Looking Back to go Forwards

YOU MAY BE WONDERING why this article about Porsche’s new endurance racer — the 963 — begins with a photo of a 918. This 918 was a visitor at Porscheplatz in July and is one of only around 26 in Canada. Well, Porsche is well known for never discarding ideas or useful technology. The 963 uses the engine from the 918, a 4.6-litre V8 with added twin turbos. The 918 version is derived from a bored-out 3.4-litre V8 from the RS Spyder, which successfully raced from 2005 to 2010. Thomas Laudenbach, VP of motorsport, stated, “It was obvious this was the best engine, in terms of fulfilling the demands of performance, weight costs, packaging, all those criteria.”

The rules for the LMDh class, shared by IMSA and World Endurance Championship (WEC), mean less cost, but also the 963 can race in both the North American series and around the world. The car will be able to race the big endurance races — the 24-hour Le Mans and Daytona — plus 12 Hours of Sebring. There are a lot of standard parts that all teams must use, which also saves money and the manufacturers provide bespoke engine and body kits to reflect company styling.

Porsche is positing the 963 as a successor to the highly successful racers, the 956 and 962, which won Le Mans seven times between 1982 and 1994. There is a strong family resemblance between the current cars and those predecessors.

Porsche has factory teams for both IMSA and WEC and already has a firm sale of one 963. The cost is a cool $2.9 million. As well, Porsche sold many 956s and 962s, some of which defeated the factory team.

Another styling cue is the continuous light strip of the latest 911, the 992. Incidentally there are four manufacturers of the chassis that teams can choose from, and Porsche chose Multimatic, a Canadian manufacturer headquartered right here in Markham.

Thomas Laudenbach sums up the new rules by saying, “You can know race for overall victory in US and Europe, which is really nice.” What is also really nice is that we will soon be seeing these cars at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in 2023.

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