Mark your calendars for 2023!
To focus on expanding its ID. electric car family, Volkswagen recently made a bold decision to retire from motorsport. BMW is also reducing its motorsport activities by ending its involvement with Formula E. Porsche, on the other hand, has announced it's making a triumphant return to the 24 Hours in Le Mans in 2023 with a new racing prototype. While Toyota is building a racing version of the GR Super Sport for the new hypercar class, Porsche's new car will be developed for the new LMP2-based LMDh hybrid category and compete in the top class of the FIA World Endurance Championship and the North American IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
To comply with LMDh regulations, Porsche's new racing prototype will tip the scales at just 2,204 pounds and be powered by a hybrid system producing 680 horsepower, making it more powerful than the Taycan 4S but less powerful than the Taycan Turbo.
"The new LMDh category allows us to fight for overall victories with a hybrid system at the Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring classics - without breaking the bank. The project is extremely attractive for Porsche. Endurance racing is part of our brand's DNA," said Oliver Blume, CEO at Porsche.
The new LMDh category is extremely cost-efficient. Each car is based on an upgraded LMP2 chassis, and the specifications for the hybrid system including the control electronics are standardized. When the new prototype makes its track debut in 2023, it will be the first time Porsche has raced in the top class at Le Mans since 2017 with the 919 Hybrid Evo, which won the endurance race in 2015, 2016, and 2017 and set an all-time Nurburgring lap record in 2018.
With 19 overall victories, Porsche is the most successful manufacturer to ever compete in Le Mans - a record it will want to retain with its new LMDh prototype racer.
"We can continue this tradition with an LMDh vehicle while at the same time keeping costs reasonable," said Fritz Enzinger, Vice President at Porsche Motorsport. "There has been huge interest from other manufacturers. I hope we can pick up where we left off with the famous clashes against many other marques in the 1980s and 90s. That would give the entire motor racing scene a huge boost."
Porsche won't be alone in the endeavor, though, as Audi Sport will also be entering the LMDh classes soon, in addition to its electric exploits in the Dakar Rally.