Button astonished: Hypercar technical complexity superior to F1!


As Jenson Button gears up for his inaugural full season in the World Endurance Championship, the former F1 driver acknowledges being astounded by the remarkable technical intricacies of the series' Hypercar machines.

Button will make his full-time racing comeback this year, joining forces with Jota in its #38 Porsche 963 in the WEC and teaming up with fellow Briton Phil Hanson and Denmark's Oliver Rasmussen.

The soon-to-be 44-year-old's full-time return to the track has been driven by a desire to challenge himself over an extended period, rather than in one-off events, in one of the most competitive categories in motorsport.

The WEC’s Hypercar class features some of the most advanced and powerful race cars in the world. It's a significant step up from the LMP2 class, where Button previously competed, and he's relishing the challenge of adapting to the new machinery and racing format.

So far, he's been particularly impressed by the technical complexity of the Hypercar class, which has left him feeling "blown away" by the level of engineering and innovation involved.

In an interview with the official WEC website, Button explained his decision to embark on a full season of endurance racing.

“Well, I've been racing since F1 - I raced in Japan in Super GT, I was in WEC in 2018,” he said.

“I've tried loads of different things… the 24 Hours of Daytona too but you feel that you don't maximise what you can achieve with one-off races.

“And you don't get the best out of yourself doing it that way. So, I wanted to do a full season. You don't get a lot of practice pre-season and I wanted to do a whole season to see what we could achieve in WEC this year.”


Button has spent the last couple of months building up to his campaign and getting acquainted with both his JOTA team and its machinery, and the 2009 F1 champion admits that he’s been amazed by the engineering intricacy and sophistication of a Hypercar, even compared to F1.

“An F1 car, for example, the technology is through the roof and it's the pinnacle of aerodynamics,” he explained.

“But they’re not as technically advanced as a Hypercar - an LMDh car has 38 pages explaining just what the steering wheel does!

“There are so many switches, you can adjust many different things for the same issue. There's a lot to learn from a drivers’ point of view.

“Obviously the driving is the same but there's so much more you can adjust within the car to help an issue that you have on track – it’s staggering the amount of stuff and it blows your mind. That takes a while to get used to.”

Jenson Button at the wheel of the JDC-Miller Porsche 963 last October at Petit Le Mans.

Button's first experience with the Porsche 963 dates back to last October, when he participated in the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta with JDC-Miller MotorSports.

Despite securing a fifth-place finish, Button was still awestruck by the technical complexity of the car. This newfound admiration for the Hypercar class has fueled his determination to excel in the WEC this year.

“I did Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta,” he said. “I had one day of testing before the race and I got used to driving the car pretty quickly but it's all the tech stuff that takes a while to get used to.

“It feels like there's 20 switches for one thing, but they all do it slightly differently.

“These cars are very clever - they learn as you drive around as well. You can pinpoint certain corners of the data that you want something to change and it will change without touching anything - very clever but very complex.

“It takes a different type of driver. There’s skill on track but you need to be an expert in engineering as well.”

It’s a whole new universe of sorts for the former Grand Prix driver, but Button’s level of excitement is the same as it was when he was racing in the frantic ranks of karting.

“Yes! It's still the same as when I first drove a kart when I was eight-years-old,” he said. “There’s just a bit more going on but it becomes second nature when you really know the systems.

“I feel that I'm not quite there yet. Driving is the bit that we all love and you still control the car with your feet, hands and your bum in terms of feeling - that hasn't changed.

“And I have to say the Hypercars are the coolest looking cars ever - you know if I drew a car when I was a kid, it would have been a Hypercar!”

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