There are now two weeks left before the start of the 2023 FIA World Endurance Championship season and Porsche is working on what is one of the biggest commitments of the year.
On the same weekend, in fact, there will first be the 1000 Miglia of the World Championship, scheduled for Friday 17 March, then the 12h of the IMSA SportsCar Championship the following day, which Team Penske will tackle in both cases with two 963 LMDhs.
There is cautious optimism from the Weissach company and the American team, knowing that the second release of the new hybrid prototype after Daytona also represents a sort of call for redemption, as Dane Cameron points out.
#6 Team Penske Porsche 963: Dane Cameron
Photo by: Jake Galstad / Motorsport Images
“I think everything is a bit unknown in the WEC in terms of new cars and obviously Acura, which was very strong at Daytona, won’t be there. It’s difficult to know what the values will be in the field, there could be a BoP different and whatnot, so it’s still all up in the air”, explains the American in a panel discussion attended by Motorsport.com.
“We know where we are lacking and where we need to improve, it just takes some time to fine-tune things. So I think we have a clear direction, we are making some steps forward with the car.”
“We probably weren’t where we wanted or expected to be at Daytona, but I think with the partners we have to support us the way forward is clear and we are all quite confident that we will be more competitive week after week, getting better and better.”
#6 Team Penske Porsche 963: Mathieu Jaminet, Nick Tandy, Dane Cameron
Photo by: Porsche Motorsport
Porsche was one of the first to start development tests for the 963 and Sebring hosted the German LMDh several times for the various tests which served not only the team to refine the vehicle, but also the drivers to get to know it fully.
“Sebring is different from Daytona, certainly these first tracks where the car has lapped are very particular. Daytona is relatively smooth as a surface, but you often go full throttle, while Sebring is quite bumpy and puts the car under stress. We are still acquiring a lot of knowledge about the car and starting to figure out where to get something from.”
“There are discussions that go way beyond the pilots’ ideas in terms of solutions for this kind of thing. But I know that over time, with the development we’ve been carrying out, there’s been a good collaboration with all the partners in the specific powertrain. We have made progress although all these things are still new.”
#6 Team Penske Porsche 963: Mathieu Jaminet, Nick Tandy, Dane Cameron, #7 Team Penske Porsche 963: Matt Campbell, Felipe Nasr, Michael Christensen
Photo by: Porsche Motorsport
Another point that will surely make a difference is reliability: the debut of the LMDhs at Daytona was not free from problems and more or less everyone had something to fix within 24 hours, so it is logical that also at Sebring, more than difficult track for car mechanics, you will have to keep your eyes open.
“Each engine is slightly different in terms of how it fits and works with the various components in different cars. So I think everyone has slightly different things and therefore also the defects that manifest themselves.”
“But we have great partners involved and I think the information is good enough for everyone. So it’s up to all of them to give us an update when we get into race week, but I think we’ll be fit.”
Finally Cameron also commented on what is one of the most talked about topics of the FIA WEC 2023, namely the ban on tyrewarmers.
“We know there’s this novelty and it certainly has limited our work a bit. I think it will put everyone in difficulty, especially on the rear, but obviously it will also depend a lot on the type of circuit and the general conditions we’ll be in, so nobody really knows how it’s going to go.”