Vettel might appear on the grid at Le Mans 2024.
It seems Sebastian Vettel is set to line up on the grid at the 24 Hours of Le Mans next year in a Porsche 963 LMDh Prototype. According to Motorsport.com, Vettel is in talks with the Jota Porsche team about a seat in the 2024 World Endurance Championship (WEC).
The news comes directly from Jota's team principal, Sam Hignett. "We are speaking to Seb, there are discussions, but nothing is done," said Hignett. "There isn't any kind of contract signed, and he certainly hasn't tested one of our cars."
Vettel made headlines recently in an interview at the Japanese Grand Prix when he responded to a question about returning to F1. "Not for now: F1 was the center [of] my life for so long, but once you step out, you realize even more how big the rest of the world is and how small, in a way, F1 is," Vettel said.
So F1 is off the table for now, but not other forms of motorsport.
A seat with Jota would make more sense, given Vettel's current life mission. The four-time world champion announced his retirement in mid-2022 and established his Race Without Trace initiative. In short, Vettel wants racing to go green using synthetic fuel, and to prove the point, he reunited with Kinky Kylie (his championship-winning RB7) at the Nurburgring earlier this year. Since she won the championship in 2011, Kylie has been converted to run on synthetic fuel.
According to Motorsport.com, Hignett is also using Jota's environmental credentials to woo Vettel. The Porsche 963 LMDh racer is powered by a 4.6-liter twin-turbocharged V8, based on the combustion engine borrowed from the 918 Spyder.
The hybrid components are standard across the board and consist of a 50 kW Bosch hybrid unit with a regenerative capacity of 200 kW. The batteries are supplied by Williams Advanced Engineering, not to be confused with the Williams Formula 1 team.
"Sustainability is important to us as a team, which is why our hospitality unit at Le Mans was solar-powered," said Hignett. "We know that is important to Seb as well." Hignett also revealed that they are speaking to other racers as well. "We are speaking to a lot of people, some who are high up on the list and some others who aren't so high."
Jenson Button, co-owner of Radford, is on the list, as is Robert Kubica. Formula 1 drivers love a spot of endurance racing, and previous drivers who crossed over include Fernando Alonso, Nico Hulkenberg, Jacky Ickx, Bruce McLaren, and Mark Webber.
It's the perfect retirement plan for an F1 racer tired of a 24-race season, as the WEC calendar only consists of seven races in total, with Le Man being the crown jewel.