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HomeMotorsports"Really impressive": How Thomas Preining's debut in the LMDh-Porsche went

“Really impressive”: How Thomas Preining’s debut in the LMDh-Porsche went

DTM champion Thomas Preining was allowed to test the Porsche 963 at the WEC rookie test in Bahrain: How he fared and how it compares to reference Vanthoor

Two weeks after winning the DTM title, the next highlight followed for Thomas Preining on Sunday: the 25-year-old works driver was able to put in his first kilometers in Porsche’s LMDh car at the WEC rookie test in Bahrain. “Really impressive,” was the conclusion of the Austrian, who had never sat in a prototype before.

And the Porsche works driver has clearly tasted blood. “I had a really good day – and that has always interested me. It’s a dream for me to compete and win at Le Mans and Daytona. So this is the right way to go.”

Could he imagine competing in this car in 2025? “I can definitely imagine it,” replies Preining, who puts the fun factor at “100”. But how did the DTM champion actually fare in the Porsche 963 during the five hours of testing?

How the comparison with reference driver Vanthoor turns out

A pretty good result if you compare him with reference driver Laurens Vanthoor. The Belgian regular was the first driver to set a benchmark time of 1:50.464 in the 963 in the morning, before Preining took over the cockpit for the rest of the day after the eight laps.

In the morning, the debutant set a best time of 1:51.615, in the afternoon he improved to 1:50.603 in the fourth lap of an 18-lap long run, which was only 0.151 seconds slower than Vanthoor. Robert Shwartzman set the fastest time of the day in the Ferrari hypercar in 1:48.559. However, Preining said that he “didn’t do any short runs with little fuel, but mainly things to do with the race”.

The test conditions were quite challenging, because after the air temperature was initially just below 30 degrees, the thermometer climbed to almost 33 degrees in the afternoon. Due to the rough asphalt in Bahrain, this requires a tire-friendly driving style

Help from regular driver Makowiecki: “Something like that is worth its weight in gold “

In addition, Preining, who was allowed to study the steering wheel before the test, first had to adjust to the completely unfamiliar car. “There’s a lot of technology, a lot of systems that I’m not used to – and a lot to learn, I’m asking a lot of questions. So far, I’m getting the right answers,” said Preining, who drove a total of 82 laps, after the morning session.

In order to be fast, he also had to change his driving style, as the prototype has significantly more downforce than his GT3 Porsche. In addition, “the wheelbase is longer, the car is wider and more powerful. There is a hybrid. So many factors that play a role,” he says.




In order to gain expertise as quickly as possible, Preining already observed the team and the regular drivers at the WEC finale on the days leading up to it. “I spoke to Fred Makowiecki for a long time because we happened to be together,” he says. “He’s a very open guy who talks a lot on his own initiative. That’s worth its weight in gold in my situation, when you’re allowed to move a machine like this for the first time. ”

Preining on the future: “Bosses will think about it “

This fills Preining, who also received the test drive in recognition of his strong performance in 2023, with pride. “It’s definitely cool of Porsche to give me the responsibility, because that’s not a given,” he says.

What will happen to him in 2024? “I’m still in talks with the bosses, they’ll be thinking about what’s best for my future,” says Preining, who has already announced that he wants to defend his DTM title. “Of course, I also have my ideas. We are still discussing what the whole thing will and can look like.”

Times of the rookie test in Bahrain (LMH):

1st Robert Shwartzman*/Lilou Wadoux/Alessandro Pier Guidi (AF-Corse-Ferrari 499P) 1:48.559
2nd Norman Nato*/Will Stevens (Jota-Porsche 963) 1:48.625
3. Alex Lynn*/Nicolas Varrone/Kyffin Simpson (Cadillac V-Series.R) 1:49.444
4th Rene Binder*/Julien Andlauer/Neel Jani (Proton-Porsche 963) 1:49.704
5th Mikkel Jensen*/Stoffel Vandoorne/Malthe Jakobsen (Peugeot 9X8) 1:50.123
6th Laurens Vanthoor*/Thomas Preining (Penske-Porsche 963) 1:50.464
7th Ben Barnicoat*/Jose Maria Lopez/Josh Pierson (Toyota GR010) 1:50.740
8th Malthe Jakobsen*/Stoffel Vandoorne (Peugeot 9X8) 1:51.037
9.. Job van Uitert*/Esteban Guerrieri (Vanwall Vanderwell) 1:51.680



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