Porsche has announced that it will reunite with legendary American outfit Team Penske for its forthcoming LMDh programme, which will see its new car compete in the FIA WEC and IMSA Sports Car Championship seasons full-time from 2023 onwards. By entering the FIA WEC as a full-season entrant Porsche is also guaranteed entries for the Le Mans 24 Hours, where it will be able to fight for its 20th overall victory.
For this ambitious programme, the first in Porsche history to span two major sportscar championships with a single operation, Penske will work together with the experts from Weissach to run the factory entries in both championships under the name of Porsche Penske Motorsport.
In both series Penske will field two LMDh prototypes, and compete against other major manufacturers and privateer teams. The car will weigh approximately 1,000 kilograms and be based on an LMP2 chassis (which Travel Destinations believes will be the Multimatic chassis that is the base for the Mazda DPi), powered by a 500 kW (680 PS) hybrid drivetrain.
This is a multi-year deal and sees the two entities reunite for the first time since the Porsche RS Spyder American Le Mans Series programme came to an end in 2008. The prototypes will also be entered by Porsche customer teams in both championships as early as 2023.
“We are delighted that we were able to get Team Penske to form this partnership,” says Oliver Blume, Chairman of the Executive Board of Porsche AG. “For the first time in the history of Porsche Motorsport, our company will have a global team competing in the world’s two largest endurance series. To this end, we will be setting up team bases on both sides of the Atlantic. This will enable us to create the optimal structures we will need to take overall victories at Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring, for example.”
“As of 2023, Porsche will compete in the major endurance racing series. Our intention is to support and shape the new era with our LMDh prototypes,” Dr. Michael Steiner, Board Member for Research and Development, emphasizes.
“Not only will we be keeping our fingers crossed for the four factory cars we have in total, but also for our customer teams. The new LMDh vehicle will also be entered as a customer car in both series as early as the 2023 season. These partner teams will be given our full support. Whatever insights we gain from our factory effort will also be shared with them.”
“This is a proud day for our entire Penske organization. We have represented Porsche on the track or in our businesses for more than six decades. The heritage and success we have enjoyed together is unparalleled throughout our history,” adds Roger Penske. “I can’t wait to get started as we build a global racing program with Porsche that will compete for wins and championships well into the future.”
Porsche Motorsport will be operating a team base in the USA together with Team Penske at the American team’s headquarters in Mooresville in the State of North Carolina.
Penske has been no stranger to top-class sportscar racing in recent years. This news comes in the wake of Acura ending its relationship with the US team for its DPi programme in IMSA at the end of the 2020 season.
Penske ran Acura’s DPi effort in the USA between 2018-20 with an exclusive deal that prevented customer teams from running the chassis. During that time Penske won multiple races and the drivers’, teams’ and manufacturers’ titles in 2019 and 2020.
This season Wayne Taylor Racing and Meyer Shank Racing have taken over from Penske and are currently campaigning an ARX-05 apiece in IMSA. Both teams will surely hope to compete against Penske again from 2023 onwards as part of Acura’s forthcoming LMDh programme in IMSA.
Porsche meanwhile, has focused on its GT racing efforts globally since withdrawing from LMP1 competition at the end of 2017. Its 2023 LMDh effort will mark the return of the fabled German marque to the top of sportscar racing after a six-year hiatus.
Images: Porsche, IMSA