Proton to carry out customer Porsche LMDh registrations in WEC and IMSA

The longtime Porsche GT entrant has been looking forward to getting the second customer chassis available for the WEC in 2023, where it would join the British Jota team next year.

It has now become the number one contender to get hold of the remaining chassis available to IMSA, where it would be the second Porsche customer after JDC-Miller Motorsports.

Proton had made an offer earlier this year for the remaining car available for North America, but Porsche seemed poised for a new operation set up by the owner of the IndyCar team and the winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans from 1967, AJ Foyt, in partnership with JR Hildebrand, driving for Foyt in the five oval races on the IndyCar schedule this year.

This deal now seems unlikely to go through, bringing Proton back into the picture.

Proton Competition team principal Christian Ried confirmed that his team, which will race a pair of Porsche 911 RSRs under the Dempsey-Proton Racing banner at the WEC in GTE Am, is working on plans for a dual program with the 963 in 2023.

“We want to do it, but nothing has been confirmed yet,” Ried told Autosport.

“We are still interested in both, because it is better to have two cars, even if they are in different championships.”

He explained that plans for the WEC program are more advanced than those for North America.

Porsche LMDh

Photo by: Juergen Tap / Porsche

He also admitted that it is unlikely that the Proton USA branch of the team, which will drive a Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the GT Daytona class this year, can be prepared to drive an LMDh in time for the Daytona 24 Hours IMSA. opener in January.

“Time is the issue and it’s probably already too late for Daytona,” he said.

However, it seems that the 963’s North American customers probably won’t get the cars in time for Daytona.

Thomas Laudenbach, the boss of Porsche Motorsport, said “it will be difficult” when asked if deliveries of the cars can be made on time for customers to compete against the works Porsches deployed by Penske in the opening round of the 2023 IMSA series.

“The first is that from a development point of view, the car has to be mature enough to be handed over to customers,” he explained.

“If this happens, we’ll need the parts to build the customer’s cars, which is even trickier.”

When asked if the two IMSA and two WEC cars would be ready for the SuperSebring weekend in March when the two series converge, Laudenbach said: “I would be happy if I could confirm, but there are many things out of our hands.

“We are doing everything we can to get customers’ cars on track as early as possible, but it is definitely too early to say that.”

Thomas Laudenbach, Head of Porsche Motorsport

Thomas Laudenbach, Head of Porsche Motorsport

Photo by: Andreas Beil

He admitted that Porsche is behind schedule in the development program of the 963.

Laudenbach would not comment on negotiations with Proton ahead of any announcement about the destination of the second set of customer cars.

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Porsche driver Gianmaria Bruni, who will race for Proton in the European Le Mans Series this year, has expressed a desire to race a 963 for the team next year.

“I really enjoy working with the Proton team and if they go with LMDh I would love to ride for them if they are happy to have me,” he said.

Harry Tincknell, who will be racing for Proton in GTE Am at the WEC this year, also looks like a strong contender for a spot in the WEC entry.