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Porsche Concerned WEC Rules Will Prevent Other Customer Cars

Thomas Laudenbach suggests additional manufacturers to commit to customer cars now unlikely amid WEC rules…

Photo: Porsche

Porsche Motorsport boss Thomas Laudenbach has voiced concern that other top-class manufacturers will not make their cars available to customers due to the lack of available slots on the FIA World Endurance Championship field for privateer entrants.

The development comes amid confirmation of the WEC’s minimum two-car per manufacturer mandate that was ratified by the FIA World Motor Sport Council earlier this month.

With Aston Martin set to join as a tenth Hypercar manufacturer next year, and the likely retention of the nine LMGT3 manufacturers that have two cars apiece, it would theoretically leave room for only two additional Hypercar entries on the expanded 40-car full-season grid.

A total of five customer or satellite Hypercar entries are competing full-time this season, although JOTA is set to run Cadillac Racing’s two-car effort next year.

Porsche, which currently has five full-season 963s spread between its factory Porsche Penske Motorsport effort and customers, is set to face a reduction of entries by virtue of the available grid places according to ACO President Pierre Fillon.

“You can have some private teams,” Fillon said. “After that, there’s only 40 places. Of course it would be difficult to have six cars for the same brand.”

Laudenbach, meanwhile, has cautioned the development that could result in Porsche customers being turned away from the WEC.

“I hope it does not mean that one of our customers will be refused [entries],” he said. “But it’s in the end, it’s the decision of the FIA and ACO.

“I can understand that they want to have as many manufacturers in as they can.

“I personally believe that it’s good to have customers because maybe there are years somewhere again to come and we’re happy to have customer teams.

“I don’t know what it will exactly mean in the end. I hope there is no restriction in the end for our customers, since we are the only ones to do it.”

Laudenbach is fearful that the limited availability on the WEC grid for Hypercar customers will lead other manufacturers not making their LMH or LMDh cars available to privateers.

“If others commit to customer cars, which might be difficult now since we have so many cars [in WEC] and since a manufacturer now decides to do customer cars, they won’t have the possibility to race in WEC,” he said.

“That makes a decision towards customer cars for other manufacturers, I think, a lot more difficult.”

Despite Porsche set to lose two customer entries with JOTA’s switch, Laudenbach said there’s still interest from other teams to run 963s next year, pending available grid spaces.

Additionally, Proton Competition is known to be pursuing a second 963 for WEC competition.

“I don’t think it would be a problem to get a customer,” Laudenbach said. “Since we’re running in the top class, if we have someone running a Porsche 963, we want to make sure that they have all the abilities to do it.

“We would only choose a team where we really think they can also do a proper job.

“It’s not about a business case. It’s not about selling as many cars as we can. I don’t think there are many teams on that level like we have right now.

“It’s not like you have ten teams around the corner who have the possibility. [But] there are teams that could step up, yes.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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