Stevens unsurprised by Manor’s strong start to life in WEC

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SPA – Will Stevens says that he is not surprised by Manor’s strong start to life in the FIA World Endurance Championship after moving with former Formula 1 team bosses Graeme Lowdon and John Booth for its debut in the series this year.

Lowdon and Booth left the Manor Marussia F1 operation at the end of the 2015 season to set up their very own Manor team in the WEC’s LMP2 class.

Stevens joined Manor after losing his F1 seat, and has enjoyed a strong start to life in the championship as the team has immediately found itself on-pace and competitive.

Stevens said that he was not surprised by how quickly Manor has got to grips with life in the WEC, believing its teamwork to be a key strength.

“No, because the team has got a lot of experience,” Stevens told NBC Sports.

“Everything we’ve done previously to this in F1, it’s all about development. With the Oreca it’s a known car and we know the car works well. It’s just about doing a job with the engineers to find a good balance. We know that technically we can work well together, and I think you can always achieve a good car.

“We know that over one lap the car is good, but we just need to make sure that we get everything right for the race – strategy, pit stops, everything come into it to make the race work.

“The overall car is good. I’m happy with it. We just need to make sure we do a good job in every aspect.”

Stevens already appears to be looking towards a long-term future in the WEC, but he does not feel that there is less pressure in the series than in F1.

“Any pinnacle of motorsport, there’s pressure,” Stevens said.

“Personally I think pressure’s not really a word that I’d use for stuff. If it’s any job or any aspect of a working environment, you always need to achieve the most you can.

“Whenever I get in the car, I always do the best job that I possibly can. Here, I want to achieve still to be at the pinnacle of everything. I think from a personal point of view my attitude towards it doesn’t change.

“F1 is F1 and everyone looks at it more. But I think WEC is now getting more and more established. You can see if you get into LMP1 with a manufacturer, a lot of people are pushing to get to that.

“For me I need to do a good job this year and prove I can compete and be here in this environment, and we’ll see where we end up at the end of the year.”

The no. 45 Oreca car scored Manor’s first WEC podium at Spa over the weekend with Roberto Merhi, Matt Rao and Richard Bradley sharing drive duties en route to third place, while the no. 44 finished eighth in class after a brake issue.