September 25, 2020

Porsche will formally evaluate WEC/IMSA LMDh entry

Pascal Zurlinden, boss of factory motorsport at Porsche, has revealed that his organisation has been tasked with carrying out a study on new rules that will allow the same machinery to compete for outright victory in the FIA World Endurance Championship and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

“Our board member Mr Michael Steiner [who is responsible for motorsport as research and development boss] has asked us to do a study to see what is possible,” Zurlinden said. “Porsche is seriously looking into it, but there is no decision yet.

“Until today the regulations are not out, but I think it is just a delay by a few days because the Autombile Club de l’Ouest and IMSA have also gone to home working.”

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More details of the LMDh platform, based on the principles of IMSA’s LMP2-based DPi category, were promised for the week of the ‘Super Sebring’ IMSA/WEC double-header.

The cancellation of the WEC 1000-mile race and the postponement of the IMSA Sebring 12 Hours as the coronavirus crisis escalated meant key meetings between the ACO and IMSA had to be put off along with the rules announcement. 

IMSA boss John Doonan subsequently stated that the LMDh rules would only be “delayed a little bit” as a result, while an ACO spokesperson said that no timeline had been laid down for the next LMDh announcement.

Zurlinden did not put a date on a possible Porsche return to the WEC or IMSA. 

The German manufacturer curtailed its involvement in the LMP1 class of the WEC at the end of 2017 and hasn’t competed for top class of North American sportscar racing since the LMP2 RS Spyder project of 2005-10. Porsche-engined Daytona Prototypes continued to compete in the Grand-Am series until 2011. 

LMDh machinery will be allowed to race in the WEC from the start of the 2021/22 season and in IMSA from the beginning of 2022. 

Zurlinden stressed that he had no concerns about Porsche’s future in motorsport as the result of economic impact of the coronavirus. 

“Motorsport is part of the DNA of Porsche and always will be,” he said. “If you look at the Le Mans 24 Hours, for example, since 1951 Porsche has been the only manufacturer who has always had cars on the grid as a works team or with customers teams. 

“At the moment, I am not so worried about Porsche leaving motorsport.” 

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