On the sidelines of the Goodwood Festival of Speed, Porsche introduced the all-new LMDh race car to return to Class A at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and 24 Hours of Daytona for the first time. The official name of the 680-horsepower prototype has now been determined: Porsche 963, based on the victorious 956 and 962 classics of the 1980s.
The official race for the Porsche 963 is scheduled for the first time in January 2023 at 24 Hours of Daytona in the USA. Meanwhile, the FIA WEC has opened the doors for testing as part of the upcoming World Championship rounds this year. Porsche Penske Motorsport is targeting out-of-competition training at the season finale in Bahrain in November.
Drivers for Porsche 963
Along with complete technical and oil performance data, Porsche, which collaborates with the traditional American racing team Penske, has announced its driver lineup for the WEC and IMSA series. Notable names like Nico Hülkenberg or Mark Webber, which fans have been speculating about for a while, weren’t there initially. Instead, the sports car manufacturer relies primarily on drivers from its own team.
Works drivers Kevin Esther (France), Michael Christensen (Denmark), Andre Lotterer (Germany), Lawrence Fanthur (Belgium), Matt Campbell (Australia), Mathieu Jamenet (France) plus well-known newcomers Dan Cameron (USA) Felipe Nasr (Brazil) is at WEC and IMSA, and other drivers are joining the US endurance races, including development driver Fred Makowitzky.
LMDh’s commitment to the three-time winner of the Le Mans Lotterer has been considered an open secret. as such Motorsport-Magazin.com reported weeks ago that this does not necessarily mean he has to leave Formula E. Born in Duisburg, he could start in 2023 for new Porsche customer team Andretti. According to speculation, he will be replaced on the factory team by former champion Antonio Felix da Costa alongside Pascal Wehrlein.
Porsche: V8 twin engine with a displacement of 4.6 liters
Porsche is working with Canadian high-tech company Multimatic on the newly developed vehicle base. Standard hybrid components were contributed by Bosch, Williams Advanced Engineering and Xtrac. The heart of the engine is a 4.6 liter V8 biturbo. The engine is based on the high-performance 918 Spyder hybrid sports car. Its DNA goes back to the RS Spyder race car, which Porsche and Team Penske celebrated with many successes from 2005 to 2008.
Jonathan Diuguid is Managing Director of Porsche Penske Motorsport. “Expectations are very high,” says the American. “Not only from the public, but also from Porsche and Penske, who have written great motorsport stories together in the past.”
Diuguid and Travis Law (Director of Competition) lead the global Porsche Penske Motorsport team and lead management in both the World Endurance Championship and the IMSA Series. Leading the team at FIA WEC Bernhard Demmer (General Manager) and Frances Chameau (Team Manager), in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in North America, Joel Svensson (Team Manager) is in charge.
“After 7,889 kilometers of testing in the first half of 2022 we see ourselves on the right track, but there is still some work to be done before the start of next season,” confirms Thomas Laudenbach, head of motorsports. “I’m sure we will be in a good position in the technical field and we have also set up the right structures on the team side so that we can win the exciting competition between many different manufacturers and concepts.”
Problems during the test in Aragon
Porsche was the first of all LMDH manufacturers to complete the rollout of the race car as it meticulously prepares for its debut. However, not everything went smoothly, Motorsport President Laudenbach revealed in an interview for the upcoming print edition of Motorsport-Magazin.com. A standard component of the electric powertrain caused problems.
Laudenbach: “The last test in Aragon didn’t go as planned, you have to be honest. We had planned a 36-hour endurance race, but unfortunately it wasn’t possible. It was disappointing and set us back a bit. Man but we have to leave the church in the village There are always backslides in development. Aragon hasn’t simplified the situation. But we’re really far away from the tension. I still sleep peacefully. It’s still a hard program, we can’t rest.”
Porsche Penske Motorsport prepares two 963s for the world’s two largest sports car racing series at Mooresville, North Carolina and Mannheim locations. The WEC base was established in Baden-Württemberg at the former Penske Automotive Porsche Center.
A high-performance data line connects the team bases in Morrisville and Mannheim to the Porsche Development Center in Weissach. Data is exchanged between the three high-tech centers of Porsche Penske Motorsport in near real time. The WEC team will move to the Mannheim site this fall.