Motorsport

Porsche Penske Motorsport heads to Long Beach as the series leader

Porsche 963, Porsche Penske Motorsport (#7), Dane Cameron (USA), Felipe Nasr (BR)

Porsche Penske Motorsport is returning to the stage of its first race victory. This coming Saturday (20 April), the works team will race through the streets of Long Beach with two Porsche 963. In 2023, the German sports car brand’s new hybrid prototype achieved its maiden win on the spectacular street circuit. Porsche travels to round three of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season as the series leader. Thanks to its victory at the Daytona season opener and another podium result in Sebring, Porsche Penske Motorsport are joint leaders at the top of the manufacturers’ standings heading into the Long Beach race

The Porsche Penske Motorsport team switches to sprint mode for round three of the season. After the 24-hour race in Daytona and the twelve-hour race in Sebring, Long Beach will host a short 100-minute sprint. Last year the IMSA team showed its full potential here. UK driver Nick Tandy and Mathieu Jaminet from France clinched the first race victory for the Porsche 963 thanks to a brilliant tactical masterstroke by the team. The outfit now aims to repeat this success next weekend.

Long Beach 2023: First race victory for the Porsche 963
Long Beach 2023: First race victory for the Porsche 963

“The race in Long Beach was a major milestone for us last year. The first victory with our new car, both vehicles on the podium – simply fantastic,” recalls Thomas Laudenbach. The Vice President Porsche Motorsport adds: “Our goal is to repeat such a success and defend our championship lead. After two real long-distance races, we’re now facing a short sprint on a spectacular street circuit. The conditions are completely different than at Daytona and Sebring, but we are perfectly prepared.”

“The streets of Long Beach are a special place for the Porsche Penske Motorsport team. It’s here that we took the first-ever win for the Porsche 963,” explains Jonathan Diuguid, Managing Director Porsche Penske Motorsport. “This is the first of the shorter format races and it will take perfect execution by the team and the drivers to repeat last year’s triumph. Our global team has been performing at a very high level in 2024, and we look forward to the next challenge.”

Drivers’ comments ahead of the race

Nick Tandy and Mathieu Jaminet – Porsche Penske Motorsport

Mathieu Jaminet (Porsche 963 #6): “Since the end of last year, we’ve struck bad luck with our number 6 car – on the way to possible success, we were hampered by one thing or another at the 2023 season finale and in the first two races of this year. Let’s hope that changes. Twelve months ago we won in Long Beach thanks to first-class tactics. At that time we were down to the last tread on our tyres. This season we are competing with a new product from Michelin. Let’s see how the modified tyre will hold up in Long Beach. I’m really looking forward to the race and I’m determined to go home with as big a trophy as possible at the end.”

Dane Cameron (Porsche 963 #7): “After the two longest races of the year, now comes the shortest of the entire season. That’s always a bit of a shock on the IMSA calendar. I really like the special challenges that the Long Beach street circuit throws at us. In 2023 I was racing in the FIA WEC and so I missed this sprint – such a shame. The narrow circuit takes no prisoners when you make a mistake. If we get over the distance cleanly, we’ll hopefully have a chance of scoring our second win of the season.”

Porsche 963, Proton Competition (#5), Gianmaria Bruni (I), Mike Rockenfeller (D)
Porsche 963, Proton Competition (#5), Gianmaria Bruni (I), Mike Rockenfeller (D)

Gianmaria Bruni (Porsche 963 #5): “The last time I was in Long Beach was in 2010. Back then the racing series was still called the American Le Mans Series – that was a long time ago! At last, I get the chance to push the Porsche 963 to the limit on a street circuit. The track is steeped in tradition and simply wonderful. Driving a Le Mans prototype there will be truly spectacular. I need to prepare for the twisty course in the race simulator over the coming days. I’m very excited to see what we’ll achieve there.”

Richard Westbrook (Porsche 963 #85): “Long Beach is something completely different than the venues of the first two races of the season. But there are parallels when it comes to the setup: the track is about as bumpy as Sebring but a street circuit doesn’t have many direction changes. The race only lasts 100 minutes so it’s not a classic endurance event. Our GTP cars can drive around 55 minutes per stint so I expect it’ll be a classic one-stop race for everyone – it’s a shame really because this leaves little room for different strategies. Tyre durability is the focus. In Long Beach, I hope we can maintain the same good pace as in Sebring.”

An overview of the drivers and teams
GTP class (Porsche 963)
Proton Competition #5: Gianmaria Bruni (I) / Mike Rockenfeller (D)
Porsche Penske Motorsport #6: Mathieu Jaminet (F) / Nick Tandy (UK)
Porsche Penske Motorsport #7: Dane Cameron (USA) / Felipe Nasr (BR)
JDC-Miller MotorSports #85: Tijmen van der Helm (NL) / Richard Westbrook (UK)

Porsche 963, JDC-Miller MotorSports (#85), Tijmen van der Helm (NL), Richard Westbrook (UK), Phil Hanson (UK)

GTD class (Porsche 911 GT3 R)
Andretti Motorsports #43: Jarett Andretti (USA) / Gabby Chaves (COL)
MDK Motorsports #86: Anders Fjordbach (DK) / Kerong Li (CHN)
Wright Motorsports #120: Adam Adelson (USA) / Elliott Skeer (USA)

The schedule (local time, CEST -9 hours)
Friday, 19 April
09:00 hrs – 10:00 hrs: Free practice 1
12:50 hrs – 14:20 hrs: Free practice 2
17:00 hrs – 17:15 hrs: Qualifying GTD class
17:25 hrs – 17:40 hrs: Qualifying GTP class

Saturday, 20 April
13:35 hrs – 15:15 hrs: Race

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Edited Porsche Factory Press Release
Pictures & Video courtesy Porsche AG