Porsche 963, Porsche Penske Motorsport (#7), Felipe Nasr (BR), Matt Campbell (AUS), Michael Christensen (DK), Porsche Penske Motorsport (#6), Nick Tandy (UK), Mathieu Jaminet (F), Dane Cameron (USA)
Top Tier Penske
Porsche Penske Motorsport has set its sights on overall victory at the upcoming 24 Hours of Daytona. At the opening round of the 2024 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, the works team competes with two Porsche 963 and a top driver line-up. The hybrid prototype from Weissach heads into the new season with several improvements. Two other Porsche 963 fielded by the customer teams JDC-Miller MotorSports and Proton Competition also take on the competition in the top GTP category. In the two GT classes, five customer squads will compete for honors with one Porsche 911 GT3 R each.
Porsche will field the 963 for the second time at the 24 Hours of Daytona. The Porsche Penske Motorsport factory squad has turned the insights gained from the race car’s debut year into further improvements. It now travels confidently to the season opener of the 2024 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship on 27/28 January. At the endurance classic in Florida, four works drivers each helm the two hybrid racers. The goal is clear: As the Daytona record-holder, Porsche is determined to bring home its 19th outright victory.
“Based on our findings from last year’s outings in the IMSA series, the FIA WEC, and our test sessions, we’ve further optimized both the car and the team’s processes for the new season,” explains Thomas Laudenbach, Vice President of Porsche Motorsport. “We’re confident that we’ll be considerably better prepared for the classic at Daytona this year. In 2023, we narrowly missed out on the title in North America. That shouldn’t happen this year. Our bid for the championship crown will hopefully begin with a strong race at Daytona.”
“The endurance races were our Achilles heel last year,” reflects Urs Kuratle. The Director Factory Motorsport LMDh adds: “We took a very close look at the reliability issue and implemented appropriate measures. I’m confident that we have everything ironed out for the upcoming season. Our most recent test drives were almost entirely focused on endurance runs. We covered many kilometres with excellent results. We’ve also made further progress with some of the team’s processes. I’m looking forward to the season opener in Daytona feeling very confident.”
The Daytona International Speedway in Florida, which opened in 1959, distinguishes itself from other tracks most notably by its steeply banked turns. The slope incline reaches up to 31 degrees in the oval passages of the 5.73-kilometre racetrack. This requires a special vehicle setup. With 18 overall wins as a constructor and four as an engine partner, Porsche is by far the most successful manufacturer at Daytona. A further 80 class wins round off this impressive scorecard. The classic event has been contested on the combination of the tri-oval and the infield road course since 1966.
Traditionally, the event on the East Coast of America starts with the so-called “Roar Before the 24”. As part of the three-day tests before the new IMSA season gets underway, participants will qualify for the 24-hour race. The 24 Hours of Daytona also marks the start of the IMSA Michelin Endurance Cup. This long-distance classification awards points for the best-placed vehicles after six, twelve and 18 hours as well as for crossing the finish line. In addition to the season-opening round in Florida, the championship includes the 12 Hours of Sebring, the 6-hour races at Watkins Glen and Indianapolis as well as the so-called “Petit Le Mans”. The IMSA season wraps up in October with this ten-hour race on the Road Atlanta circuit.
Four factory drivers will crew each of Porsche Penske Motorsport’s two Porsche 963. UK driver Nick Tandy and Mathieu Jaminet from France share the No. 6 cockpit with Laurens Vanthoor from Belgium and the Frenchman Kévin Estre. In the No. 7 sister car, Felipe Nasr from Brazil and Dane Cameron (USA) receive support from the American IndyCar star Josef Newgarden and Matt Campbell. Cameron and Campbell are swapping series for the 2024 season: The American is fully committed to the IMSA series, with the Australian contesting the FIA World Endurance Championship WEC.
The customer squads JDC-Miller MotorSports and Proton Competition each campaign one Porsche 963 in the top GTP class. The German team’s No. 5 car is shared by the Porsche works drivers Gianmaria Bruni from Italy and Romain Dumas from France with Belgium’s Alessio Picariello and Neel Jani from Switzerland. Tijmen van der Helm from the Netherlands and the seasoned UK race driver Richard Westbrook are the regular crew in JDC-Miller MotorSports’ No. 85 car. For the endurance race, they receive support from Englishman Phil Hanson, with successful amateur driver Ben Keating (USA) joining them as the fourth driver in Daytona.
The Porsche 911 GT3 R fielded by AO Racing will tackle the GTD Pro category. Former Porsche Junior Laurin Heinrich from Germany and Sebastian Priaulx from the UK are the regular drivers in the No. 77 car. At Daytona, they will be supported by Michael Christensen. The Dane is part of Porsche’s works driver squad, as is the experienced Frenchman Frédéric Makowiecki, who will drive the No. 120 Porsche 911 GT3 R for Wright Motorsports at the 2024 season opener. The same applies to Austrian Thomas Preining. The defending DTM champion will share Andretti Motorsports’ No. 43 car with Jarett Andretti (USA), Colombian Gabby Chaves and Scott Hargrove from Canada. Julien Andlauer, Preining, Campbell, Jaminet, Christensen and Klaus Bachler have also come up through the ranks of the Porsche Junior program.
Mathieu Jaminet (Porsche 963 #6): “The new season is starting and finally it’s time to get going again! After last year’s experiences, we have a score to settle. I very much hope that we’ll have a little more luck on our side in the major endurance classics in 2024. Our entire team has been working hard to make further progress. With that in mind, I believe we’ll be competitive in Daytona. In 2023, the battle between the GTP manufacturers was always very close. It’ll be no different this season. We have to do everything perfectly. If we can do that, we have a chance of winning.”
Felipe Nasr (Porsche 963 #7): “Here we go again – I’m ready. It was nice to spend some time in my home country of Brazil during the break and prepare for the upcoming season. 2023 was a steep learning curve for our Porsche Penske Motorsport team. We were able to make significant progress in many areas. It’s a shame that it ultimately wasn’t enough to win the title. The season opener at Daytona is always a big highlight. Everyone really wants to win this race. With a year’s experience, I think we’re in a much better position, especially in terms of reliability. Our driver crew is strong. I expect we’ll be in with a chance for victory.”