Supply chain limitations have resulted in Porsche scaling back its customer 963 allocations for the start of next year according to LMDh factory director Urs Kuratle, who confirmed only one new car for the 2024 FIA World Endurance Championship season.
The German manufacturer, which has so far been the only brand to offer LMDh machinery to privateer teams, supported the rollout of four customer cars this year fielded by Hertz Team JOTA, JDC-Miller Motorsports and Proton Competition.
Kuratle revealed that the original plan was to double the customer allocations in 2024, but it will instead focus on one additional 963 for JOTA in WEC.
“The original plan in the project at Porsche was to have two customer cars in each series for this year,” Kuratle explained. “We started later than the original plan [with mid-season deliveries].
“Then the original plan said to have four customer cars in each series next year. That plan changed over the course of the year. We have less cars.
“This year, we have the two cars [in WEC], in the Proton and the JOTA. Now we have the two cars in IMSA and that’s OK.
“For 2024, we have a second JOTA car we’re building as we speak back in Germany and JOTA will have a two-car entry, given the entries are granted by the ACO, and there will be one Proton car.
“In IMSA, we will have two cars, the two ones we have already. We’ll have three cars less than we originally planned [in 2024].”
When asked the reasoning for the reduced allocation, Kuratle pointed out current supply chain restraints, including issues with IMSA and the ACO’s LMDh spec hybrid battery provider WAE.
“The reason is very easy: the supply chains — we already had it before. It would simply overload our supply chain,” Kuratle said.
“Also, it would overload our complete system with customer support, etc.
“We felt at mid-season that we really reached a limit for the support, as Porsche wants to give good support to the customers. We are reaching limits at this point.
“With the works team and the whole 963 program, we’re not as far as we originally [envisioned] two years ago when those numbers came up, we are simply not as far as we thought we were.”
He added: “We also learned now that there’s a bit of a problem with battery supplies right now. This is public as it’s not a secret.
“To have more cars in the field, that would be a problem.”
Sportscar365 understands that Proton has expressed the desire of purchasing two more LMDh cars, although does not currently have confirmed delivery dates according to team boss Christian Ried.
The German squad is expected to start 2024 with one car apiece in the WEC and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, with the potential of additional cars appearing later in the year subject to entry availability in both series.
“That’s a possibility, to this,” Kuratle said on mid-season deliveries for additional cars.
“What we communicated is that we’re not building more cars [beyond the second JOTA chassis] until the summer of next year and we’re using the time from now to the next build.”
Kuratle said there have been other teams beyond Proton that are interested in purchasing 963s, although indicated that Proton is likely next in line.
“The next car to build has to be sold first,” he said, implying that Proton has not yet placed an order.
“The sales guys are going through the discussion with potential new customers. Obviously first we talk to the existing customers like Chris [Ried] that want to buy [more].”