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Porsche completes 2023 IMSA season

Solid effort, but 3rd in points not "Penske Perfect" for 2023

Porsche 963, Porsche Penske Motorsport (#6), Nick Tandy (UK), Mathieu Jaminet (F), Laurens Vanthoor (B)

The two Porsche 963 fielded by the Porsche Penske Motorsport factory squad went unrewarded for their tireless fight for the championship. In the last race of this year’s IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship at Road Atlanta, the two hybrid prototypes from Weissach crossed the finish line in fourth and tenth in the top GTP class. The identical LMDh racing car from the Proton Competition customer team concluded the so-called 10-hour “Petit Le Mans” event in third place on the winner’s podium. In both GT classes, Porsche customer teams achieved podium results with the 911 GT3 R.

Porsche 963, Porsche Penske Motorsport (#7), Felipe Nasr (BR), Matt Campbell (AUS), Josef Newgarden (USA)

The race

In sunny conditions and witnessed by large crowds in the US state of Georgia, almost everyone experienced a rollercoaster of emotions. The Porsche Penske Motorsport works team tackled the race with high hopes of winning the manufacturers’ title. The regular driver pairings Nick Tandy and Mathieu Jaminet (#6) as well as Matt Campbell and Felipe Nasr (#7) were also in the running for the drivers’ championship crown. However, the dream of winning the title in the first year of the new top GTP class was quickly shattered for the British-French duo. After just 75 minutes of racing, Tandy became the innocent victim of a shunt by two competitors. Although the No. 6 car was sent back out on the track after extensive repair work, it ended up in the barriers after being hit again – and was forced into retirement. At this point, works driver Laurens Vanthoor was behind the wheel of the Porsche 963.

Porsche 963, Porsche Penske Motorsport (#6), Nick Tandy (UK), Mathieu Jaminet (F), Laurens Vanthoor (B); Porsche 963, Porsche Penske Motorsport (#7), Felipe Nasr (BR), Matt Campbell (AUS), Josef Newgarden (USA)

From then on, all hopes were pinned on the No. 7 sister car. After around two and a half hours of racing, Campbell catapulted the 963 into the lead for the first time thanks to some inspired overtaking maneuvers. At that stage, Porsche, the Porsche Penske Motorsport team and the drivers Campbell/Nasr were at the top of the overall standings. Indycar star Josef Newgarden, who joined the regular crew as support, kept contact with the leaders during his stints and handed the No. 7 cockpit over to the Felipe Nasr.

Porsche 963, JDC-Miller MotorSports (#5), Mike Rockenfeller (D), Tijmen van der Helm (NL), Jenson Button (UK)

With three hours left on the clock, the Brazilian then swapped with the Australian again while running in fifth place. Setting impressive lap times and with steely determination, Campbell plowed through the field – only for his charge to be thwarted by five safety car phases. The race finally ended under yellow, where the chance to overtake was no longer possible. Campbell/Nasr/Newgarden finished the “Petit Le Mans” in fourth place.

Porsche 963, Proton Competition (#59), Gianmaria Bruni (I), Harry Tincknell (UK), Neel Jani (CH)

VP of Porsche Motorsport

“We fought until the very last lap, but lady luck just wasn’t on our side today,” said Thomas Laudenbach, Vice President of Porsche Motorsport. “Our number 6 was out of the title race very early through no fault of its own. The crew in the sister car also lacked the necessary stroke of luck in the final phase, especially at the last refueling stop. With three wins and two poles in the first year of competition with the Porsche 963, we can stand proud. The results in the second half of the season were clear evidence of a huge improvement throughout the year. Congratulations to the champions of the 2023 IMSA season and also to our customer team Proton Competition, who clinched their first podium at Road Atlanta.”

Cadillac took the title in a thrilling finale. Congratulations to them,” said Urs Kuratle, Director Factory Motorsport LMDh. “Congratulations as well to Proton Competition. Our customer squad fought hard for today’s podium finish with the Porsche 963. After the accident involving the number 6 car, we tried everything today to get the sister car in front. Unfortunately, that didn’t work out. We were fast, it was close, but we just didn’t quite pull it together. The others were simply a bit better today.”

TIRERACK.COM BATTLE ON THE BRICKS, 10. Lauf IMSA WeatherTech Championship, Indianapolis 2023 – Foto: Gruppe C Photography

Managing Director of Porsche Penske Motorsport

“In the last race of the first year with the Porsche 963 and our new team, we didn’t get the result we had hoped for,” summarizes Jonathan Diuguid. The Managing Director of Porsche Penske Motorsport adds: “We all gave everything we had. Our number 6 car dropped out of the race due to accidents, then we put all our eggs in one basket with number 7. Unfortunately, some yellow flags came out at inopportune times for us. Other cars, which were hardly at the top during the race, suddenly appeared at the front. We would’ve loved to win a title, but unfortunately that didn’t happen. We’re looking to change that in 2024!”

One team to profit under the penultimate yellow phase was the Porsche customer squad Proton Competition. The No. 59 Porsche 963 helmed by works driver Gianmaria Bruni from Italy, Neel Jani from Switzerland and Englishman Harry Tincknell took the flag in third place. The identical prototype fielded by JDC-Miller Motorsports, which the regular drivers Mike Rockenfeller (Germany) and Tijmen van der Helm (Netherlands) shared with the British ex-Formula 1 world champion Jenson Button, finished in fifth place.

Porsche 963, JDC-Miller MotorSports (#5), Mike Rockenfeller (D), Tijmen van der Helm (NL), Jenson Button (UK)

GTD classes: Porsche 911 GT3 R finishes 10-hour race on the podium

In the two GT categories, as well, the final round of the season was packed with suspense from start to finish. In the GTD-Pro class, works driver Kévin Estre fought for victory at the wheel of Pfaff Motorsports’ Porsche 911 GT3 R in the last two hours. In the No. 9 car shared with regular drivers Klaus Bachler (Austria) and Patrick Pilet (France), the Frenchman was only 0.980 seconds shy of victory in second place.

In the GTD class, Wright Motorsports’ No. 16 entry seemed to be on track to score second place until the third-to-last lap, only to have an accident followed by a fire throw it out of contention shortly before the finish. Prior to this, the Porsche had already been shunted off the track by another competitor. Also, during this phase, the nine-eleven campaigned by the customer team AO Racing dropped out of the top 3. Wright Motorsports’ No. 77 vehicle thus inherited third place just ahead of the customer Porsche of Kellymoss with Riley. At the end of the season, the sports car manufacturer from Stuttgart took third place in the manufacturers’ ranking of the GTD class.

Porsche 911 GT3 R, Pfaff Motorsports (#9), Klaus Bachler (A), Patrick Pilet (F), Kevin Estre (F)

Race results

GTP class

  1. Braun/Blomqvist/Castroneves (USA/UK/USA), Acura #60, 395 laps
  2. Van der Zande/Bourdais/Dixon (NL/F/NZ), Cadillac #01, 395 laps
  3. Bruni/Tincknell/Jani (I/UK/CH), Porsche 963 #59, 395 laps
  4. Campbell/Nasr/Newgarden (AUS/BR/USA), Porsche 963 #7, 395 laps
  5. Rockenfeller/van der Helm/Button (D/NL/UK), Porsche 963 #5, 395 laps
  6. Tandy/Jaminet/Vanthoor (UK/F/B), Porsche 963 #6, 196 laps

GTD Pro class

  1. Juncadella/Gounon/Engel (E/F/D), Mercedes-AMG #79, 370 laps
  2. Bachler/Pilet/Estre (A/F/F), Porsche 911 GT3 R #9, 370 Run laps
  3. Pier Guidi/Serra/Rigon (I/BR/I), Ferrari #62, 370 laps
TIRERACK.COM BATTLE ON THE BRICKS, 10. Lauf IMSA WeatherTech Championship, Indianapolis 2023 – Foto: Gruppe C Photography

GTD class

  1. Spinelli/Goikhberg/Liddy (I/CDN/USA), Lamborghini #78, 370 laps
  2. Foley/Gallagher/Dinan (USA/USA/USA), BMW #96, 370 laps
  3. Brynjolfsson/Hindman/Root (USA/USA/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R #77, 370 laps
  4. Brule/Udell/Andlauer (USA/USA/F), Porsche 911 GT3 R #92, 370 laps
  5. Hyett/Priaulx/Jeannette (USA/UK/USA), Porsche 911 GT3 R #80, 370 laps
  6. Hardwick/Heylen/Robichon (USA/B/CDN), Porsche 911 GT3 R #16, 367 laps
Porsche 911 GT3 R, Wright Motorsports (#16), Ryan Hardwick (USA), Jan Heylen (B), Zacharie Robichon (CDN)

All images © 2023 Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG / Porsche Motorsports North America