Sebring test gives Porsche confidence to ‘survive’ early Daytona 24 Hours

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Porsche is gearing up for its return to the top of sports car racing in 2023 which will see it compete in both the IMSA and World Endurance Championship with Team Penske.

Like other manufacturers who have chosen the LMDh route to the WEC and IMSA, Porsche has faced its fair share of technical issues with its Multimatic-based competitor LMP2, which uses specific hybrid components supplied by a myriad of suppliers. .

While admitting that there is “still work to do” ahead of the Daytona curtain raiser on January 28-29, Porsche believes it has made positive steps in the 963’s testing program.

“I would say we are making good progress,” Porsche Motorsport boss Thomas Laudenbach told Autosport.

“It’s a very difficult program. We’ve been through some tough times and for sure it’s going to be tight as always but I’m very optimistic we’ll be sorted for the 24 hour race.

“It’s always a difficult approach that the first race of the season is the 24-hour race, which is certainly the most demanding.

“There are still a few things to do, it’s not that everything is already sorted. I would say that we are making really good steps, but there is still work to be done.

Porsche carried out an extensive four-day test at Sebring last month, which included a mammoth 36-hour endurance race to prepare for the first two rounds of next year’s IMSA campaign – which will visit Sebring for the 12 p.m. on March 18.

After racking up 7300km during the test, the German manufacturer has now racked up around 26,500km on its two 963 LMDh chassis so far. Porsche had previously said it would like to enter the 2023 season with 30,000km of testing under its belt and it remains on target to do so with further races scheduled for December.

Porsche 963 LMDh

Picture by: Porsche

Laudenbach admitted he previously had reservations about the car’s reliability at Daytona, but testing at Sebring gave Porsche confidence that it would be able to make it to the finish without too many problems.

“I would be happy to have more practice time,” Laudenbach said. “But we had an endurance race at Sebring with minor open issues. So I would say I hope to be in good shape regarding reliability.

“Before testing at Sebring I was a little worried about that. But especially on reliability I would say the Sebring test told us there was a good chance of surviving the full distance. .

“Not only because we put the mileage, it is for sure the most important thing, [but] because of the points we figured out there. All minor points. It’s good that you find them, that’s why you’re doing this endurance test.

“As always, as an engineer or as Porsche Motorsport [boss], we would be happy to have more time to prepare. But I’ve never seen a different situation like this, when you come with a new car to the first race.

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