Porsche is making progress on critical aspects of its upcoming LMDh prototype program.
According to Porsche Factory Motorsport Director Pascal Zurlinden, all aspects of the LMDh initiative have taken steps forward since brand offered its last update on its dual IMSA and WEC efforts that launch in 2023.
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“Everyone is working flat out because Daytona 2023 is a long time to go, but then it’s also a short time, to be honest,” Zurlinden told RACER. “And we are working in all areas. Working to finalize our chassis partner because we have a portfolio for many engines on the road car side which could be an option. Again, we decided on one; this is a thing we keep to ourselves, but the decision is done and it will be something great, I’m convinced of it.
“Otherwise, it’s just working on putting everything in place.”
As RACER chronicled shortly after the original announcement, Canada’s Multimatic, which is responsible for Mazda’s current LMP2-based DPi model, is expected to be confirmed as the LMDh supplier for Porsche and sister brand Audi. Mazda recently confirmed its departure from DPi at the end of 2021, which should ease Multimatic’s ability to support multiple LMDh manufacturers.
On the engine front, Zurlinden’s side is rumored to have a twin-turbo V8 motor taken from its Cayenne model in development to power its LMDh.
Another aspect of its LMDh program for Porsche resolve is how many customer cars it wants to accommodate. With an expectation of two factory cars in IMSA and two in WEC, the question of volume with chassis orders and engine leases is a significant one to answer as quickly as possible.
“This is a question we are asking ourselves,” Zurlinden said. “Since the announcement, as you can imagine, we get many phone calls from people interested, and I think we could build many cars, but let’s see what is realistic. We need to do our homework because we are still early. It’s difficult to say how many cars could be in each series, but the number of requests we have gotten is higher than what we would have expected.”
Zurlinden, like a number of factory racing leaders with LMDh programs that have either been confirmed or are on the cusp of being solidified, will be busy this week in Sebring. Rather than assemble a new factory team of its own, Porsche is among the LMDh manufacturers who are likely to partner with one or more IMSA or IndyCar teams to field its factory effort. It means plenty of private meetings will take place in the coming days to discuss working together in 2023 and beyond.
“That’s a difficult question to answer, but it’s business as usual,” he said. “Every time when new category is coming and there are new cars and nothing is 100 percent fixed for manufacturers and teams, everyone will look at what is possible with partners. I would say everyone knows that everyone is speaking with everyone.”