Porsche will allocate a maximum of four LMDh customer cars in addition to its quartet of factory-run examples next year according to the manufacturer’s Head of Motorsport Thomas Laudenbach.
Since announcing its program in December 2020, the German marque has maintained an interest in selling cars for independent teams to race in the top classes of the FIA World Endurance Championship and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Laudenbach has outlined four cars as the most that Porsche would consider providing for next season, based on the operational support that the factory can provide.
Next year Porsche Penske Motorsport works teams are due to run a pair of Porsche LMDhs in IMSA’s GTP class and a pair in the WEC’s sister Hypercar category.
“We clearly set ourselves a restriction,” Laudenbach told Sportscar365.
“The first decision was, yes, we want to provide and offer customer cars from the first season on, which is a challenge in itself.
“In the LMP2 times, we didn’t do that. We just raced the Penske cars the first year. There is a restriction where we have said that the maximum would be two in the IMSA championship and two in WEC. Definitely not more.
“If it might be only one-one, one-two [between the series], we will see. It depends on what the customers want.”
Laudenbach iterated that it is “not the goal” for Porsche to sell as many customer LMDh cars as it can.
“We want to be sure that if we provide a car to a customer, we can also support it in a proper way,” he said.
“Therefore, we said definitely not more than that. This is mainly down to us wanting to do it in the right way.
“There is a certain expectation, that when Porsche sells customer cars like the 911 GT3 R, we always provide sufficient support. Never over-stretched.
“It is not about, from a financial perspective, selling another car and another. We want to make sure that if the car is on the grid, if a customer team enters, this can be done on a certain level. And not just filling up the grid with Porsches.”
The number of customer-based Porsche LMDhs could increase beyond four in the season after next, but the manufacturer has not yet made a decision this far in advance.
“It could be more,” Laudenbach suggested. “We haven’t decided about that yet. I wouldn’t exclude that. This could be possible.
“If there are teams who want to do it, and if there are teams who we consider having the capabilities of doing it. But I wouldn’t exclude it.”
Porsche has received several inquiries from independent organizations wishing to run an LMDh car, but a key task has been identifying the ones that could realistically spawn race programs.
One privateer team boss recently estimated that the running costs of a Porsche LMDh car over the course of a season would be in the range of €6-8 million ($6.5 – $8.65 million USD) on top of a €2.5 million ($2.7 million USD) initial investment for the car.
According to Laudenbach, the rolling cost of running the LMDh prototype is what “needs to be sorted out” for customer entries to be feasible.
“Under normal circumstances, if you sell a Porsche race car after two or three years, you get a lot of money back,” he said.
“So that’s not the problem. It’s more that you have the funding for the running costs: team, spare parts and everything. From what I know talking to customers, this needs to be sorted out.
“There is a huge interest. For us, it’s sometimes difficult to judge if it’s a serious interest or trying to figure out between possibilities.
“From the talks we had and from the interest that is there, we are quite happy. It is difficult to say how many cars will be there on the grid, in the end, as customers.
“You have some big steps between first talks, contracts signed and first finance. But there is a big interest of many teams. We’ll see what the outcome will be.”