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Porsche reacts to Lamborghini pace, explains 963 update strategy

Porsche Penske Motorsport managing director Jonathan Diuguid believes Lamborghini has “done a good job” with its new LMDh challenger, which set the pace in IMSA’s test at Daytona this week.

#63: Lamborghini Iron Lynx, Lamborghini SC63, GTP: Romain Grosjean, Andrea Caldarelli, Mirko Bortolotti, Daniil Kvyat

#63: Lamborghini Iron Lynx, Lamborghini SC63, GTP: Romain Grosjean, Andrea Caldarelli, Mirko Bortolotti, Daniil Kvyat

Richard Dole / Motorsport Images

Lamborghini’s new prototype – the 3.8-litre, twin-turbo V8-powered SC63 – produced a 1m35s-flat lap on Wednesday, about a second off last year’s Daytona 24 Hours pole position time.

It was the first time the Iron Lynx-run car had run alongside the rivals that it will race in the IMSA SportsCar Championship’s endurance events from the 12 Hours of Sebring onwards.

It cannot contest the Daytona 24 Hours because of a date clash with its World Endurance Championship homologation process.

“Obviously they have the pace, I think they’ve done a good job,” Diuguid told Autosport.

“Their lap count is low, which is indicative of where we were at the same time last year, but they’re on the pace and the team looks sorted, the drivers are doing a good job – we welcome them to the grid.

“I know they won’t be in Daytona, but we’ll see them in Sebring.”

Diuguid explained the Porsche wasn’t interested in producing quick laptimes with its pair of 963s during the two-day GTP test, and that it was “focused on the race – not looking at the times but listening to our drivers”.

#7: Porsche Penske Motorsports, Porsche 963, GTP: Dane Cameron, Felipe Nasr, Matt Campbell, Josef Newgarden

Photo by: Richard Dole / Motorsport Images

#7: Porsche Penske Motorsports, Porsche 963, GTP: Dane Cameron, Felipe Nasr, Matt Campbell, Josef Newgarden

He added: “Our Achilles heel this year has been endurance race performance. So, we’re really trying to improve that, looking at it from a reliability and tyre degradation perspective, so we’re not really focusing on peak performance.

“That’s really our goals for this week and looking forward to 2024 starting already.”

Porsche conducted a two-day test at Sebring in early November, while an intended slot at Daytona last month proved impossible due to repaving work near the Bus Stop chicane.

It will test again this month at Austin’s Circuit of the Americas – the venue where the WEC has shifted to from Sebring for ’24, but IMSA no longer visits. That will be the for benefit of its WEC programme but will be run by the US arm of the team.

Diuguid confirmed that the two Porsches present at Daytona this week were running in full 2024 spec.

“We have focused on reliability updates, we haven’t really taken any performance updates or anything like that,” he said. “Our two cars here are totally focused on race preparation for Daytona.

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“Honestly, our #7 car is here just focused on turning laps. I think we had the highest lap count over everybody else by 50 laps [on the opening day], and the #6 car is not too different.

“We looked at it as 17 hours of track time over two days, which is invaluable at Daytona, so we’re trying to use that as much as possible.”

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