Team Penske Score Its First Ever FIA WEC Win In Qatar

Jackson Wheeler
6 Min Read

There isn’t much Team Penske hasn’t done in motorsports: Wins in NASCAR and IndyCar, along with season titles to go with them. Saturday, they scored a first however, winning the opening round of the 2024 FIA World Endurance Championship in Qatar.

The win in the top hypercar class came after a dominating outing that saw the No. 5 Porsche 963 take pole on Friday. Saturday, the No.6 Porsche Penske 963 Hypercar driven by Andre Lotterer, Laurens Vanthoor and Kevin Estre led most of the way and won by 33.297 seconds ahead of Hertz Team JOTA.

The only tense moments came in the closing stages with Estre behind the wheel. The Porsche 963 made contact with an LMGT3 car that damaged the car’s side panel forcing the team to make repairs with just 15 minutes of the race remaining.

“I went on the inside and he turned in,” Estre said. “He didn’t see me. Many guys out there in GT3 aren’t used to this traffic. I don’t want to blame anyone, but it was sometimes difficult in the traffic. I’ve never had so much contact in a race.

“The car didn’t feel great after that, we could survive but we missed out on pure pace at the end.”

Estre was able to return and kept the lead the rest of the way but said the car didn’t feel the same with a vibration and loss of grip.

“It made it spicy to the end,” he said. “But the whole team did an amazing job, no issues. I am really happy with where we are today compared to where we started last year.”

The No. 12 JOTA Porsche held on for second while the No. 5 Porsche 963 completed the podium and the Porsche sweep.

Cadillac Racing finished the race fourth overall, the American squad with Alex Lynn, Earl Bamber and Sebastien Bourdais at the wheel making an epic comeback after an early race impact and front-left dramage to the Cadillac V-Series.R.

Rounding out the top five was the No.83 AF Corse Ferrari 499P making its debut with Robert Kubica, Robert Shwartzman and Yifei Ye putting in a strong performance.

That Porsche sweep was in doubt up until the final lap, when the No. 93 Peugeot 9X8 with Nico Muller, Jean-Eric Vergne and Mikkel Jensen were set to claim the marque’s best-ever WEC result with second place after a perfect run. However, a late issue for Vergne saw his car stop as it entered the final lap and drop to seventh as it limped over the line.

The once dominate Toyota team never made much noise. The No. 7 Toyota Gazoo Racing entry was sixth overall – with the reigning World Champions struggling for pace with the Ferrari 499P. Eighth was the No. 50 Ferrari AF Corse, the crew fighting back from an early drive-through-penalty.

Alpine Endurance Team’s No. 35 Alpine A424 drove a steady race to finish ninth and the last crew to bag points was the No. 8 Toyota GR010 Hybrid Hypercar in 10th.

Overall, it was a banner weekend for Porsche as in the LMGT3 class Manthey PureRxcing won with the No. 92 Porsche 911 GT3 R shared by Aliaksandr Malykhin, Joel Sturm and Klaus Bachler following a close battle race-long battle with the #27 Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage of Ian James, Daniel Mancinelli and Alex Riberas.

In a tense finish the No. 92 entry took the checkered flag just 4.9 seconds ahead of its closest opponents, to clinch WEC’s maiden victory for a Lithuanian-flagged team. At the same time, Porsche also became the first manufacturer to win in every GT class that has been part of WEC since the series’ inception in 2012.

The No. 46 WRT BMW M4 GT3 entry of Valentino Rossi, Maxime Martin and Ahmad Al Harthy rounded out the podium.

For round two of the season, WEC moves to Europe, with its first-ever race at Imola scheduled for April 21.


I have been around and written about the sport of NASCAR for over three decades and previously worked fulltime for the Sporting News and  Scripps-Howard News Service.  I am also a contributor to two Chicken Soup  for the Soul books including the NASCAR edition, published in 2010 and  the author of “The Nuts and Bolts of NASCAR: The Definitive Viewers’  Guide to Big-Time Stock Car Auto Racing.” I am a multiple National  Motorsports Press Association award winner. Early in life I spent 23  years combined active and active reserve military service, much of that  in and around the Special Operations community serving in support of  Operation Just Cause, Desert Shield/Storm and ended my military career  in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. 

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Jackson Wheeler is a skilled editor at, specializing in automotive content. With a background in Journalism and Automotive Engineering, he combines his passion for cars with his writing expertise to deliver captivating articles. Jackson's deep knowledge of automotive technology and his racing experience make him a valuable asset to the team, providing readers with informative and engaging content.
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