Kevin Estre labels Supercar "my biggest challenge in a long time”
French sportscar star raced in 2023 enduros for Penrite Racing
Estre finished sixth at Sandown before crashing en route to 11th in Bathurst
French Porsche star Kevin Estre has labelled driving a Supercar "probably my biggest challenge in a long time” following his cameo in the 2023 enduros.
Estre partnered with rookie Matt Payne in the #19 Penrite Mustang for the Penrite Oil Sandown 500 and Repco Bathurst 1000.
After a sensational run to sixth on debut at Sandown, Estre crashed at Hell Corner early in the Great Race after an error at Hell Corner. The car dropped a lap and returned to the race, with Payne and Estre recovering to 11th.
For Estre, the Supercar was a big leap, having to deal with right-hand drive and heel-and-toe techniques. something he hadn't done since his Carrera Cup days.
"With these cars, you have to brake with your right foot and I also had to get used again to de-clutching and heel and toe downshifting,” he said.
“This hadn’t happened to me since the days of the Porsche 997 Cup! The gearbox is sequential, but with a lever located on the left because you are seated on the right.
"And there’s significantly less aero compared to the cars I usually drive. It was a great experience and probably my biggest challenge in a long time."
Estre had kept an eye on Supercars for some time, and is a Porsche factory star for the brand’s World Endurance Championship Hypercar squad.
He could return in 2024, given Matt Campbell is set to miss out again due to a clash with WEC. Garth Tander raced with David Reynolds in 2023, with Richie Stanaway arriving in 2024.
"I’ve been interested in this championship for a long time,” Estre said.
"Through a combination of circumstances I found myself at Penrite Racing where I know the managers Steve and Brenton Grove, because they race as amateurs with a Porsche.
"They needed a driver to back up Matt Payne in two enduro races, the Sandown 500 and the famous Bathurst 1000, otherwise known as 'The Great Race’.
"As a Porsche driver, you enjoy a good reputation there, you feel very welcome and the respect is mutual. The championship is very tough — the drivers are excellent and the teams are of high quality.
"It’s a small world, a little apart – it reminds me of the Super GT in Japan – very different to what’s done in Europe.”
The 2024 enduros will again be the Penrite Oil Sandown 500 and Repco Bathurst 1000, on September 20-22 and October 10-13.