Proton Competition is planning to continue in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship next year despite the elimination of the GT Le Mans class, with a GT3 program on tap according to team boss Christian Ried.
The German squad, operators of WeatherTech Racing’s Porsche 911 RSR-19, has made a significant investment into this year’s GTLM program, including shipping two of its European-style transporters Stateside along with Porsche support.
Drivers Cooper MacNeil, Mathieu Jaminet and Matt Campbell are coming off top class honors at the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring and head into this weekend’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen sitting second in the championship.
While yet to be officially confirmed, Ried said the plan would be to continue with the WeatherTech program next year in either GT Daytona or the new-for-2021 GTD Pro class with a Porsche 911 GT3 R.
“We’d like to stay here for a bit longer, not just for this season,” Ried told Sportscar365. “We’ll see for next year but I think we’ll be doing a GT3 R as unfortunately GTE will be stopped.”
When asked which class the car would run in, Ried said it’s ultimately up to MacNeil.
“It depends on what Cooper wants and his plan for next year,” Ried said. “Then we will see.”
Whichever class the program ends up in, it would mark the first GT3 car the longtime Porsche customer team has campaigned.
“We’ve never run a GT3 [car] before,” Ried said. “We have the RSRs, we have a Cup car and Clubsports but we’ve never run a GT3.
“In the end, it’s still a car so I’m pretty sure the guys can handle it.
“We really like this championship. It’s really great to be here and to see the racing. It’s great racing until the end of the race.”
Proton Has Held Discussions on Porsche LMDh Customer Program
Ried confirmed he’s had discussions with Porsche factory motorsports director Pascal Zurlinden on the prospects of acquiring the German manufacturer’s new LMDh car for potential programs in both the WeatherTech Championship and FIA World Endurance Championship in 2023.
While paddock rumors have indicated that two Porsche LMDh customer cars have already been accounted for, Ried said he wouldn’t place an order without knowing the price of the car, which is understood to not yet have been communicated.
“It’s quite early,” he said. “For sure we are looking at LMDh, even for WEC, but first we have to see what’s going on there, what are the budgets and then we can make a decision and our future plans.
“For sure we are having a look at it because we need something after GTE, also in WEC.
“If we can do LMDh in both IMSA and WEC it would be cool. If nothing else, we’ll have GT3 as an option.
“I’ve asked Porsche and I’m still waiting on the cost of the [LMDh] car.
“It’s difficult to sell a car without knowing the price. I first need the numbers. Then we will see.”