Endurance Racing News and Stories

Does Julien Andlauer deserve a factory Porsche Hypercar drive?

Phil Oakley

For many, Proton Competition’s Julien Andlauer was the star of the FIA World Endurance Championship’s 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps.

He’s been in the Porsche family for a few years now, racing in the WEC’s GTE categories for Proton, winning the Le Mans 24 Hours in the GTE-Am class on his first attempt in 2018. This, though, is his first year in a Hypercar, and in a prototype class, in WEC competition, although he did drive an Oreca 07 for Proton in the most recent season of the Asian Le Mans Series.

On his Hypercar debut in Qatar, he and teammates Neel Jani and Harry Tincknell took home a podium, finishing third. They weren't classified at Imola, with Andlauer spinning into the gravel in the tricky wet conditions in Italy, forcing a retirement with less than an hour to go.

Jani, Tincknell and Andlauer took home a podium in Qatar. Photo: HOCH ZWEI Photoagency

However, at Spa, the Frenchman took the lead early on and ran away from factory Porsche driver Fred Makowiecki in the #5 Penske Porsche 693, creating a lead of seven seconds before the first pitstop cycle roughly an hour into the race.

Indeed, Andlauer was quicker than Makowiecki over the stint when you take both drivers’ top 50% laps. However, the gap wasn’t huge, with less than a tenth in it: Andlauer’s 2:08.381 compared to Makowiecki’s 2:08.448. 

But that doesn’t account for the seven second gap. The picture doesn’t get any clearer when you increase the average to the top 80% of laps, effectively excluding laps done under the two full course yellows in the opening hour. In fact, Makowiecki edges slightly closer to Andlauer on average pace: Andlauer’s average was 2:08.854, while Makowiecki’s was 2:08.908.

Actually, the gap was largely built by the full course yellows. While Andlauer lost time behind Makowiecki under the first full course yellow, he had overtaken the factory Porsche driver by the time of the second. The Proton racer’s lap time under the second FCY was almost seven seconds quicker, as both cars crossed the line while the FCY was in place. 

Andlauer did lose time, 2 and a bit seconds, the lap the race went green again, but he’d extended a decent gap this point anyway, and extended it under green to lead by 6.877 with an hour gone. Impressive work for a driver only in his third Hypercar race!

The Racing Line

Your personalised motorsport calendar

Download The Racing Line now

So where did Andlauer stack up in general amongst the other Porsche drivers, factory or not? 

We’ve taken each driver’s top 40% of laps in the race and averaged them out. When looking at these averages, Andlauer was third quickest, with Makowiecki just a smidge quicker. Substantially quicker, more than two and a half tenths on average, was Kevin Estre at the top of the pile. Andlauer was just 0.040 slower than Makowiecki in third.

Car number

Driver name

Average lap


Kévin Estre



Frédéric Majowiecki



Julien Andlauer



Callum Ilott



Michael Christensen



Laurens Vanthoor



Neel Jani



Will Stevens



Philip Hanson



André Lotterer


There are a few caveats here, of course. The track cooled substantially during the race, especially because it ended two hours later than originally intended. By this point, the #5 Porsche was out, not giving Matt Campbell a chance to drive it, as was the #8, which retired early on due to a boisterous Rene Rast in the #20 BMW M Hybrid V8.

After the race, Neel Jani, Andlauer’s teammate in the #99 Proton Competition Porsche, told The Racing Line that he believed they could have at least been on the podium if it wasn’t for the red flag.

“It [the red flag] cost us the podium, for sure, no doubt,” said the Swiss driver.

“I don't know if we would have caught the Ferraris again when the temperature would have come back down, obviously we started to struggle a bit on the second stint. 

“They were going quite well on the second stint. We were struggling a bit there at the end. But who knows, what would have happened in the lower temperature? Maybe we could have come back again. But yeah, the podium, for sure, was ours.”

Andlauer was incredibly quick at Spa. Image: Juergen Tap Photography

And what about the win?

“I think we had a shot at it for sure,” Jani said. 

“I mean we were there. Would we have won? I don't know. But for sure, finished third. That is clear. It would have been between us and the Ferraris.”

Andlauer was arguably even more impressive in the final stint of the race, after the red flag. He overtook multiple cars on his way to fifth in the race, after restarting 10th. His post-red flag average was a 2:11.295, removing in-laps and out-laps in an otherwise green run.

In particular, he overtook both Paul Loup Chatin, in the #35 Alpine, and Brendon Hartley, in the #8 Toyota, with fantastic moves at Eau Rouge, going on the outside of the entry to the corner, on drivers’ right, sweeping past the Alpine and Toyota on laps 107 and 111 respectively.

It’s impossible to answer the question posed in the headline definitively — sorry, Betteridge’s law of headlines applies here — but there’s no doubt if the young Frenchman continues this trajectory, it’ll be hard for Porsche to deny him a factory seat next year.

Share twitter/ facebook/ copy link
Success! Your email is updated.
Your link has expired
Success! Check your email for magic link to sign-in.