heart on winning: the Nürburgring 24 Hours! Today, his endurance record is absolutely exceptional and it is perhaps the start of an even-more fecund period in his career!
The chase for pole position is universally recognised as the art of driving in its noblest form. Over a single lap of the circuit the driver with his sensations on full alert extracts the maximum to his car in the ideal exploitation window of the tyres while respecting track limits. Kevin achieved this feat at Spa, Monza, Portimao and Bahreïn (twice). This year only the Le Mans pole escaped him in the FIA WEC.
“My accident in the Le Mans Superpole is my only error of the season,” acknowledges the man who won the GTE Pro category in the 2018 Sarthe classic. “The car’s chassis had to be changed, but this didn’t have any effect on our final result in the 24 Hours in which we suffered more from neutralisations that penalised us and a slight lack of pace.”
The driver lineup in the #92 Porsche, which included Neel Jani from Switzerland and on an occasional basis Dane Michael Christensen alongside Estre, won at Spa-Francorchamps, Monza and Bahrain. The trio looked set to add the 8 Hours of Bahrain and the Drivers’ and Manufacturers’ titles to their laurels when Christensen was punted into a spin by Pier-Guidi. “It’s certainly the biggest disappointment of the year for the whole Porsche Motorsport team. I think we were stronger than the Ferrari and that we deserved to win. I still don’t understand why their penalty was withdrawn. I have to admit that losing the world championship title in this fashion still sticks in my throat!”
Overtake, exceed your limits…
“Incredible Kevin Estre P11 to P1:” this video created a real buzz on Youtube! It shows the fantastic charge by the driver in the #911Grello Porsche 911 GT3 R from 11th place on the grid of the Nürburgring 24 Hours up into the lead in barely more than 20 minutes. “I started on the wet greasy track on slicks. The other cars were shod with very different types of tyres as half the circuit was soaking wet. The race was stopped for a long time because of fog, but for me the 2021 event was the most difficult I ever experienced from a mental point of view. We made a simple pact in our team – win or bust! On the restart on Sunday when you know that eight or nine cars can win you know that you’re in for a ding-dong battle! Normally on the Nordschleife, you leave yourself a 1 to 2% margin as you can come across water on the track, oil or a car that’s much slower than you on your trajectory or in the guardrail. But I was going for the win. I was completely pumped up and I went pedal to the metal for the last two hours even though I was physically and mentally exhausted!”
P11 to P1? For the record, when Kevin won the 24 Hours of Spa in 2019 at the wheel of the GPX Racing Porsche, he also started in 11th place in the rain and fought his way to the front before the end of the first hour’s racing.
This year the driver from Lyon who lives in Austria has been pretty successful on the Nordschleife. Besides the 24 Hours the new Ringmeister won two events in the Nürburgring Endurance Series. His score is 100% wins in 2021 in the Green Hell!
Revenge in the world championship in 2022?
While Kevin is waiting to see what will happen to him when endurance racing’s golden age dawns in 2023 as promised, next year he will set out again to conquer the FIA WEC GT title. “GTE-Pro is still GTE-Pro with sensational cars and a very high standard of driving. What’s really positive is the arrival of the Corvettes which will take on Porsche and Ferrari.” Without forgetting the thrilling endurance races in which he will take part in the four corners of the GT3 planet… 2022 will be well worth the detour!
Press release by Romane Didier / future racing commm
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