The German team founded in 1996, currently known as Proton Competition, has been a long-time customer of Porsche motorsport products. The team has been running GT 911s since the 996 era, and fields racing cars in endurance events all around the world. Over the last decade the company has also been running the European arm of actor Patrick Dempsey’s race squad as Dempsey-Proton. The team won the GTE class of the European Le Mans Series in 2022, and entered two cars in FIA WEC’s GTE Am category as well. The team has earned around a dozen championships since 2009.
After decades in the GT ranks, team boss Christian Ried confirms that Proton will be pushing even harder in 2023 with a pair of hybrid Porsche 963 prototypes getting delivered sometime early next year. The team will be running one car in IMSA here in the US, and one car in the international FIA WEC series. It doesn’t sound like the car will be ready for the 24 Hours of Daytona, and perhaps even the 12 Hours of Sebring is a question mark, but Ried says they’ll be ready to compete at Long Beach at the latest. Considering the FIA WEC season also kicks off at Sebring, the team might be on the back foot for that championship as well.
Christian told dailysportscar.com that he was interested in moving up the grid rather than stepping into a slower car.
“Since we started WEC in 2012 we had some great races and a really great time, it’s a pleasure to be here and to have had a chance to do all the races. But if you look forward, 2023 will be the last year of GTE.
“So looking at the team, there are two options of going to GT3 which is, more or less, a step backwards, or going to LMDH, which is a new challenge for our team. But you know, even if I did all the races, I’m still young. So I accept the challenge to do something new. It’s a pleasure to have the car in the first year. So I’m super happy and looking forward to seeing all this new project will be.”
So the IMSA grid will have two Penske-Porsche factory effort cars, as well as a car from JDC Miller, and one from Proton for at least the majority of the 2023 season. That’s a pretty strong start from a new car. Meanwhile over in the FIA WEC, there will be an additional two cars from Penske-Porsche, as well as a single customer car for Jota Sport and one for Proton. There’s a really good chance that Porsche will be the most represented brand on the grid in both series.
Proton will continue its GTE Am efforts for 2023 until the class ends at the close of next season. Ried has already confirmed that he is interested in picking up a second Porsche 963 in each series for the 2024 season if 2023 is a success and Porsche can supply them in time. How rad is that?