Porsche to give new LMDh car first run this year

Porsche's new LMDh prototype developed for the 2023 season looks certain to run for the first time this year as planned.

New Porsche motorsport boss Thomas Laudenbach has confirmed that the hybrid contender built to race in the World Endurance Championship and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship is scheduled to undertake an initial shakedown run before Christmas.

"The schedule is tight, but we are still heading for that," said Laundenbach. "I think we are in good shape and making good progress."

Laudenbach stressed that the plan for the car developed around Canadian constructor Multimatic Motorsport's next-generation LMP2 car is for a roll-out this year ahead of the start of performance testing in the new year.

The roll-out will take place at either the test track within the Weissach research and development facility where Porsche Motorsport is based, or at a similar venue nearby.

"With a brand new car you should always do a proper shakedown, a roll-out and not go to a race track; that costs a lot of money," he explained.

"It will be some kind of roll-out, really to see if all the systems are right and to do the set-up and the calibration, not proper performance testing."

Full technical details of the Porsche, as well as sister marque Audi's LMDh based on the same chassis-engine combination, have yet to be released.

There has been no confirmation of the engine configuration of the two cars.

Laudenbach also stated that Porsche is sticking to its plan to sell cars in time to allow customers to start racing alongside the factory entries run by Penske from the beginning of 2023 in both the WEC and IMSA.

"We clearly plan to make it possible for at least a certain amount of customers to start in 2023," he said.

"This is for us a challenge because we are still developing the car, and it doesn't make our life easy to start a factory programme at the same time as starting with customers."

He suggested that the supply of customer cars for season one of the programme might have to be restricted for logistical reasons, before more cars become available for 2024 if the demand is there.

There will be no announcement on drivers before the line-up is finalised, Laudenbach said.

"We are working on the driver line-up, it is a bit too early to say who they will be," he explained.

"One thing I can say is that we always try to make a mixture of drivers who are already with us, young drivers we want to bring up and probably some drivers from outside — a good mixture is important."

He confirmed that Chinese driver Yifei Ye, who has landed a Porsche contract with the marque's Asian Pacific arm, is in consideration for an LMDh seat.

"The fact that he was chosen as a Porsche Motorsport [Asia Pacific] selected driver shows he has potential," he said.

"For me, it is far too early to say where this will lead, but for sure we have a big history of bringing up drivers.

"I would love to have a Chinese driver [in the LMDh], but in the end a driver has to be fast: we will have to see how he performs."

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