Team Penske will make its return to Porsche, having been confirmed as the German manufacturer’s partner in its LMDh effort for a global factory effort.
Announced on Tuesday, Porsche Penske Motorsport will campaign two LMDh entries in both the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and FIA World Endurance Championship beginning in the platform’s launch year in 2023.
A multi-year contract has been signed by Roger Penske, Porsche chairman Oliver Blume and Dr. Michael Steiner, a member of Porsche’s executive board for research and development.
“This is a proud day for our entire Penske organization,” said Roger Penske.
“We have represented Porsche on the track or in our businesses for more than six decades. The heritage and success we have enjoyed together is unparalleled throughout our history.
“I can’t wait to get started as we build a global racing program with Porsche that will compete for wins and championships well into the future.”
Porsche’s Blume added: “We are delighted that we were able to get Team Penske to form this partnership.
“For the first time in the history of Porsche Motorsport, our company will have a global team competing in the world’s two largest endurance series.
“To this end, we will be setting up team bases on both sides of the Atlantic.
“This will enable us to create the optimal structures we will need to take overall victories at Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring, for example.”
While Porsche and Penske’s last venture came with a single-year DP program in Grand-Am in 2009, its stint in the American Le Mans Series in 2006-08 with the Porsche RS Spyder (pictured above), which produced three consecutive LMP2 championships, has left a “lasting impact” with the manufacturer according to Head of Porsche Motorsport Fritz Enzinger.
Penske’s most recent sports car racing venture came with Acura in the WeatherTech Championship, which concluded in 2020 after a three-year run that netted two consecutive drivers’, teams’ and manufacturers’ titles.
“Team Penske has made a name for itself with an almost unparalleled success story in motorsport,” said Enzinger.
“In the long list of victories to date, however, the name Le Mans has been missing.
“I hope that we will finally be able to chalk up this success as of 2023 with Porsche Penske Motorsport.
“This would then mark Porsche’s 20th overall victory at the Sarthe – a dream come true.”
Porsche Motorsport will operate a team base out of Penske’s headquarters in Mooresville, N.C. and is set to have a presence in Europe for the WEC component of the program as well.
Customer Cars Still on Offer for “As Early” as 2023
Despite Penske’s factory program, plans are still afoot to offer the yet-to-be-named LMDh car to customers in both series by “as early” as 2023.
This would mark a change from Penske’s previous relationship with Acura, where it held exclusivity of the ARX-05 DPi package.
“Not only will we be keeping our fingers crossed for the four factory cars we have in total, but also for our customer teams,” Steiner said.
“The new LMDh vehicle will also be entered as a customer car in both series as early as the 2023 season.
“These partner teams will be given our full support. Whatever insights we gain from our factory effort will also be shared with them.”
Porsche has yet to name its chassis partner for the project although it’s widely believed to be Canadian-based firm Multimatic, which currently works with the soon-to-be-defunct Mazda DPi program.