Porsche 963, unveiled at Goodwood, set for Le Mans 2023
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Porsche Penske Motorsport officially unveiled its new 963 LMHd at the Goodwood Festival of Speed today, and DRIVEN was there.
On the Friday evening, the second day of the event (early Saturday morning Auckland time), the new 963 was unveiled to Porsche guests and public, as the car that will take over duties from the successful 919.
Four of the hybrid LMDh-spec prototypes will be built iitially, in Porsche motorsport white, red and black, and will be fielded in both the FIA World Endurance Championship and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, working from their duel bases in Mannheim, Germany, and North Carolina, USA.
“After 7889 test kilometres 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,” outlines Thomas Laudenbach, Vice President Motorsport. “Our new Porsche 963 should continue the legacy of legendary models such as the 917, 935, 956, 962 and the 919 Hybrid. 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 drivers selected for the races in the World Endurance Championship and the IMSA include Aussie Carrera Cup champion Matt Campbell (Australia),
Kiwi racer Brendon Hartley is now a Toyota driver, having recently won his third 2022 Le Mans 24 Hour event. Earl Bamber and Jaxon Evans both have Porsche motorsport history.
Other drivers are Kévin Estre (France), Michael Christensen (Denmark), André Lotterer (Germany), Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium), Mathieu Jaminet (France), Dane Cameron (USA) and Felipe Nasr (Brazil), with test driver Frédéric Makowiecki (France). Other driver announcements for Daytona, Sebring and Road Atlanta (Petit Le Mans), will be made at a later date.
Managing Director of Porsche Penske Motorsport, Jonathan Diuguid: “Expectations are extremely high,” acknowledges the American. “Not only from the public but also from Porsche and Team Penske, who have written great motorsport chapters together in the past.”
In compliance with the LMDh regulations, the Porsche 963 is based on an LMP2-category chassis. This newly developed vehicle 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 lies a 4.6-litre V8 Biturbo producing 500kW. The engine is based on the high-performance 918 Spyder hybrid sports car. Its DNA goes back to the RS Spyder racing car, with which Porsche and Team Penske notched up many victories between 2005 and 2008. The design of the new Porsche 963 hails from the victorious 956 and 962 classics from the 1980s. A continuous strip of lighting at the rear echoes the distinctive feature of the latest 992-generation 911. The white-red-black vehicle design is a salute to Porsche’s successful racing cars. And another tradition lives on: The new Porsche 963 will be available to customers from the first year of competition. The first Porsche customer teams will already communicate their program in the next few days.
Luxury watchmaker TAG Heuer, Hugo Boss and Puma also join as partners.
The official race debut of the Porsche 963 is planned to take place in January 2023 at the 24 Hours of Daytona in the USA. Though with more freedoms in testing, the 963 will have its first “non-competitive” outing at Bahrain, in November, following its official homologation in (NZ) Spring time.
Acclaims Urs Kuratle, Director Factory Motorsport LMDh: “We’ll have powerful driver crews in the four factory cars. The collaboration with our long-standing tyre partner Michelin and the chassis manufacturer Multimatic works flawlessly… We can hardly wait for our first outing.”
Porsche last won the Le Mans 24 Hour race with a hat-trick of three consecutive victories in 2015-2016-2017, with Kiwis Earl Bamber (2015, 2017 and Brendon Harley (2017) part of the winning 919 teams.