Porsche 963 conducts successful tests on the legendary US racetrack
The Porsche Penske Motorsport team has made big progress on the way to the first race outings of the Porsche 963. During the two-day test drives at the Daytona International Speedway in the US state of Florida, the brand-new LMDh prototype lapped the combination of the oval and twisty infield a total of 397 times.
The team will face this exact track layout at the race debut of the 963 in late January 2023 on the occasion of the 24 Hours of Daytona. The 2,274-kilometre distance covered on this track during these first test runs is roughly same as driving from Stuttgart to Istanbul.
The test drives on the legendary American circuit threw tough challenges at the 500 kW (680 PS) hybrid vehicle. The external conditions, with temperatures hovering around 35 degrees Celsius combined with high humidity of over 90 per cent and regular showers, pushed man and machine to the limit – such enormous stresses offer the ideal environment to prepare the Porsche 963 for the fierce competition in the 2023 season.
On the first of two days, the team was hampered by climatic conditions: following US law, lightning strikes near the racetrack at Daytona Beach meant that all marshals had to retreat indoors to safety. Consequently, the start of the tests was delayed by 90 minutes. The new prototype, which will fight for overall victory at Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring from next year, then began its endurance run.
The works drivers Dane Cameron (USA), Matt Campbell (Australia) and Mathieu Jaminet (France) shared driving duties at the wheel of the car with chassis number 03. Under the watchful eye of the experienced American team founder Roger Penske (The Captain), the squad improved the setup of the Porsche 963 and refined the interaction between the engineers, drivers and mechanics.
Right up until 10 pm on the second day, the new racing car ran without any notable problems. The test runs concluded with a highlight: during the last few minutes, bright flashes lit up the night sky – giving a foretaste of the Porsche 963’s first race outing. At the race debut of the LMDh prototype in the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship on 28/29 January 2023, the sky above the new racing car will also be brightly illuminated: Following tradition, the organisers of the 24 Hours of Daytona will set off spectacular fireworks at dusk.
The Porsche Penske Motorsport works team tackles the 24 Hours of Le Mans with three Porsche 963. Together with the two hypercar vehicles from the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), the squad will also compete with a hybrid prototype from the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Major setbacks hampered the two Porsche 963 fielded by the Porsche Penske Motorsport factory squad at the 61st edition of the 24 Hours of Daytona. In the GTD category, the new Porsche 911 GT3 R had almost no chance due to an unfavourable Balance of Performance classification.
The two Porsche 963 fielded by the Porsche Penske Motorsport factory squad have wrapped up their first qualifying session in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with varying degrees of success. In the GTD classes, the seven Porsche 911 GT3 R secured only mediocre grid positions.