The Porsche 963 Runs Laps at Daytona

November 8th, 2022 by

The Porsche racing division made significant leaps in preparing its new Porsche 963 for its first race debut. The newly released LMDh prototype lapped the famed Daytona International Speedway in Florida 397 times, conquering the track’s oval and twisty infield.

After taking the prototype on test drives across the globe, the Penske Motorsport team is scheduled to face the same racetrack at the 963’s debut race in late January 2023, when the 24 Hours of Daytona kicks off. The Porsche 963 laps covered 1,413 miles (2,274 kilometers) during the two-day test drives (roughly the same distance between Stuttgart and Istanbul). As with other new Porsche models , the test drive was essential for the team to forecast the car’s competitive debut, refine its race-focused configurations, and address any issues instead of the pre-race practice sessions before the season’s first race.

A Race-ready Construction

Porsche chose a 4.6-liter twin-turbo V8 for use in the LMDh prototype racer. Having been developed for a different application, the Porsche 963 racing team only needed to perform a few tweaks to match the racing class specs and regulations, which also kept the costs confined to the program’s restrictions.

The 963 prototype also features the necessary features and elements to enable it to endure grueling racing conditions without compromising its Porsche DNA. It borrows some current styling cues from the 911, such as the rear light bar, futuristic elements, and all necessary features you’d expected in a racing hypercar: big wings, large air vents, adjustable aerodynamics, and a race-centric blend of red, white, and black finishes. More notable was how the 680-hp (500 kW) hybrid 963 weathered the tough environmental conditions as it took the test drives.

The Porsche 963 Laps the Daytona Speedway under Tough Conditions

The challenging external conditions – temperatures lingering around 35◦ C (95◦ F), humidity levels reaching 90%, and periods of showers – brought the best out of man and machine. According to Porsche, the team couldn’t have had a more ideal environment to prepare the Porsche 963 for the fierce competition in the upcoming racing season.

Day 1 saw the team dealing with harsh climatic conditions, characterized by lightning strikes near the racetrack, and the marshals were forced to retreat indoors for safety. As a result, the tests were delayed by 90 minutes. Afterward, the new Porsche prototype – also lined up for next year’s 24-Hour Le Mans and Sebring – positioned itself to start its endurance run.

During the first testing session, the team’s drivers Dane Cameron (USA), Mathieu Jaminet (France), and Matt Campbell took turns behind the wheel of chassis 03, just like they would have during the real 24-hour race. Even with no competitors on the track, the drivers had to be sharp as they still had to maintain the break-neck speeds of a full-on race while keeping in mind that no other prototypes were available in case something went awry.

A Successful Endurance Run for the Porsche 963 LMDh Prototype

The engineers, mechanics, and drivers of the Porsche 963 racing team worked in a coordinated setup under the supervision of Roger Penske – The Captain – until the completion of the test at around 10 pm on the second day. The officials were delighted with the Porsche 963 laps, saying the car ran “without any notable issues.” However, they were coy to disclose the best lap time, average speed, top speed, and any other metrics that could be reverse-engineered to determine the model’s top speed and performance.

To give a foretaste of the Porsche 963’s debut race, the two-day test drives concluded with bright flashes lighting up the night sky. When the LMDh prototype takes on the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship on January 28/29, 2023, the sky above the racetrack will be brightly lit by a spectacular fireworks display in line with the traditions of the 24 Hours of Daytona.

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