The Partnership Will See Two Entries Each in the WeatherTech Championship and World Endurance Championship
By Mark Robinson
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Two legendary names in motorsports – Porsche and Penske – are reuniting to take on global sports car racing at the top level.
Porsche Motorsport and Team Penske announced Tuesday that the organizations will collaborate to field entries in the new LMDh prototype class in 2023, competing both in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and FIA World Endurance Championship. Porsche Penske Motorsport, as the partnership is named, will have two cars in each of the series as it chases victory at the most prolific endurance races in the world, including the Rolex 24 At Daytona, Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring Presented by Advance Auto Parts and 24 Hours of Le Mans.
“We are delighted that we were able to get Team Penske to form this partnership,” said 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.”
The multiyear agreement brings back together two of the most successful motorsports operations, a relationship that began nearly five decades ago in the Can-Am series with back-to-back championships in the Porsche 917/10 for drivers George Follmer and Mark Donohue. Porsche and Penske paired up again to win three consecutive IMSA titles in the Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) class from 2006-2008, the Porsche RS Spyder often beating the faster Le Mans Prototype 1 (LMP1) competitors.
“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,” said Fritz Enzinger, Head of Porsche Motorsport. “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.”
Team Penske most recently operated a two-car Daytona Prototype international (DPi) operation with Acura in the WeatherTech Championship, capturing season titles in 2019 and 2020 before shuttering the program. The U.S. portion of the Porsche LMDh program will be based at the Penske headquarters in Mooresville, North Carolina, that also houses the team’s NASCAR and IndyCar programs.
“This is a proud day for our entire Penske organization,” said Roger Penske, Chairman of Team Penske. “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. 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.”
In addition to the effort with Team Penske, Porsche will offer the LMDh cars to customer teams that will have access to all data from the factory program.
“Our intention is to support and shape the new era with our LMDh prototypes,” Dr. Michael Steiner, Porsche Board Member for Research and Development, said. “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.”
LMDh, which replaces DPi as the WeatherTech Championship’s top-tier competition class in 2023, is based on a cost-capped car generating more than 670 horsepower (500 kilowatts) from the combined output of an internal combustion engine and a hybrid powertrain.
The standardized LMDh chassis will be built by one of four approved constructors (Dallara, Ligier, Multimatic and ORECA), with competing automobile manufacturers open to developing their own branded engine and stylized bodywork. Bosch, Williams Advanced Engineering and Xtrac will work in concert to provide the spec hybrid powertrain system for all LMDh cars.