Porsche has three major international factory racing programs to keep supplied with drivers across the 2023 season, including two cars in FIA WEC, two cars in IMSA, and a pair again in Formula E. While Formula E drivers keep their own cars separate, the endurance racing programs require at least three drivers per car for the 10-, 12-, and 24-hour events. At its most conservative, that means at least fourteen drivers will wear Porsche overalls in the upcoming season. Porsche is known to lend out drivers for endurance events to major customer team squadrons, so you can bet there will be a few extras floating around, and that’s before you get to reserve drivers for the open wheel program and young driver academy trainees. The Weissach squad is going to be really big this year, you can bet on that. This weekend during Porsche’s Night of Champions, Porsche announced its full motorsport program, and who would be on the payroll. Let’s dive into that, shall we?
Nearest and dearest to our own hearts is the American IMSA series, where Porsche will be entering a pair of 963 hybrid prototypes in the new-for-2023 GTP class with assistance from Penske Racing. The newly-formed Porsche Penske Motorsport will make its competition debut at the 24 Hours of Daytona next month. The biggest announcement of the night came when the team confirmed that after a two-year hiatus with the Corvette Racing team, Nick Tandy would be returning to the Porsche fold to share the #6 Porsche with 2022 GTD Pro champion Mathieu Jaminet. For endurance events, that pair will be supported by IMSA Prototype champ Dane Cameron. The number seven 963 will be helmed by Matt Campbell (who shared the 2022 GTD Pro title with Jaminet), and two-time IMSA Prototype champ Felipe Nasr, with Michael Christensen filling in as the third driver for Daytona.
A couple of weeks ago it was announced that Pfaff Motorsport would be running a new 992 GT3 R to defend its 2022 GTD Pro championship, but with a new set of drivers. Patrick Pilet and Klaus Bachler will be running the full season in the plaid 911, while Laurens Vanthoor will join for the endurance events. Porsche driver Kevin Estre will also join a customer squad for the 24 Hours of Daytona in the GTD class as Ohio’s Wright Racing teams with VOLT ramps up its new program.
Of course Porsche Penske Motorsport will also be fielding a parallel program around the world in FIA WEC, running third and fourth 963 chassis for the full season, confusingly numbered 5 and 6 respectively. The #5 car will be pushed through the endurance season by Dane Cameron, Michael Christensen, and Fred Mako. Sister #6 car will have Kevin Estre, Andre Lotterer (recently departed from the Formula E squad), and Laurens Vanthoor on board for the full season.
In the newly-redesigned Gen 3 Formula E Porsche 99X Electric, the team will see a familiar face on one side of the garage, at least. With Lotterer departed to run in his endurance comfort zone, the team now hangs its hat on 2022 Mexico E-Prix victor Pascal Wehrlein. Back in August Porsche announced its new signing of 2019/20 Formula E champ Antonio Felix da Costa, and we could not be more excited to see what he can do in the car. AFDC has long been a staple of the Formula E garage, and knows the intricate details to make the car last. Here’s hoping with more power and more regen, the Porsche drivers will be given more opportunities to win.
Porsche saw some success in DTM across 2022, and will be doubling down on that series as an excellent place for its customer teams to race. As before, Porsche drivers Thomas Preining and Dennis Olsen will contest the full DTM season. We wish them the best of luck in their endeavors.
Who are we missing?
Porsche is still being a little bit coy about what its factory racers will be doing in 2023. 2022 ELMS champ and four-time Le Mans GT2/GTE victor Gianmaria Bruni has not been announced for any full-time series role as of yet. Likewise, 45-year-old Jacques of all trades Romain Dumas is hanging out on the sidelines (perhaps farmed out to Glickenhaus again?). 2022 Daytona 24 and Le Mans 24 winner Richard Lietz is a surprising snub from the Night of Champions, having not been assigned to a factory squad for 2023. Surely these three drivers will be doing some important things for Porsche, but we’ll have to wait to hear exactly where they’ll end up. Who knows, maybe they’re doing secret testing for a wild new hypercar Porsche wants to build.
“Motorsport has always been extremely important for Porsche and an integral part of the brand’s DNA. We use it as a development platform for future technologies and to showcase the potential of our sports cars. We want to continue pursuing this,” declares Michael Steiner, Member of the Executive Board for Research and Development.
“Sustainability and electrification are hugely important for a sports car manufacturer like Porsche. Our motorsport activities reflect this,” added Thomas Laudenbach, Vice President Porsche Motorsport. “The new GT4 e-Performance is an example. The highly innovative prototype represents our vision of a 100% electrically-powered customer sport racing vehicle. We’re competing in Formula E with the Porsche 99X Electric Gen3, and the new 963 features hybrid technology. During the 2023 season, the 911 GT3 Cup vehicles in the Porsche Mobil1 Supercup are scheduled to switch to eFuels from the pilot facility of our partner HIF Global in Chile. This shows that we’re making big progress towards sustainability in motor racing, as. There’s more to come.”