Porsche and Penske unite to run new LMDh prototype in WEC, IMSA

Penske will mastermind Porsche's factory return to top-line sportscar racing with a new LMDh prototype in both the World Endurance Championship and the IMSA SportsCar Championship from 2023.

Porsche and Penske unite to run new LMDh prototype in WEC, IMSA

The American multi-discipline operation will renew its partnership with the German manufacturer to run a pair of LMP2-based LMDh contenders in both series under the Porsche Penske Motorsport banner.

Penske and Porsche previously enjoyed success together in North American sportscar racing: they won the Can-Am title in 1972 and '73 with the 917, and then claimed a hat-trick of American Le Mans class titles with the RS Spyder LMP2 in 2006-08, as well as winning 11 races outright.

PLUS: Is this the greatest racing car of all time?

The most recent Porsche/Penske programme came in 2009 in the Grand-Am series with a Riley Daytona Prototype powered by one of the German manufacturer's flat-six engines.

The renewal of Penske's relationship with Porsche follows the end of its deal with Honda brand Acura at the conclusion of last year's IMSA series.

No timeframe has been put on the deal except, according to Porsche's statement, that it will run for "a number of years".

Fritz Enzinger, head of Porsche Motorsport, said: "Porsche and Penske share a proven track record of success.

"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 La Sarthe."

Team founder Roger Penske, who has made no secret of his desire to take his squad back to the Le Mans 24 Hours for the first time since 1971, described the announcement of the return to the Porsche fold as a "a proud day for the entire Penske organisation".

 

"We have represented Porsche on the track or in our businesses for more than six decades," he said.

"The heritage and success we have enjoyed together is unparalleled throughout our history.

“I can’t wait to get started as we build a global racing programme with Porsche that will compete for wins and championships well into the future.”

Porsche chairman Oliver Blume pointed out that it will be "the first time in the history of Porsche Motorsport that 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," he continued.

"This will enable us to create the optimal structures we will need to take overall victories at Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring, for example."

The LMDh factory race programme will be based at Penske's headquarters in Mooresville, North Carolina, but it has yet to be revealed from where it will mastermind the WEC campaign.

PLUS: When Penske built the world's fastest Ferrari

Porsche also reiterated its intention to have customer cars on the grid in both the WEC and IMSA from the beginning of the programme in 2023.

"We are looking for a mix of factory and customer cars from the beginning," said Porsche head of factory motorsport Pascal Zurlinden.

He revealed that the marque's LMDh contender is scheduled to be up and running before the end of this year.

No announcement has been made on which of the four constructors licensed to build the next-generation of P2 car Porsche has chosen to work with.

Zurlinden stated that all the "major concept decisions", including the chassis partner and choice of engine, have been made and that there will be a further announcement later this month.

He would not elaborate on the scope of the co-operation with Audi mentioned last week when Porsche's sister marque announced further details of its LMDh programme.

Zurlinden refused to confirm that both manufacturers have chosen to work with Multimatic Motorsport and that they will use the same engine.

shares
comments

Related video

Alpine wants WEC BoP changes to address fuel mileage concerns

Previous article

Alpine wants WEC BoP changes to address fuel mileage concerns

Load comments

About this article

Series WEC , IMSA
Teams Team Penske
Author Gary Watkins
How stumbling Toyota drew first blood in the WEC's new era Plus

How stumbling Toyota drew first blood in the WEC's new era

Amid concerns that the new Hypercar class would be upstaged on debut by the spec LMP2 machines at Spa, Toyota delivered the pole and victory that the vast majority of observers expected. But neither car had a clean run, which gave the grandfathered Alpine LMP1 an unexpected shot at glory

WEC
May 4, 2021
Seven things to watch in the 2021 World Endurance Championship Plus

Seven things to watch in the 2021 World Endurance Championship

Beyond the slender grid of headline-grabbing hypercars, there are numerous subplots and changes to look out for in the new season of the WEC, which gets underway at Spa this weekend. Here's the seven key things you need to know about

WEC
Apr 30, 2021
What to expect from sportscar racing's bold new Hypercar era Plus

What to expect from sportscar racing's bold new Hypercar era

A slim field of three cars will be entered in the Hypercar class for the first round of the World Endurance Championship's post-LMP1 age. But there are plenty of reasons for optimism with the new wave of manufacturer entries and competing class philosophies just around the corner

WEC
Apr 29, 2021
How Aston Martin Racing scaled new heights in the Prodrive era Plus

How Aston Martin Racing scaled new heights in the Prodrive era

The 2021 World Endurance Championship kicks off at Spa this weekend, but for the first time since its 2012 inception there will be no works Aston Martins in the GTE-Pro class. As its new era in Formula 1 begins, Aston leaves behind a legacy of success courtesy of its Prodrive-run factory programme that was a hit from the word go in 2005

WEC
Apr 27, 2021
How 'Brilliant' Bob Wollek lived up to his nickname Plus

How 'Brilliant' Bob Wollek lived up to his nickname

Sportscar racing lost one of it's greatest talents 20 years ago today when Bob Wollek was knocked from his bicycle prior to the Sebring 12 Hours. The enigmatic Frenchman never won the Le Mans 24 Hours, but many still remember today why 'Brilliant Bob' became a legend

WEC
Mar 16, 2021
Top 10 moments of an underrated British great Plus

Top 10 moments of an underrated British great

Brian Redman was one of the best sportscar drivers of the 1960s and 1970s, as well as a three-time champion on the fearsome American Formula 5000 scene. To celebrate his 84th birthday Autosport contacted him about his best races – and he decided to write the piece himself…

WEC
Mar 9, 2021
How an endurance racing boom could help one of LMP2's top teams Plus

How an endurance racing boom could help one of LMP2's top teams

The G-Drive squad has been a mainstay of endurance racing in recent years, and has linked up with Russian manufacturer Aurus in recent years to promote its brand. With a change of rules in endurance racing's top tables, the team could be well-placed to take advantage of a potential boom...

WEC
Mar 7, 2021
How Ferrari’s Hypercar project could bolster Leclerc’s legacy Plus

How Ferrari’s Hypercar project could bolster Leclerc’s legacy

OPINION: Ferrari's planned return to the top category at the Le Mans 24 Hours has further heightened anticipation for the 2023 race. Few concrete details are currently known, but already it has a high-profile superstar angling for involvement, which would make a refreshing change

WEC
Mar 5, 2021