Porsche used last week's 2022 Goodwood Festival of Speed for the official launch of its sports prototype developed for the new LMDh (Le Mans Daytona hybrid) race car category, which from 2023 will be eligible for the top classes of both the FIA World Endurance Championship and IMSA SportsCar Championship, the Hypercar and GTP (Grand Touring Prototype) classes, respectively.
The race car goes by the name 963, signifying it as the direct successor to the 962 of the 1980s, which incidentally competed in the previous iteration of IMSA's GTP class. This time around, Porsche will enter the 963 in both the SportsCar and WEC championships.
In line with LMDh rules, the car's powertrain, a hybrid setup, can generate at any time a maximum output of around 670 hp. The internal-combustion component has been confirmed as a twin-turbocharged 4.6-liter V-8 related to the engine that powered by the 918 Spyder hypercar. Thomas Laudenbach, Porsche's vice president of motorsport, said in a statement that the twin-turbo V-8 format was chosen for its combination of performance, weight and cost attributes.
Rules limit the engine to maximum revs of 10,000 rpm, max noise of 110 decibels, and minimum weight of 180 kilograms (397 pounds) with the intake, exhaust, cooling systems, and any forced induction systems included. The engine is also designed to run on renewable fuel, which means a significant reduction in C02 is possible.
Porsche said the V-8 can generate anywhere between 643 and 697 hp to suit any Balance of Performance parameters. As mentioned above, the combined output of the engine and any electric drive system can only be about 670 hp, as measured at the half-shafts.
The 963 features a single motor-generator, thought to be sitting at the front axle. The motor-generator and related control electronics is supplied by Bosch, while the race car's battery and transmission are supplied by Williams Advanced Engineering and Xtrac, respectively. In the video, we can hear that the car starts off in electric mode and then the V-8 kicks in once speed builds up.
Porsche will run its LMDh campaign with America's Team Penske, in both the SportsCar Championship and WEC. The squad is based out of Penske's headquarters in Mooresville, North Carolina, the same site where Penske oversees its IndyCar and NASCAR campaigns. The team will race under the banner Porsche Penske Motorsport, and confirmed drivers include Kevin Estre, Michael Christensen, Andre Lotterer, Laurens Vanthoor, Matt Campbell, Mathieu Jaminet, Dane Cameron and Felipe Nasr.
The 963 will also be offered to customer teams, following the completion of the homologation process this fall. The car's first race will be the 2023 24 Hours of Daytona, the opening round of the 2023 SportsCar Championship.
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