Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific Selected Driver Yifei Ye, from China, will compete in the FIA World Endurance Championship 2023 with the Porsche 963. The 22-year-old is joining Hertz Team JOTA in the WEC’s LMDh class, following a strong 2022 campaign in both GT and prototype racing.
The seven-round WEC calendar travels to three continents and some of the world’s most incredible circuits, with the jewel in the crown being the 100th anniversary running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Porsche’s LMDh car, the Porsche 963, made its first appearance in China at the Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific Night of Champions on Saturday (12 November), where it was announced that Ye will continue in his role as the first ever Chinese Selected Driver in 2023.
Unveiled at the 2022 Goodwood Festival of Speed, and set to make its racing debut at the 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona in January, the hybrid Porsche is powered by a twin-turbocharged V8 engine. It marks the Stuttgart-based sports car manufacturer’s return to the top class of the WEC for the first time since 2017.
Ye was first announced as the Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific Selected Driver at the Night of Champions last year, following an excellent debut campaign in endurance racing, where he won both the Asian Le Mans Series and European Le Mans Series. The Chinese driver returned to the Middle East earlier this season, racing for Herberth Motorsport in a Porsche 911 GT3 R, securing a podium finish in the final event. He continued his diverse 2022 programme with a return to prototypes for the European Le Mans Series, taking a pole position and three podiums for COOL Racing.
Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific is dedicated to developing drivers to become the best racers they can be, from professionals like Ye down to beginners taking to the track for the first time. In 2022, Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific committed to this by introducing GT Trackday, a programme targeted at beginner racers. The organisation also runs the popular Porsche Sports Cup China and the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia, which brings together more experienced drivers.
The Night of Champions is a celebration of Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific’s activities across the year. In addition to Ye’s announcement, trophies were also handed out to the Porsche Carrera Cup Asia champions from 2022, with JUNJIE Racing’s Leo Ye, R&B Racing’s Lu Wei and Triple Ace Racing’s Henry Kwong all picking up their awards for winning the Overall, Pro-Am and Am titles respectively. JUNJIE Racing also took home the Porsche Dealer Trophy in their first appearance in the series. The championship and special awards for the Porsche Sports Cup China, which includes the Porsche Drivers Competition and the Porsche Sprint Challenge China, were also handed out on the night.
The Porsche Sports Cup China was further expanded for the 2022 season, with more than 500 Porsche road cars and racing cars taking part throughout the year.
Yifei Ye, Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific Selected Driver: “Just over a year ago I was announced as the Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific Selected Driver and now I’ll be joining Hertz Team JOTA for 2023, racing in a Porsche 963! It’s a dream come true for me to be able to fight for overall victory at Le Mans in a Porsche. With such a successful team in endurance racing, I believe we stand a good chance to fight at the top. I’m very excited for the challenge and I can’t wait to get started. A big thanks to Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific and Porsche Motorsport for making it happen.”
Michael Dreiser, Sales Director Porsche Motorsport: “Yifei has proven himself as an exceptional driver in endurance racing, so we’re very excited he remains part of the Porsche family and it’s great news he will race for Hertz Team JOTA as a customer in a Porsche 963. We’re very happy to have the team as a customer and to have the Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific Selected Driver race for them makes it even better. We wish Yifei and the team all the best for the season ahead and look forward to seeing them on track.”
Alexandre Gibot, Managing Director Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific: “I’m delighted that Yifei will remain as the Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific Selected Driver in 2023 and we’re all extremely excited for him to race in the LMDh class with Hertz Team JOTA. Yifei’s had a really positive first year with us and we’re confident he can have even more success in the Porsche 963 in WEC next season. Yifei’s move up to the LMDh class also fits with our aims of helping drivers move up the motorsport ladder, so we can’t wait for the season to begin.”
Michael Kirsch, President and CEO of Porsche China: “I am delighted to see all these drivers and teams honoured on the Night of Champions. Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific has successfully held a full season this year despite numerous challenges, and we believe that the next season will be even stronger and more exciting. In the future, we will continue to unswervingly promote the development of Chinese motorsport and help cultivate even more racing talents. I also wish Yifei Ye good luck and more breakthroughs in the coming season.”
Sky Qiao, Vice President of Marketing, Porsche China: “To have Yifei racing for Hertz Team JOTA in the Porsche LMDh next year is amazing. It’s Yifei’s dream to become the first Chinese racer to win the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and Porsche, as a brand driven by dreamers, are committed to helping him work toward achieving that goal. It’s also a pleasure to have a driver of Yifei’s calibre representing Porsche and the region, and we look forward to closely following his programme in 2023.”
2023 WEC calendar:
17 March – 1000 Miles of Sebring
16 April – 6 Hours of Portimao
29 April – 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps
10 & 11 June – 24 Hours of Le Mans
9 July – 6 Hours of Monza
10 September – 6 Hours of Fuji
4 November – 8 Hours of Bahrain