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André Lotterer on team dynamics and representing Porsche

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Porsche 963
André Lotterer at the WEC 6 Hours of Imola


André Lotterer will take part in his 13th 24 Hours of Le Mans later this month, a third with Porsche, and says he couldn’t be prouder to go hunting for a 20th victory for the German marque.

A three-time winner, Lotterer knows what it takes to secure victory at Le Mans. The trophies are among his prized possessions, but equally important are the memories, experience and feelings he has for taking those big wins. Leading the FIA World Endurance Championship Hypercar points standings along with team-mates Kévin Estre and Laurens Vanthoor, Lotterer knows that creating a tight unit within a team with his fellow drivers is crucial.

Loving the spirit of Porsche

Being affiliated to a brand in motorsport is one thing, but truly loving its brand, heritage and racing ethos is another. It is rarer than you might think, with only a handful of drivers really understanding the true ethos of racing spirit within a manufacturer. Lotterer definitely falls into this camp of being emotionally hooked into Porsche. His affinity stretches all the way back to the 1980s when his father Henri Lotterer ran and worked with racing teams in sportscar and touring car competitions. Among his work was the preparation of several Porsches, something that Lotterer junior recalls clearly from his youth. “I'm really proud to race for such a brand, and also as a German driver it's quite cool as well to be part of their programme,” says Lotterer. “I grew up around Porsches with my dad's racing team - they had Group B rally cars, and then circuit cars too. That was always influencing me and I've always been a Porsche fan. “When I was racing for Audi, and I heard Porsches coming, I was always looking from afar and thought ‘wow’. “Everyone knows the legacy and the history they have at Le Mans. The brand is there, due to what they've achieved at Le Mans. And if you can be part of this and create the future with them together and go for victories together, it's something quite unique. “I imagine it's a bit like racing for Ferrari in Formula 1. Racing for Porsche at Le Mans, well it's hard to beat.”

Creating a tight team unit

The complexity of gelling three drivers in one car should never be underestimated. Quite apart from the technical logistics of different heights, weights and specifications of personal drivers, there is the human element too. It is a fascinating psychological and character forming skill to get the best from each other over 24 hours of racing. Lotterer formed a close bond with his crew mates Benoît Tréluyer and Marcel Fässler in 2011, 2012 and 2014 when the trio swept all before them at Audi to take three Le Mans wins in four attempts. It was a remarkable achievement. He says he has also built a “really good” relationship with Vanthoor and Estre, adding that they “all complement each other.” “Ben and I were friends (from Japanese racing) so it happened naturally there,” says Lotterer. “Then I went through also different team-mates and different teams, which was ok as well. But I have to say now with Laurens and Kevin, I have a really good relationship. It's very harmonious, we all have our role. “But I'm a bit in a different role now than I have been before with more experience. We all complement each other and we understand that we actually function very well.”

After a full season together in 2023, Lotterer, Estre and Vanthoor hit the ground running this season with victory at the opening Qatar 1812km before following that up with two second places at Imola and Spa. “2023 was at first a try out, and the more we go ahead, the more we enjoy working together, and I think that's a good sign,” says Lotterer. “And it's very positive. I try to bring my experience and keep things calm. And I think when one does that and the other feels comfortable, you don't put too much ego into it and you think of the trio itself, things start working naturally, and it's good for your engineering crew as well. “So, I think it's been going pretty well and is shown in the results. I really enjoy spending my time with them, in fact I stayed at Laurens’ house last night (just before Spa). That's good fun, we like hanging out, so it’s a good thing to have. It's not always like this (with team-mates).” The trio will now take on the ultimate challenge together: The 24 Hours of Le Mans. The iconic race takes place on June 15-16 at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

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