The new Porsche 963 has now been unleashed by the Porsche Penske Motorsport team to claim victory in the greatest endurance races in the world. Starting 2023, two of the hybrid LMDh-spec prototypes will be competing in both the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and FIA World Endurance Championship.
On Friday, June 24, Goodwood in England unveiled the racing vehicle that will carry the traditional Porsche motor racing colors of white, red, and black.
There will be two headquarters for the two major championship programs of Porsche Penske Motorsport. Team Penske’s primary location in Mooresville, North Carolina, USA will prepare the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship vehicle. Meanwhile, the Mannheim branch in Germany will be working on the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). Seasoned specialists at the Porsche factory driver squad are paired with equally experienced and championship winning prototype drivers.
Vice President Motorsport Thomas Laudenbach shared, “After 7,889 test kilometers (4,900 miles) during the first half of 2022, we’re on a very good path but there is still work to be done before the start of next season. Our new Porsche 963 should continue the legacy of legendary models such as the 917, 935, 956, 962 and the 919. I’m positive that we’ll be well-positioned when it comes to technology and we’ve also created the relevant team structures to set us up for wins in the thrilling competition between many manufacturers and different concepts.”
The Porsche 963 is scheduled to make its official race debut in January 2023 at the 24 Hours of Daytona. It will be competing in a new overall class that will be called the GTP class. Meanwhile, just this year, the FIA WEC has opened the opportunity for testing as part of the upcoming world championship races.
This coming November, Porsche Penske Motorsport aims to conduct a non-competitive dress rehearsal in Bahrain at the final round of the season.
“Over the past few months, our people at Porsche Motorsport and Team Penske have grown into an efficient and committed squad – the Porsche Penske Motorsport Team. We’ll have powerful driver crews in the four factory cars. The collaboration with our long-standing tire partner Michelin and the chassis manufacturer Multimatic works flawlessly. The Porsche 963 should be homologated this autumn. Until then, we want to make further progress with test drives and gain additional insights. We can hardly wait for our first outing,” shared Director Factory Motorsport LMDh Urs Kuratle.
For the World Endurance Championship (WEC) and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, the drivers that have been selected are experienced “works” drivers Kévin Estre (France), André Lotterer (Germany), Michael Christensen (Denmark), Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium), Mathieu Jaminet (France), and Matt Campbell (Australia). Accomplished sports car drivers Felipe Nasr (Brazil) and Dane Cameron (Glen Ellen, California) were also selected.
Back in January, Frédéric Makowiecki (France) was vital during the initial development phase when it was rolled out at the test track at Porsche Motorsport headquarters in Weissach, Germany. He drove the first miles in the Porsche 963 and he was also the one who did the first laps in the simulator. They will be adding other experienced drivers from the Porsche squad at the endurance races at Le Mans, Daytona, Sebring, and Road Atlanta (Petit Le Mans).
Mooresville and Mannheim Bases
Porsche Penske Motorsport bases in Mooresville (North Carolina) and Mannheim (Germany) will be preparing a total of four 963 examples for the most important sports car races in the world. A former Porsche Center of Penske Automotive, the WEC facility in Baden-Wüttemberg, Germany was built to state-of-the-art standards. The three high-tech centers of Porsche Penske Motorsport exchange data practically in real time.
This autumn, the WEC team is expected to move to the Mannheim premises.
Managing Director of Porsche Penske Motorsport Jonathan Diuguid said, “Expectations are extremely high. Not only from the public but also from Porsche and Team Penske, who have written great motorsport chapters together in the past.”
Diuguid and Competition Director Travis Law will lead the global Porsche Penske Motorsport Team, with direct oversight and management of the IMSA and FIA WEC programs. Bernhard Demmer will be the General Manager for the daily operations of the FIA WEC team, with the help of Team Manager Francis Schammo. Team Manager Joel Svensson will manage those roles in the IMSA GTP championship in North America.
Inspired by the Victorious 956 and 962 Classics
The Porsche 963 is based on the LMP2-category chassis in compliance with the LMDh regulations. Canadian high-tech company Multimatic will be supplying the newly developed vehicle chassis, while Bosch, Williams Advanced Engineering, and Xtrac will be working on the standard hybrid components.
Powering the 963 is a 4.6-liter twin-turbo V8 engine based on the high-performance 918 Spyder hybrid sports car. The inspiration can be traced back to the RS Spyder racing car which has given Porsche and Team Penske numerous victories from 2005 to 2008.
As for the design of the new Porsche 963, it took inspiration from the successful 956 and 962 classics from the 1980s. At the rear, a continuous strip of lighting can be seen reminiscent of the feature of the latest 992-generation 911. The white, red, and black vehicle design is a tribute to the successful Porsche racing cars. Continuing the tradition, the new Porsche 963 will be available to customers during the model’s first year of competition. In the next few days, the first Porsche customer teams will be communicating their programs.
Helping them in their campaign in the two most prestigious and grueling endurance races, IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and WEC are their strong and proven partners. Porsche will continue its close alliance with tire manufacturer Michelin, as well as with the ExxonMobil segment of the Mobil1 brand.
Penske Corporation will soon highlight a number of brands and subsidiaries as official partners including software specialist Ansys which helps the global team by providing cutting-edge simulation solutions. Another technology partner is Multimatic who will be sharing their expertise in development and engineering.
Luxury watchmaker TAG Heuer has also been announced as the official timing partner of the global team of the Porsche Penske Motorsport program. Fashion brand Hugo Boss is the clothing partner and outfitter, while Puma, the sports lifestyle company, has joined as the technical partner that will be providing fireproof race clothing.