Porsche is “pushing” to have its LMDh car in the hands of customers “as soon as possible” according to head of Porsche Motorsport Thomas Laudenbach, who has essentially ruled out deliveries in time for the Rolex 24 at Daytona.
The German manufacturer, which has allocated four Porsche 963s for customers across the FIA World Endurance Championship and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship next year, has not yet confirmed the timeframe for when privateer teams will receive its cars.
JDC-Miller Motorsports and JOTA have been announced as initial customers alongside the planned two-car campaign from Proton Competition, split between the WEC and WeatherTech Championship next year.
With Proton team boss Christian Ried indicating that his team won’t get a car in time for Daytona and Minnesota-based JDC-Miller believed to be exploring a LMP2 entry for the WeatherTech Championship season-opener, it appears the factory Porsche Penske Motorsport squad will be the sole Porsche 963 operator at the Florida endurance classic.
Laudenbach admitted to Sportscar365 that it would be “extremely tough” to have customer cars on the grid at Daytona.
“It is very tricky and we are pushing to get them as soon as possible,” he said. “We can’t confirm any delivery dates so far.
“Not everything is in our hands. Supply chain issues are happening worldwide. There are manufacturer capacities; there are some parts where the specification could be fixed very late.
“A lot of things come together and basically this brings us into the situation that we can’t confirm the delivery dates.”
It’s believed that Porsche is working to have at least two customer cars at the ‘Super Sebring’ event in March, although it’s unclear if it would be for the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, 1000 Miles of Sebring WEC race or split between the two races.
Despite the delay in deliveries, Porsche is the only LMDh manufacturer to have offered customer cars to teams in the launch year of the platform, something Laudenbach has taken pride in.
“We said we are clearly committed to customer racing in the top class,” he said.
“Looking back at history, the 956/962, for sure that was a brave decision taken at a time when we didn’t 100 percent know how the development would go.
“We’re still the [only] ones that provide customer cars. It might happen that they would not be there for the first race; we’ll see.”
No Decision on Future Customer LMDh Allocations
Laudenbach said Porsche has not yet worked out details on its customer car allocation for 2024 and beyond, amid reports indicating that additional Porsche 963s for the WeatherTech Championship may not come until 2025.
Longstanding Porsche GT customer outfits Pfaff Motorsports and Kelly Moss have signaled interest in acquiring LMDh cars for privateer campaigns, while JOTA is targeting to expand into a two-car Hypercar class effort by as early as 2024.
“We haven’t decided,” Laudenbach said on future allocations. “Right now we’re pushing a lot for next year.
“What we’ve always said is, ‘Yeah, we are happy to provide more cars in 2024 and we’ll see how big the demand is.
“How many cars this will be, it’s not decided yet.”
Laudenbach stressed that it’s not Porsche’s objective to sell as “many cars as we can” with the manufacturer taking a more selective approach to its customer program.
“If we sell cars, we are very much interested in having top teams with us and teams who are able to win races with [top] driver lineups,” he said.
“This is the top level of endurance racing. This is always the way we follow.
“We’re also always interested in giving the best support that we can to the teams because if a Porsche comes on the track, we want to make sure that the Porsche is able to race up front.
“The team needs to be on a certain level, they need the drivers, it’s always the whole package. That’s our philosophy.”