Penske Motorsport Heads List of Porsche 963 WEC and IMSA Contenders During 2023. A New Golden Age of Racing?

Penske Motorsport Heads List of Porsche 963 WEC and IMSA Contenders During 2023. A New Golden Age of Racing?The Porsche Penske Motorsport team will run the new Porsche 963 in the toughest endurance races during 2023 as the factory team. Two of the hybrid LMDh-spec prototypes will be in both the FIA World Endurance Championship and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The racing car was unveiled on Friday 24 June at Goodwood in England. (AutoInformed: IMSA – 194 Cars Entered at Watkins Glen Races This Weekend)

This is an intercontinental program as sports car racing enters what could be a new golden age with ever increasing participants and global audiences. For the first time in some 30 years, it will be possible to compete for overall victories in the endurance classics at Le Mans, Sebring and Daytona with cars of identical construction.

Penske Motorsport will prepare for what likely will be epic battles at two locations: The branch in Mannheim (Germany) is responsible for the FIA World Endurance Championship. IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship vehicles will based in Mooresville, North Carolina (USA).

The race debut of the Porsche 963 is planned for January 2023 at the 24 Hours of Daytona. However, the FIA WEC will allow testing as part of the upcoming world championship races this year. Porsche Penske Motorsport is aiming for a “non-competitive dress rehearsal” at the final round of the season in Bahrain this November. The 500 kW and 680 PS (or ~670 hp that they admit to – Autocrat) hybrid racing car is scheduled to complete numerous test runs in 2022. (AutoInformed: Corvette Racing Goes Global – IMSA, FIA WEC in 2022; IMSA – Porsche Virtually Shows LMDh Car)

In compliance with the LMDh regulations, the Porsche 963 is based on an LMP2-category chassis. This newly developed chassis is supplied by the Canadian company Multimatic. Bosch, Williams Advanced Engineering and Xtrac contribute the standard hybrid components. At the heart of the powertrain is a 4.6-liter V8 Biturbo.

The engine is said to be based on the high-performance 918 Spyder hybrid sports car. Its heritage goes back to the RS Spyder racing car, with which Porsche and Team Penske scored many victories between 2005 and 2008. The design of the new Porsche 963 derives from the victorious 956 and 962 classics from the 1980s. A continuous strip of lighting at the rear echoes ta distinctive feature of the latest 992-generation 911. The white-red-black vehicle design is a nod to Porsche’s successful racing cars.

Another tradition lives on as well. The new Porsche 963 will be available to customers from the first year of competition. JDC-Miller MotorSports will field the first customer entry for Porsche Motorsport North America when the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class debuts in 2023. JDC-Miller will field a single Porsche 963 prototype as a privateer in the new top class, PMNA announced today Saturday before qualifying for the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen at Watkins Glen International. Other Porsche customer teams will no doubt emerge in the next few weeks.

The drivers selected for the races in the World Endurance Championship and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship include the experienced works drivers Kévin Estre (France), Michael Christensen (Denmark), André Lotterer (Germany), Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium), Matt Campbell (Australia), Mathieu Jaminet (France) as well as the accomplished sportscar drivers Dane Cameron* (USA) and Felipe Nasr** (Brazil).

*Cameron, a 33-year-old from Newport Beach, California, is a three-time champion in the WeatherTech Championship. He won the GTD title in 2014 with Turner Motorsport, the 2016 Daytona Prototype international (DPi) crown with Action Express Racing and the 2019 DPi championship driving for – guess who – Team Penske. He has 15 career IMSA race wins.

** Nasr won DPi championships for Action Express Racing in 2018 and 2021. The 29-year-old from Brasilia, Brazil, who also raced in Formula One in 2015-16, has seven career IMSA victories. He already on his Porsche journey, beginning with the with this season at Team Pfaff. Nasr is driving the No. 9 “Plaid Porsche” in GTDPro for IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup races during 2022. He was part of the winning driver team at Daytona this year. Matt Campbell was also driving in that 911.

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