Team Penske has been kicking butt in racing for decades, and for a lot of that time the team has been powered by Porsche. Way back in the 1960s Roger Penske himself was racing various four-cam Porsche prototype sports racing roadsters. By the 1970s, Penske and hired driver Mark Donohue were a global force, and their Porsche 917/30 became known as an all-conquering machine in the Can Am series. More recently, from 2006 to 2008, the bright yellow DHL-sponsored Penske Porsche RS Spyder LMP2s took the fight directly to Audis which were once considered unbeatable. That LMP2 program changed the face of IMSA racing. Today, Porsche and Penske announced a team-up for the upcoming LMDh prototype program, one which will compete all over the world in IMSA and the FIA World Endurance Championship.
“This is a proud day for our entire Penske organization. We have represented Porsche on the track or in our businesses for more than six decades. The heritage and success we have enjoyed together is unparalleled throughout our history,” comments Roger Penske. “I can’t wait to get started as we build a global racing program with Porsche that will compete for wins and championships well into the future.”
“Porsche and Penske share a proven track record of success. This partnership had a lasting impact from 2006 to 2008 on what was then the American Le Mans Series,” says Fritz Enzinger, Head of Porsche Motorsport. “Team Penske has made a name for itself with an almost unparalleled success story in motorsport. In the long list of victories to date, however, the name Le Mans has been missing. I hope that we will finally be able to chalk up this success as of 2023 with Porsche Penske Motorsport. This would then mark Porsche’s 20th overall victory at the Sarthe – a dream come true.”
This new LMDh program will kick off for the 2023 season, and will find itself in direct competition with Hypercar machines from Toyota, Glickenhaus, Peugeot, and Ferrari, while additional LMDh racers will come from Audi and Acura with further programs rumored from Hyundai, General Motors, Ford, and more. It’s going to be a full field in 2023, and Porsche is going to need some of that Penske Perfect magic to take on the field. The LMDh formula will be quite similar to IMSA’s current DPI platform, in that the chassis are LMP2-based but allow for non-standard drivetrains and the addition of a hybrid power source. The cars will weigh approximately 1000 kilograms and pack about 680 horsepower from the hybrid drivetrain. These cars will all have performance balanced (including performance between the Hypercar and LMDh classes) with series-adjusted weight and engine restriction requirements. This will keep the racing tight and close.
Much like the earlier LMP2 program, Penske will be the de facto factory-backed entrant, while additional cars will be made available to Porsche customer teams from the outset. It will be theoretically possible for Porsche to win the 24 Hours of Daytona, the 12 Hours of Sebring, and the 24 Hours of Le Mans in the same season with the same car. This feat hasn’t even been theoretically possible since Grand Am regulations changed to disallow Le Mans prototypes in 2003.
Obviously FlatSixes will be there rooting for Team Penske every step of the way. 2023 can’t get here soon enough! Let’s go!