Pascal Zurlinden discusses the effects of the coronavirus crisis for Porsche Motorsport
Pascal, what is the situation at Porsche Motorsport during the current coronavirus phase?
However, work still continues at Weissach, although many of our engineers are working from home. Development work on our factory projects continues. In some cases, the motorsport engineers support their production colleagues in developing road-going cars. We can’t yet predict when real motor racing will resume on the racetracks. Without race events, the demand for service and spare parts has, of course, reduced significantly.
How will motorsport continue when the crisis is over?
Motor racing is a fundamental part of Porsche’s DNA. We are the only manufacturer that has raced factory or customer cars every year at Le Mans since 1951. We can’t yet say how the whole motor racing landscape will look after COVID-19.
Many companies are currently learning to appreciate modern ways of communicating such as by telephone or video conferencing. In the long term, this may also lead to a rethink. Will Porsche Motorsport increase the use of such tools once the coronavirus crisis ends?
Not every video conference can replace a face-to-face meeting, but I suspect that in the future we can create more opportunities to work from the home office. I’m doing a lot of work from home at the moment. I think to a certain extent that the working world will be changed permanently due to the modern tools and the experiences that we’ve now had.
How do drivers keep fit during this race-free time?
We ran a fitness camp in February and saw that our entire driver squad are in peak form. Our doctors and physiotherapists have drawn up individual programmes for each driver. Based on this, the drivers do their workouts at home to maintain their fitness levels as best they can.
We’re in close contact with those responsible for the racing series and with the FIA motorsport governing body. At the moment, each racing series is trying to find a solution to contest as many of the planned races as possible later this year. These days, however, it’s becoming even more apparent that motorsport is indeed like a family – quite independent of the brands and the competition out on the racetracks. One thing is now certain: As soon as racing starts again, fans will be treated to plenty of action – weekend after weekend.
How serious is the cancellation of the Le Mans pre-tests without an alternative date?
We’ll contest Le Mans for the first time this year with the new Porsche 911 RSR-19. Obviously, the pre-test would have helped with preparations, but we’ve already familiarised ourselves extensively through running the new car in the FIA WEC and North America. Hence, we have a wealth of information that we can analyse in even more depth during this race-free time. Corvette is also fielding a brand-new car. All the other rivals have to adjust to a new generation of tyres – so we’re all in a similar situation this year. For instance, pushing the Le Mans 24 Hours to September raises completely new challenges regarding the climatic conditions.
Apr 27, 2020 at 23:12