IMSA 2021

Doc Austin

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Just dropped by to say sportscar racing rocks!

We've been really busy in extreme model aviation with testing and tech support. It's pretty golden right now but it takes a lot of time. I do plan to get back here more though because for the last year IMSA has been insane. I've never seen anything like this.

But, we're all gearheads, so you might enjoy this, provided that is, you crank it up!

 

Kiante

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Porsche Motorsport and Team Penske have agreed to collaborate closely in fielding the new LMDh vehicle commencing in 2023. The successful US team will work together with the experts from Weissach to run factory entries in the FIA WEC World Endurance Championship and the North American IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (IWSC). Under the name of Porsche Penske Motorsport, two of the spectacular LMDh prototypes will compete for overall victories in the top class of each of the two racing series. The contract between the sports car manufacturer from Stuttgart and the US racing team, which was founded in 1966, will run for a number of years. A statement to this effect was signed by Oliver Blume, Chairman of the Executive Board of Porsche AG, Michael Steiner, Member of the Executive Board for Research and Development and Roger Penske, Chairman of Team Penske. Beginning in 2023, the LMDh vehicles will represent the very best in endurance racing together with so-called hypercars (LMH). The prototypes will also be entered by Porsche customer teams in both championships as early as 2023. The cars, which weigh approximately 1,000 kilograms and are based on an LMP2 chassis, are powered by a 500 kW (680 PS) hybrid drivetrain.

"We are delighted that we were able to get Team Penske to form this partnership," says Oliver Blume, Chairman of the Executive Board of Porsche AG. "For the first time in the history of Porsche Motorsport, our company will have a global team competing in the world's two largest endurance series. To this end, we will be setting up team bases on both sides of the Atlantic. This will enable us to create the optimal structures we will need to take overall victories at Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring, for example."

"As of 2023, Porsche will compete in the major endurance racing series. Our intention is to support and shape the new era with our LMDh prototypes," Dr. Michael Steiner, Board Member for Research and Development, emphasizes. "Not only will we be keeping our fingers crossed for the four factory cars we have in total, but also for our customer teams. The new LMDh vehicle will also be entered as a customer car in both series as early as the 2023 season. These partner teams will be given our full support. Whatever insights we gain from our factory effort will also be shared with them."

"Porsche and Penske share a proven track record of success. This partnership had a lasting impact from 2006 to 2008 on what was then the American Le Mans Series," says Fritz Enzinger, Head of Porsche Motorsport, delighted about the renewed collaboration with the US team. "Team Penske has made a name for itself with an almost unparalleled success story in motorsport. In the long list of victories to date, however, the name Le Mans has been missing. I hope that we will finally be able to chalk up this success as of 2023 with Porsche Penske Motorsport. This would then mark Porsche's 20th overall victory at the Sarthe - a dream come true."

With the Porsche RS Spyder, Team Penske had taken all the titles in the LMP2 class for three years in succession between 2006 and 2008, beating the faster LMP1 prototypes multiple times. Back in the 1970s, the US-based team had already been extremely successful with the legendary Porsche 917 in the Can-Am series.

“This is a proud day for our entire Penske organization. We have represented Porsche on the track or in our businesses for more than six decades. The heritage and success we have enjoyed together is unparalleled throughout our history,” comments Roger Penske. “I can’t wait to get started as we build a global racing program with Porsche that will compete for wins and championships well into the future.”

Porsche Motorsport will be operating a team base in the USA together with Team Penske at the American team's headquarters in Mooresville in the State of North Carolina.
 

FLRacingFan

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Biggest nugget in this, IMO, is they confirm the availability of customer cars. Audi did so just last week too. Between those two and the rumors of Lambo and Bentley joining, the VW Group seems awfully bullish on the formula.

 

Kiante

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Biggest nugget in this, IMO, is they confirm the availability of customer cars. Audi did so just last week too. Between those two and the rumors of Lambo and Bentley joining, the VW Group seems awfully bullish on the formula.

Outside of the future asking price, this is great news. It gives privateers more options to choose from, so I'm all for more options for teams and it helps the VAG to continue to support their brands as well. They are certainly all-in on the formula, we also have to be appreciative of the GT3 Evo kits they have for the Hurcan, R8, and we already know of 911 the world.

I hope the returns are worth it for them because this is shaping up to be a revolution in sportscar racing. IMSA and WEC are working hand-in-hand at this point, its necessary to keep sportscar racing moving forward.
 

Doc Austin

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Biggest nugget in this, IMO, is they confirm the availability of customer cars.

Absolutely. WEC and IMSA need rules to make every manufacturer supply their share of the field.

Audi did so just last week too. Between those two and the rumors of Lambo and Bentley joining, the VW Group seems awfully bullish on the formula.

Please tell me again why we need hypercar?
 

Kiante

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Imagine Penske winning the 24 in LeMans in an LMDh... I think there would be a massive uproar from LMH participants.

2 million compared to 35 million. That's without the engine...
 

FLRacingFan

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Imagine Penske winning the 24 in LeMans in an LMDh... I think there would be a massive uproar from LMH participants.

2 million compared to 35 million. That's without the engine...
I think that’s what a pair of rolling chassis would cost, but what I’ve heard is a full annual budget for a two-car program is estimated somewhere between $12-20M. The $30-35M range for a Hypercar is also a two-car annual budget target I think. Still a substantially cheaper way of competing in the same class in the same races.
 

Kiante

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I think that’s what a pair of rolling chassis would cost, but what I’ve heard is a full annual budget for a two-car program is estimated somewhere between $12-20M. The $30-35M range for a Hypercar is also a two-car annual budget target I think. Still a substantially cheaper way of competing in the same class in the same races.
Still cheaper than a GTLM team, for the most part.
 

Kiante

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Jarett Andretti moving up to the WeatherTech Championship full-time with Oliver Askew.

It's only a matter of time until Andretti moves up into thebupper echelon of LMDh, especially with new manufacturers on the horizon. With the right deal of course, so this is a step back in that direction to help Jaret improve by slowly going up the ladder.

Not to mention, Marco will probably be back around as well. Getting Askew back on board is awesome to see as well, Oliver did a great job during the Rolex 24. Glad to see this partnership renewed.
 

Doc Austin

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Imagine Penske winning the 24 in LeMans in an LMDh... I think there would be a massive uproar from LMH participants.

2 million compared to 35 million. That's without the engine...
And thusly, you nailed it down on why hypercar is such a bad idea.
 

Doc Austin

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It's only a matter of time until Andretti moves up into the uupper echelon of LMDh, especially with new manufacturers on the horizon. With the right deal of course, so this is a step back in that direction to help Jaret improve by slowly going up the ladder.
I'm sure Andretti will go with Honda/Acura.

Not to mention, Marco will probably be back around as well. Getting Askew back on board is awesome to see as well, Oliver did a great job during the Rolex 24. Glad to see this partnership renewed.
Some of Andretti's Indycar drivers need to be looking ahead to the next phase of their careers, kind of like how Helio got three more years just by jumping to IMSA. Hunter-Reay didn't look so good last weekend and has had a rough couple of years, but he just won the last IMSA race and would be a natural choice to lead an Andretti DPI effort. Marco needs a new atmosphere and IMSA would be that.

So, as much heat as Andretti has taken over the years, he's been promoting young talent, supporting Indycar with solid entries and expanded entries in the 500, and now perhaps giving his long time drivers a post Indycar career. Man, we need a lot more owners like Mikey.

 

FLRacingFan

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And thusly, you nailed it down on why hypercar is such a bad idea.
LMH will have some inherent advantages like custom-designed chassis and 4WD still, I don’t think companies like Toyota, Peugeot, and Ferrari went that route for no reason. You can have a minimum weight and maximum power output but balancing against what will again be base chassis for LMP2 - that’s the hard part.

Hence why IMSA seem likely to watch and see how WEC and the ACO balance them in 2023 before making a decision on whether or not they participate Stateside in 2024.
 
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