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Porsche Confirms Eight-Driver Lineup for Works LMDh Program

Porsche selects group of eight drivers to campaign the 963 LMDh car next year…

Photo: Porsche

Porsche has named a lineup of eight drivers that will campaign the manufacturer’s LMDh car in pursuit of overall victories in major endurance races and championships next year.

Kevin Estre, Michael Christensen, Andre Lotterer, Laurens Vanthoor, Matt Campbell and Mathieu Jaminet join the previously-announced Felipe Nasr and Dane Cameron in Porsche’s competition roster for its return to top-level prototype racing.

Exact driver combinations for Porsche Penske Motorsport’s programs in the FIA World Endurance Championship Hypercar class and the IMSA WeatherTech Championship GTP class, both with two factory cars, have not been set.

Furthermore, Porsche will pick a later date for other lineup announcements, including additional drivers for the Michelin Endurance Cup races at Daytona, Sebring and Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta.

The full-time lineup that will campaign the Porsche 963 around the world draws on experience from within Porsche’s factory driver pool.

Only Cameron and Nasr, who were named as LMDh program members in December, were signed from elsewhere to pilot the twin-turbo V8, spec-hybrid prototype. 

The eight-man roster combines drivers who have recently been with Porsche in GTE, Formula E and GT3 competition.

Estre and Christensen currently form one of the manufacturer’s GTE-Pro pairings in the WEC and won the 2018-19 world championship together.

They have also achieved success in the GT3 arena, winning the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa in 2019 and the Nürburgring 24 last year.

Lotterer arrives from Porsche’s ABB FIA Formula E Championship team and is set for a homecoming experience having spent one year on the company’s LMP1 program.

The German driver won the 24 Hours of Le Mans three times with Audi in the LMP1 era.

Campbell and Jaminet have become prominent members of Porsche’s extensive GT3 customer racing program in recent years.

They won the GTD Pro class of this year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona alongside Nasr and have often been paired together for major events and full-season programs.

Campbell has also raced extensively in GTE on both sides of the Atlantic and finished third in last year’s WEC GTE-Am standings driving for Dempsey-Proton Racing, while he and Jaminet were the last GTLM class winners of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring.

Vanthoor, meanwhile, currently competes in the DTM for Porsche customer squad SSR Performance and last year clinched the IMSA GTD title representing Pfaff Motorsports.

The Belgian joined Porsche from Audi in 2017 and was a Le Mans GTE-Pro class winner with Estre and Christensen in 2018, as well as a 24 Hours of Spa winner in 2020.

Estre, Christensen, Campbell, Jaminet and Vanthoor are all set for their full-time prototype racing debuts next year.

Additionally, Christensen, Campbell and Jaminet are products of the Porsche youth system, having been signed as Junior drivers before graduating to factory status.

Frederic Makowiecki is notably absent from the LMDh competition lineup, but Porsche has highlighted the Frenchman’s key involvement in the early stages of the program, including giving the 963 its first rollout at the manufacturer’s Weissach test track.

“Over the past few months, our people at Porsche Motorsport and Team Penske have grown into an efficient and committed squad – the Porsche Penske Motorsport Team,” commented Urs Kuratle, Porsche’s Director of Factory Motorsport LMDh.

“We’ll have powerful driver crews in the four factory cars.

“The collaboration with our long-standing tire partner Michelin and the chassis manufacturer Multimatic works flawlessly.

“The Porsche 963 should be homologated this autumn. Until then, we want to make further progress with test drives and gain additional insights.

“We can hardly wait for our first outing.”

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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