Porsche’s Kevin Estre believes that the layout of the Monza circuit gives Ferrari the advantage over rivals Porsche in the third round of the GTE Pro battle in the FIA World Endurance Championship.
Ferrari and Porsche both hold one win each after the opening two rounds of the 2021 campaign, with Estre and team-mate Neel Jani taking victory in the opening round at Spa-Francorchamps and James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi winning out in Portimao.
The Ferrari duo lead the championship as a result, with the eight-hour round in Portugal having more points on offer due to the race’s longer nature.
Ferrari’s 488 GTE Evo has so far seemingly had the edge over Porsche’s 911 RSR-19 in terms of straight line speed, whereas the Porsche has more advantage when it comes to cornering speed.
With Monza’s high speed layout, where as much as 75% of the racing lap is carried out flat out, that could give Ferrari a distinct advantage going into Sunday’s race.
Estre, speaking to MotorsportWeek.com in the paddock at Monza, stated that Ferrari does have an advantage at its home track, although he did express hopes that Porsche would be able to match their Italian rivals.
“Let’s see, let’s see when we when we first drive,” said Estre. “There’s some stuff you can do on the setup, obviously, with the aero to help the straight line speed.
“But definitely since the beginning of the year, Ferrari seems stronger than us on the on the straight line, we seem a bit stronger maybe in the in the corners, which makes it quite equal over a lap.
“This track is definitely the let’s say, I would say the best for Ferrari this year, from what we’ve seen so far from their performance compared to us.
“But yeah, you have to survive, you have to choose the right time at the right time, get the right strategy.”
“So I think nothing is done, but definitely I would say if there is one trick where they they start with a bit of an advantage on us could be here.”
The Frenchman did states that he likes the layout of the Monza circuit in one important aspect: the longer straights make it easier in terms of traffic management compared to Portimao, where the previous round took place.
“You have long straights long time to see what’s approaching, maybe judge the speed from the prototype coming behind you. And big braking zones where it’s quite easy to say okay, I leave him the room or not.
“Portimao has a lot of a lot of up and down blind corners, a lot of corners which are turning opening or closing which makes it always a bit tricky or risky. The overtaking here, I think is more straightforward.”
Porsche was one of the manufacturer present in the European Le Mans Series round at Monza, which also saw fellow factory drivers Gianmaria Bruni and Richard Lietz present and competing.
While the GTE cars in the ELMS run on a different make of tyre than in the WEC, Estre says that the additional running did boost Porsche’s preparedness for the WEC race.
“I think we have some data of the fuel consumption, of which tire was working, even if it’s an different tire manufacturer, which tire was working when with the track, track temperature, if the braking were okay with the setup. It gives us some idea.”
“Ferrari was also there, with also some drivers, so I guess they have the same data as us. But it definitely helps us to be more confident in what we have and where we should start with the car.”