TSO Note: This is not open wheel news, but it is a big deal, so we thought we should share it with our subscribers.
Stuttgart. Porsche Motorsport and Team Penske have agreed to collaborate closely in fielding the new LMDh vehicle commencing in 2023. The successful US team will work together with the experts from Weissach to run factory entries in the FIA WEC World Endurance Championship and the North American IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (IWSC). Under the name of Porsche Penske Motorsport, two of the spectacular LMDh prototypes will compete for overall victories in the top class of each of the two racing series. The contract between the sports car manufacturer from Stuttgart and the US racing team, which was founded in 1966, will run for a number of years. A statement to this effect was signed by Oliver Blume, Chairman of the Executive Board of Porsche AG, Michael Steiner, Member of the Executive Board for Research and Development and Roger Penske, Chairman of Team Penske. Beginning in 2023, the LMDh vehicles will represent the very best in endurance racing together with so-called hypercars (LMH). The prototypes will also be entered by Porsche customer teams in both championships as early as 2023. The cars, which weigh approximately 1,000 kilograms and are based on an LMP2 chassis, are powered by a 500 kW (680 PS) hybrid drivetrain.
“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.”
“Porsche and Penske share a proven track record of success. This partnership had a lasting impact from 2006 to 2008 on what was then the American Le Mans Series,” says Fritz Enzinger, Head of Porsche Motorsport, delighted about the renewed collaboration with the US team. “Team Penske has made a name for itself with an almost unparalleled success story in motorsport. In the long list of victories to date, however, the name Le Mans has been missing. I hope that we will finally be able to chalk up this success as of 2023 with Porsche Penske Motorsport. This would then mark Porsche’s 20th overall victory at the Sarthe – a dream come true.”
With the Porsche RS Spyder, Team Penske had taken all the titles in the LMP2 class for three years in succession between 2006 and 2008, beating the faster LMP1 prototypes multiple times. Back in the 1970s, the US-based team had already been extremely successful with the legendary Porsche 917 in the Can-Am series.
“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,” comments 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.