At the Goodwood Festival of Speed, the sports car manufacturer unveiled two new cars. The first is the Porsche 963, an LMDh-specification hybrid prototype that will start its “hunt” in the colors of Porsche Penske Motorsport from 2023 onwards in the most important endurance races in the world. Starting next season, two 963s will be featured in both the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship series.
World premiere of the Porsche GT4 ePerformance
At the same time, the Porsche GT4 ePerformance celebrated its world public premiere at the famous festival. The all-electric race car showed off its power on the 1.9-kilometer "lift" route up Goodwood Hill. A performance at Lord March's estate in West Sussex in the south of England kicked off the GT4 ePerformance World Tour.
Over the next two years, the innovative test vehicle will visit many locations in Germany and beyond to bring racing teams, partners and event organizers closer to the potential of its cutting-edge concept and the possibilities of its racing formats.
Racing Porsche 963
The 963 race car on display at Goodwood is painted in the typical Porsche racing colors of white, red and black. In the cabs of the 500 kW (680 hp) machines, renowned prototype drivers will join forces with experienced Porsche factory drivers. Porsche Penske Motorsport is preparing for its missions in two locations: the Mannheim (Germany) subsidiary is in charge of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) and the cars for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship series are being prepared in Mooresville, North Carolina (USA). ).
“After 7,889 test kilometers in the first half of 2022, we are on the right track, but there is still a lot to do before the start of next season,” said Thomas Laudenbach, Vice President Porsche Motorsport. “Our new Porsche 963 should continue the legacy of legendary models such as the 917, 935, 956, 962 and 919 Hybrid. I am convinced that we will be strong when it comes to technique. In order to prepare to win the exciting competition of many manufacturers with their different concepts, we have also created appropriate team structures.”
The official racing debut of the Porsche 963 is scheduled for January 2023 and the Daytona 24 Hours in the USA. In the meantime, prototype testing could take place at this year's FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). Porsche Penske Motorsport plans to conduct unclassified tests of the new car during the final round of this WEC season in Bahrain this November.
“Over the past few months, our people from Porsche Motorsport and the Penske team have formed an efficient and driven team – Porsche Penske Motorsport,” says Urs Kuratle, Factory Director of Porsche Motorsport LMDh. “We will have excellent crews for all four factory vehicles. The collaboration with our longtime tire partner Michelin and chassis manufacturer Multimatic has been flawless. The Porsche 963 is due to be homologated this fall. In the meantime, we want to keep moving forward and get more information about the next test drives. We are already looking forward to our first performance.
The drivers selected for the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Series are experienced factory drivers: Kevin Estre (France), Michael Christensen (Denmark), André Lotterer (Germany), Laurens Vanthor ( Belgium). ), Matt Campbell (Australia) and Mathieu Jaminé (France), as well as excellent sports car drivers Dane Cameron (USA) and Felipe Nasr (Brazil). Frederik Makowiecki from France played a key role in the early stages of development, driving the Porsche 963 for the first few kilometers on the track and in the simulator during the January test in Weissach. Other riders, including those in the Dayton, Sebring and Road Atlanta (Little Le Mans) endurance races, will be announced at a later date.
Porsche Penske Motorsport is preparing a total of four 963 models for the world's most important sports car races. Work continues at the team's bases in Mooresville, North Carolina, and Mannheim, Germany. The WEC plant in Baden-Württemberg is a former Porsche Penske Automotive center built to the latest modern standards. Data exchange between the three high-tech centers of Porsche Penske Motorsport takes place almost in real time. This fall, the WEC team will move to its headquarters in Mannheim.
Jonathan Diugid, Managing Director of Porsche Penske Motorsport, says: “Expectations are extremely high. Not only from the public, but also from Porsche and the Penske team – they already have great chapters in the history of motorsport.”
Diuguid and Travis Lowe (Competition Director) will lead the Porsche Penske Motorsport global team, directly overseeing the FIA WEC and IMSA programs. The day-to-day operations of the FIA WEC Team will be managed by Bernhard Demmer (General Manager) and Francis Chammo (Team Manager). Joel Svensson as Team Manager will be in charge of the IMSA North American Championship.
According to the regulations, the LMDh Porsche 963 is based on the chassis category LMP2. This newly developed chassis is provided by Multimatic, a Canadian company specializing in technologically advanced solutions. Standard hybrid components are supplied by Bosch, Williams Advanced Engineering and Xtrac. The heart of the powertrain is a 4.6-litre V8 biturbo engine based on the powerful 918 Spyder hybrid sports car. Its DNA goes back to the racing RS Spyder that Porsche and Penske won numerous victories between 2005 and 2008. The design of the new 963 is reminiscent of the winning classics 956 and 962 of the 1980s. The continuous rear light strip is a nod to the latest 911 Type 992. The white, red and black paintwork is reminiscent of the famous Porsche racing cars. And it's not just about tradition: from the first year of the competition, the new Porsche 963 will be available to customers. The first Porsche private customer teams will announce their program in the coming days.
Porsche GT4 ePerformance
The GT4 ePerformance uses Mission R technical components. Presented at IAA MOBILITY 2021 in Munich, this concept study outlines the vision of an all-electric GT racing car for future customer racing. Both vehicles are based on the chassis of the proven 718 GT4 Clubsport. The entire motor and battery technology is developed on the basis of a concept study, which in qualifying mode corresponds to a maximum power of up to 800 kW (1088 hp). In a simulated event, the driver has 450 kW (612 hp) at all times for 30 minutes - this is the Carrera Cup race. In terms of lap times and top speeds, the GT4 ePerformance matches the current 911 GT3 Cup type 992. Thanks to 900V technology, the battery level goes from 5 to 80 % in about 15 minutes on a full charge.
“The Festival of Speed is really impressive. It's a big celebration for car enthusiasts and a motorsport mecca like no other in Europe,” says Richard Lietz of Austria, a Porsche factory driver who drove the all-electric prototype at Goodwood. “I'm already familiar with the GT4 ePerformance from test drives. It's incredibly fast and a lot of fun - that's how I envision the electric sports car of the future. Its aerodynamics are designed with efficiency in mind, as there must be enough energy for the entire race. The GT4 ePerformance is more comfortable on classic trails than climbing routes like Goodwood, so the total time of 45.50 seconds is in line with our expectations.
Porsche redesigned around 6,000 parts for the GT4 ePerformance. The shape of the car was developed by the Porsche Style team led by designer Grant Larsson. Its body was made, among other things, from natural fiber composites, whose production is aimed at obtaining lower emissions than comparable synthetic materials. Recycled carbon fibers are also tested here. Thanks to the flared wheel arches, the car is 14 cm wider than the 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport. This makes room for the wider 18-inch Michelin racing tires, which are particularly high in renewable materials.
“GT4 ePerformance paves the way for Porsche customers to race in electric cars. We will first present this concept to our global partners,” says Oliver Schwab, GT4 ePerformance Project Manager. “We are also gathering ideas for future Porsche racing formats together with drivers, teams, organisers, authorities and other stakeholders.”
After its world premiere at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, the prototype will travel to many other locations on the GT4 ePerformance Tour. Each location will be accompanied by a special motto. The famous motorsports festival in the south of England was dedicated to the racing tradition of Porsche. The second stop of the GT4 ePerformance will take place on 20 August 2022 at the Porsche plant in Leipzig to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the factory. The facility boasts a 3.7 km track that recreates iconic sections of world-famous landmarks. The potential of an all-electric car will be presented in the Saxon metropolis as a business model.
Racing tires for the Porsche GT4 ePerformance are supplied by Michelin; 53% of them are made from biomaterials or recycled materials. The sustainable raw materials also include natural rubber and carbon black obtained from used tires using a special processing method implemented by partner company Enviro. The rest of the materials are based on orange and lemon peel, pine resin, sunflower oil and metal waste. Designed specifically for the GT4 ePerformance by Michelin, racing tires are designed to reduce environmental impact throughout their entire life cycle, from design, production, shipping and use to recycling. By 2050, Michelin aims to produce all of its tires from sustainable materials. Already in 2030, their share in the products of the companies of the entire group should be 40%.