Porsche happy with Daytona test progress for 963 LMDh car

Thomas Laudenbach, chief executive of Porsche Motorsport, described the site testing ahead of the hybrid prototype’s racing debut in the January Daytona 24 Hours, the opening round of the 2023 IMSA SportsCar Championship, as “a good step forward”.

“I am happy to see that we have made progress,” Laudenbach told Autosport.

“The [development] The corner went up and we put in a lot of miles, which is good.”

The test conducted by the Porsche Penske Motorsport team coincided with a revised version of the Bosch-developed motor-generator unit of the universal LMDh hybrid system, a part dubbed “version 2.2” by Porsche insiders.

But Laudenbach did not describe the run at Daytona as a breakthrough test for the 963, which will take Porsche back to the pinnacle of sports car racing in both IMSA and the World Endurance Championship next year.

“I’m happy with the progress, but there’s still a lot of work to do, so I think it’s too early to say if it was a turning point,” he explained.

“I don’t want to be too negative, but it’s not done yet.”

Laudenbach admitted that development of the Porsche LMDh, which for the first time was at least six months ahead of rival machines from BMW, Cadillac and Acura, is “still behind schedule”.

Porsche 963 LMDh

Photo by: Porsche

His comments came after Porsche confirmed it has dropped all plans to contest the Bahrain World Endurance Championship final in November with the 963 on a no-points, invitation-only basis to focus on testing.

Porsche will struggle to deliver the customer cars destined for the IMSA series next year in time to race at Daytona at the end of January, Laudenbach admitted.

He also declined to commit to the WEC customer’s Porsches attending their first race of the season, the Sebring 1000 Miles, in mid-March.

The single 963 present at Daytona covered more than 2,200km in the hands of Dane Cameron, Mathieu Jaminet and Matt Campbell over the course of two days, including wet weather and nighttime running.

It followed the first US test for Porsche’s new LMDh at Sebring in July, which lasted five days.

The Daytona test was also attended by Cadillac and Acura with their respective V-LMDh and ARX-06 candidates.

Cadillac had two cars on hand, with one run by each of its factory teams for next season, Chip Ganassi Racing and Action Express Racing, and single-chassis Acura, provided by Wayne Taylor Racing.