Kevin Estre admits he had to get back into the WEC mindset after winning the Nürburgring 24 Hours with Manthey Racing last weekend.
The Porsche factory driver took the overall win in the shortened Eifel classic alongside Michael Christensen and Matteo Cairoli, but of whom are also competing in this weekend’s 8 Hours of Portimao.
The French ace brought the Porsche 911 GT3 R across the line in Germany, but had to quickly change his focus to the upcoming FIA World Endurance Championship round, where he and team-mate Neel Jani are coming in as GTE Pro points leaders.
Speaking to MotorsportWeek.com ahead of the eight-hour enduro, Estre admitted he had to get back into the swing of things to focus on the WEC after his milestone win.
“The main programme this year is definitely WEC and the Nurburgring 24 Hours,” Estre said. “The beginning of the year was a bit special, because we were a lot on the Nurburgring and not so much with WEC.
“But now actually, I’m happy that Nürburgring is over and we won, but also that it is ocver and that we can fully focus on WEC, with a different car, different weather, different tracks, different people.
“It was a bit of a switch on Monday. Tuesday we had a phone call and speaking about the race with the engineer and drivers and then I felt ‘okay, now back in the rhythm of the WEC’.
“Completely different story, but it feels good to be here. First time, good weather since a month, or feeling wise a year, but yeah, I’m happy, driving the RSR. Portimao is a challenging track, I think, for everybody. Not much experience for us here, but we will see.”
Porsche has opted to bring in the Le Mans drivers to complete the line-up at Portimao, meaning Estre will be reunited with longtime partner and fellow Nürburgring winner Michael Christensen.
“Very happy to have Michael back,” Estre said. I think we proved that we are a very strong team together in last year’s WEC. But it worked well with Neel [Jani] in Spa, so it shows that our #92 team is strong, also if we change drivers.”
“Michael is a very good friend for me, and a very good team-mate. We won last week together. Actually, all of my success in endurance races has been with Michael, so I am quite happy to be teamed up with him again this year as a third driver.”