Exciting news for fans of endurance racing as Porsche returns to Le Mans. The announcement was made in Stuttgart earlier today as Porsche Motorsport and Team Penske have agreed to collaborate closely in fielding the new LMDh class vehicles commencing in 2023. This news comes a few months after stablemate Audi also announced a return to endurance racing (as we covered here).
Porsche is the most successful team in terms of outright victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The outfit has 19 overall wins and countless class victories to its name. It will compete against the likes of Toyota, Alpine, Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus and Peugeot in upcoming years.
Team Penske is well known for its exploits in the US. The US team will work together with Porsche Motorsport to run factory entries in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) and the North American IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship (IWSC).
Two LMDh prototypes will compete for overall victories in the top class of each of the two racing series either side of the Atlantic. The prototypes will be entered by Porsche customer teams in both championships as early as 2023. The cars, which weigh approximately 1 000 kilograms are based on an LMP2 chassis. They will be powered by a 500 kW hybrid drivetrain.
Penske and Porsche have tasted success together in the past. With the Porsche RS Spyder, Team Penske had taken all the titles in the LMP2 class for three years in succession between 2006 and 2008. Back in the 1970s, the US-based team had already been extremely successful with the legendary Porsche 917 in the Can-Am series.
In their own words
Oliver Blume, chairman of the executive board of Porsche AG: “We are delighted that we were able to get Team Penske to form this partnership. 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.”
Fritz Enzinger, head of Porsche Motorsport: “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. 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.”
Roger Penske: “This is a proud day for our entire Penske organization. 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.”