A preview to the Daytona 24 Hours with 9 Porsches on the start grid.

Porsche 963, Porsche Penske Motorsport (#7), Matt Campbell (AUS), Felipe Nasr (BR), Michael Christensen (DK)
After almost twelve months of preparation with the new hybrid Porsche 963 prototype, things are about to get serious for Porsche Penske Motorsport. On 20 January, the 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season kicks off with the so-called “ROAR Before the 24”. This three-day test at the Daytona International Speedway in the US state of Florida is used to set up the cars and to qualify for the 24-hour race. The endurance classic will be held from 28 to 29 January at the same venue. The new Porsche 911 GT3 R will also be showcased on an international stage at this event. Seven of the GT3 vehicles, based on the 992 generation of the 911, will tackle the American endurance classic.
 
Porsche 963, Porsche Penske Motorsport (#6), Mathieu Jaminet (F), Nick Tandy (UK), Dane Cameron (USA)
 

Maiden race for the Porsche 963

After more than 30,000 test kilometres, the two Porsche 963 tackle their first race in the new GTP class of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship on the last weekend in January. As stated in the regulations, the new hybrid prototypes will fight for overall victory at the long-distance classic in Florida. At the World Center of Racing, the ca. 500 kW (680 PS) Porsche 963 will go up against rival vehicles from BMW, Cadillac and Acura. The newly developed Porsche 911 GT3 R also celebrates its race premiere. Five customer teams field a total of seven up to 416 kW (565 PS) GT3 racers in the GTD Pro and GTD categories.

Thomas Laudenbach (Vice President Motorsport)

“We’re very much looking forward to the Daytona season opener,” exclaims Thomas Laudenbach, Vice President Porsche Motorsport. “With the new Porsche 963, we’re finally back fighting for overall victories in the world’s biggest endurance events. Our Porsche Penske Motorsport squad and our drivers and specialists from the Weissach Development Centre have done absolutely everything to develop the 963 into a fast and reliable prototype. We’re curious to see how the competition will perform at Daytona, not only in the new top GTP class but also in the GTD categories with the new Porsche 911 GT3 R.”

One year since first test laps

The new Porsche 963 turned its first laps in January 2022 on Porsche’s test area in Weissach. The prototype then covered more than 30,000 kilometres on racetracks in Europe and North America. “We learned a lot from these tests and we experienced ups and downs in the process,” recalls Urs Kuratle. The Director Factory Motorsport LMDh adds: “We set ourselves the goal of reaching the 30,000-kilometre mark in the tests and we achieved this. We’ll use the ‘Roar’ at Daytona to continue tweaking the car as perfectly as possible for the race. We’ve worked hard towards putting ourselves in the best possible position for the start of the IMSA season.”

“Porsche Motorsport, the Penske team, Multimatic, Michelin and other partners have spent almost two years in a development phase,” says Jonathan Diuguid, Managing Director Porsche Penske Motorsport. “We’ve all pulled together to get the Porsche 963 as optimally prepared as possible for the upcoming challenge. We’ll go up against our rivals for the first time at the 24 Hours of Daytona. Before the lights turn green on race day Saturday, it’s difficult to predict how the scenario will unfold. We’ve done all we can to get the season off to a promising start. We’ll receive support at Daytona from our Porsche colleagues in the FIA World Endurance Championship WEC as well as our digital links to the Porsche Development Centre in Weissach and our European base in Mannheim.”

Seven new Porsche 911 GT3 R contest the GTD Pro and GTD classes

Porsche 911 GT3 R, Pfaff Motorsports (#9), Klaus Bachler (A), Patrick Pilet (F), Laurens Vanthoor (B)

The new Porsche 911 GT3 R has completed around 24,000 test kilometers and three trial runs. As part of the test program, in autumn 2022, the systematically modified GT3 vehicle from Weissach took part in three rounds of the Nürburgring Endurance Series (NLS), where it underlined its potential. “We’re facing a huge challenge. Our new GT3 racer contests its first official race on the big international stage at Daytona,” outlines Sebastian Golz, Project Manager Porsche 911 GT3 R, ahead of the opening round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. “An average speed of more than 190 km/h in the race as well as the unique track characteristics with its steeply banked turns put huge stresses on the cars at the very first race of the year. We’re very much looking forward to tackling this challenge with seven Porsche 911 GT3 R fielded by five strong partner teams.”

The Porsche drivers and teams

Porsche 963, Porsche Penske Motorsport (#7), Matt Campbell (AUS), Felipe Nasr (BR), Michael Christensen (DK)
Porsche 963, Porsche Penske Motorsport (#7), Matt Campbell (AUS), Felipe Nasr (BR), Michael Christensen (DK)

 

Six works drivers share the cockpits of the two Porsche 963 fielded by the new Porsche Penske Motorsport team in the GTP class. Nick Tandy from England and Mathieu Jaminet from France are the regular drivers in the No. 6 car. The two seasoned professionals receive reinforcement at the endurance event in Daytona from the American Dane Cameron. Sharing driving duties in the No. 7 car for the 2023 season are Australia’s Matt Campbell and Felipe Nasr from Brazil. Michael Christensen from Denmark supports the duo at the 24-hour race.

In the GTD Pro class, the defending champions from Pfaff Motorsports put their trust in an experienced line-up from the extended Porsche driver squad. Austria’s Klaus Bachler contests the whole season as a regular driver with Frenchman Patrick Pilet. At Daytona, works driver Laurens Vanthoor from Belgium joins the crew in the No. 9 Porsche 911 GT3 R. In the GTD category, last year’s winners from Wright Motorsports (No. 16) rely on Ryan Hardwick from the USA, Jan Heylen from Belgium, Zacharie Robichon from Canada and the Norwegian Porsche contract driver Dennis Olsen.

Porsche 963, Porsche Penske Motorsport (#7), Matt Campbell (AUS), Felipe Nasr (BR), Michael Christensen (DK)
Porsche 963, Porsche Penske Motorsport (#7), Matt Campbell (AUS), Felipe Nasr (BR), Michael Christensen (DK)

The French works driver Kévin Estre, among others, helms the second 911 (No. 77) fielded by the customer team from the US state of Ohio. The squad from Kelly-Moss with Riley celebrates its debut in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with two more Porsche 911 GT3 R. The successful team from the Porsche Carrera Cup North America has signed on Julien Andlauer from France, New Zealander Jaxon Evans, the experienced Dutch racer Jeroen Bleekemolen and his young compatriot Kay van Berlo. MDK Motorsports has a particularly prominent line-up for its GT3 racing car: Formula 1 driver Kevin Magnussen from Denmark shares the No. 53 cockpit with his father Jan and the Americans Mark Kvamme and Trenton Estep. AO Racing’s entry is manned by British drivers Harry Tincknell and Sebastian Priaulx, among others.

An overview of the drivers and teams

GTP class (Porsche 963):

Porsche Penske Motorsport (#6): Dane Cameron (USA), Mathieu Jaminet (F), Nick Tandy (UK)
Porsche Penske Motorsport (#7): Matt Campbell (AUS), Michael Christensen (DK), Felipe Nasr (BR)

GTD Pro class (Porsche 911 GT3 R):
Pfaff Motorsports (#9): Klaus Bachler (A), Patrick Pilet (F), Laurens Vanthoor (B)

GTD class (Porsche 911 GT3 R):
Wright Motorsports (#16): Ryan Hardwick (USA), Jan Heylen (B), Dennis Olsen (N), Zacharie Robichon (CDN)
MDK Motorsports (#53): Trenton Estep (USA), Mark Kvamme (USA), Jan Magnussen (DK), Kevin Magnussen (DK)
Wright Motorsports (#77): Alan Brynjolfsson (USA), Kévin Estre (F), Trent Hindman (USA), Max Root (USA)
AO Racing (#80): PJ Hyett (USA), Gunnar Jeannette (USA), Sebastian Priaulx (UK), Harry Tincknell (UK)
Kelly-Moss with Riley (#91): Julien Andlauer (F), Kay van Berlo (NL), Jaxon Evans (NZ), Alan Metni (USA)
Kelly-Moss with Riley (#92): Jeroen Bleekemolen (NL), David Brule (USA), Andrew Davis (USA), Alec Udel (USA)

The schedule (local time, CET -6 hours)
Friday, 20 January
11:00 am to 12:30 pm: Test session 1
4:15 pm to 6:00 pm: Test session 2

Saturday, 21 January
11:15 am to 12:45 pm: Test session 3
3:10 pm to 4:10 pm: Test session 4
6:30 pm to 8:30 pm: Test session 5

Sunday, 22 January
1:25 pm to 1:40 pm: Qualifying GTD-Pro/GTD
2:40 pm to 3:00 pm: Qualifying GTP

Thursday, 26 January
11:05 am to 12:35 pm: Free practice 1
3:20 pm to 5:05 pm: Free practice 2
7:15 pm to 9:00 pm: Free practice 3

Friday, 27 January
11:20 am to 12:20 pm: Free practice 4
6:25 pm to 6:45 pm: Free practice 5 (only GTP class)

Saturday, 28 January
1:40 pm: Start 24-hour race

Sunday, 29 January
1:40 pm: Chequered flag 24-hour race

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Edited Porsche Factory Press Release
Pictures courtesy Porsche AG