Porsche’s 963 LMDh is prepared for competition.
Porsche 963 LMDh – Overview
With that much experience, Porsche has finally decided that the world should be introduced to its racing livery.
As a result, the Porsche Penske Motorsport 963 LMDh will compete in the World Endurance Championship and IMSA in the United States in 2023 against the best endurance racers in the world (WEC).
The 24 hrs of Le Mans, where Porsche last took first place 25 years ago, is also on that calendar.
Additionally, Porsche announced that in addition to the works effort cars, they would also offer a customer racing program.
Porsche and Penske debuted the 963 LMDh in its full racing livery at the 2022 Goodwood Festival of Speed.
This livery features the classic Porsche factory-backed white, red, and black colours.
Along with the IMSA and WEC driver lineups, two accomplished sports car drivers from California and Brazil were also announced simultaneously, along with drivers supported by the Porsche factory.
At the January 2023 Daytona 24 Hours, these racers will complete the first competitive laps in the 680-hp hybrid race cars.
The 963 will compete there in the recently established GTP class, honouring the heyday of North American prototype racing in the early years, under the IMSA WeatherTech Series name.
Porsche last competed in the GTP class with the 962 in 1993, but by that time, Nissan and Mazda had overtaken it in performance.
So, after nearly 35 years, an update to provide a competitive successor to the 962 has arrived.
However, the LMDh and new GTP are state-of-the-art for their time, much as those GTP cars.
These new LMDh-based Porsches will use a 4.6-litre twin-turbo V-8 based on the racing version of the RS Spyder to produce 680 hp in place of 3.0-liter flat sixes with 695 hp.
From 2005 to 2008, the same engine helped Porsche and Penske win endurance races.
The 963’s rear is influenced by the 992-generation 911, even if it borrows certain design elements from the 956 and 962.
Bosch, Williams Advanced Engineering, and Xtrac will supply the remaining components, including the hybrid power components, while Multimatic will construct the LMP2-compliant chassis.
The FIA WEC cars will be handled by the Mannheim, Germany office, while the IMSA components will be assembled at Penske Motorsports in Mooresville, North Carolina.
In addition to the factory-backed effort with Team Penske, the 963 will also be made available to client teams in the Porsche tradition of the 956 and 962 racing cars.
Porsche said it would launch the initiative in “the next few days” but did not provide a price for these privateer vehicles.
There are currently no privateer-effort LMDh programs. Thus it is a fascinating thought.
Although the involvement of pirates is usually beneficial for endurance racing, the vehicles participating in LMDh are 100% OEM efforts (which is vital for the health of the class).
It’s a terrific step for endurance racing and fans that Porsche is making a potentially competitive 963 available for private teams to buy and use in their programs.
The class will get more thrilling as more vehicles enter it to compete.