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Porsche’s GTD Pro Approach Will Be “Exactly the Same” in 2023

Porsche Motorsport boss explains brand’s GTD Pro strategy next year when LMDh arrives…

Photo: Chris duMond/IMSA

Porsche will remain open to supporting customer teams that want to race in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s GTD Pro class next year, in addition to the upcoming launch of its factory LMDh program in the top GTP class.

Head of Porsche Motorsport Thomas Laudenbach told Sportscar365 that the German manufacturer is continuing to follow the “very clear philosophy” that it holds for top-level GT customer racing and that this won’t be interrupted by the arrival of the LMDh.

Pfaff Motorsports is Porsche’s full-time representative in the first season of GTD Pro this year, with a Porsche 911 GT3 R driven by Matt Campbell and Mathieu Jaminet.

The Canadian squad’s 2023 program has not been announced, while it is currently unclear where Campbell and Jaminet will be stationed next year as Porsche figures out the roles for its squad of factory drivers amid the launch of the LMDh program.

Porsche Penske Motorsport will run a pair of factory LMDh cars in GTP with the full driver lineup expected to be confirmed later this year.

“Pfaff, for example, is a good team and if they decide for themselves without us that they want to race there, we will sit together with them and talk about the support,” Laudenbach said.

“But it’s their decision. That’s how we did it in the past, and we think that’s the healthy way to do it. This will be exactly the same way next year.

“For sure, looking at Le Mans, the GT3 class will be even more important because we won’t see GTE cars anymore [after 2023]. But there is, for us, no need to change the philosophy that’s behind it.”

Laudenbach stressed that Porsche does not intend to run factory cars in GTD Pro.

Its approach to GTD Pro mirrors how it supports Pro-level GT3 teams in other high-profile competitions such as the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa and, as of this season, DTM.

“With the GT3 R, it’s a very clear philosophy,” Laudenbach said.

“Whatever happens with the GT3 R, whether in IMSA or another championship, it is very high-level professional customer sport. We have a clear philosophy on how we support these series.

“We are not considering a factory entry, definitely not. I think the system that we have run now for many years with support is very good. It is dependent on which team and series it is: we have a certain system there, and it’s not going to change.

“I think what we do is successful. I think it’s the right way besides the support through our drivers, there is additional support in terms of performance and small financial support, but that [monetary backing] is really minor.

“They have to finance themselves and we are in the background. We want to keep it like that.

“And I’m not happy if any other manufacturer would enter this as a factory entry because I think that’s wrong. Our system is not going to change. We will carry on as we have.”

Asked why he is against manufacturers fielding works entries in GTD Pro, Laudenbach said he would prefer every organization to approach the class “in the same way”.

Chevrolet and BMW are represented by full-time factory team entries in Pro; the former with its modified Chevrolet Corvette C8.R that was originally built to GTE regulations, and the latter with an RLL-prepared BMW M4 GT3.

RLL is running the BMW M LMDh prototype next year and is due to leave the GTD Pro category as a result, although Munich is open to the possibility of supporting customer teams that choose to enter the top GT class.

“I don’t think it’s my job to tell IMSA what to do,” Laudenbach said.

“What I appreciate is that they have a clear vision, which they announced. If I had free choice I think it would be good if everybody is handling it in the same way.

“Everybody can make up their minds if they accept these circumstances. Fine for me. For us, it is clear that we are not intending to enter something that we would call a factory entry.

“That is not what we want to do. Especially because we are racing in LMDh. We are [also] racing in a top level in Formula E, so I think that’s enough. We have a lot of customer cars.

“So I think the overall picture of Porsche Motorsport is in a good shape. It is a system that works pretty well. Why should we change it?

“I also think it’s good that we leave GT3 for teams like Pfaff, that they have the chance to go for an overall win, which happened this year in Daytona. It was great racing and one of the best things you can do for GT sport.”

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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