Porsche LMDh design concept

Porsche announces return to Le Mans, WEC and IMSA

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In the round-up: Porsche has confirmed it will return to the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2023, six years on from its last entry and victory in the race.

Porsche returns to Le Mans

Porsche LMDh design concept
Porsche LMDh design concept
Porsche is developing a prototype for the new LMDh rules, under which it will be able to compete in both the World Endurance Championship, including at Le Mans, and IMSA. LMDh cars will weigh around 1,000kg and produce 680bhp.

“The new LMDh category allows us to fight for overall victories with a hybrid system at the Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring classics without breaking the bank,” said Porsche CEO Oliver Blume. “The project is extremely attractive for Porsche. Endurance racing is part of our brand’s DNA.”

Porsche holds the record for most wins by a manufacturer at Le Mans. Its most recent success, with Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Earl Bamber in 2017, was its 19th.

Porsche’s fellow Volkswagen Group brand Audi, which recently announced plans to discontinue its Formula E project, also intends to return to Le Mans in the LMDh class. Toyota, winners of the last three races at La Sarthe, and Peugeot are developing cars for the Hypercar regulations.

What they say

Russell says he can look back on Williams’ year with pride as the team closed the gap to the midfield:

When I looked in my mirrors with five laps remaining, it felt pretty similar to last week. I said on the radio “Valtteri is behind” but this time he was lapping me. So it was a little bit different.

But nevertheless, we made the most of it. I look back on this season with a lot of pride with the step we’ve made forward as a team. When you look back on last year, we were so far behind. [But] we’re still far from where we want to be.

[For] me personally as a driver, ups and downs, a lot to be proud of, a lot to learn from – Imola was a proper rookie error. And obviously, last week in Bahrain, the great opportunity I had with Mercedes. It’s been an emotional and intense season on and off the circuit.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

As several drivers depart F1 at the end of this season, are we missing the backmarker teams?

If this was 2010 for instance, Kvyat would be a great addition to one of those ultra-small teams like Lotus, Virgin and HRT. Sure he’s not top-team material but he is fast and experienced enough to score some good results here and there (Germany 2019 third, Imola 2020 fourth).
@Black

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On this day in F1

  • Born 100 years ago today Les Leston, who entered three world championship races in the fifties and won the non-championship Luxembourg Grand Prix in 1952. He died in 2012

Author information

Hazel Southwell
Hazel is a freelance journalist who roams the paddocks of Formula E, covering the technical and emotional elements of electric racing. Usually found at...

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24 comments on “Porsche announces return to Le Mans, WEC and IMSA”

  1. The Mika police lockup at Silverstone story was hilarious… Although… technically he was driving on the right side of the road… ;-)

    1. I was reading it in Mika’s voice :)

      1. It’s always funnier if you read things in Mika’s voice. :) Particularly if you insert “the” before every mention of “Michael” like he always seems to do.

        1. Is this something inherent in the Finnish language, because I noticed that with other Finns as well sometimes :)

          1. someone or something
            16th December 2020, 13:14

            @jon-thereyougo
            Sort of. Finnish has no articles, so there is no difference whatsoever between sentences like They gave me a/the car or “Car” is a funny word. Therefore, Finns sometimes struggle with articles and may use them incorrectly or inappropriately.

            However, that may not be the only reason. In German, for example, there is an increasing tendency to use definite articles before names in colloquial speech. Nothing to do with articles in that case, as they work more or less like they do in English.
            Any Suomalaiset present?

    2. If my memory serves me right i think a F1 driver had problems with the Police in Zandvoort in end sixties early seventies. But i don’t remember who that person was but the strong arm of the Law removed the driver while walking the track. And the policeman said i don’t care if you are Jan Lammer noone may enter the track! ofcourse the driver protested and got arrested and taking away! His luck a fellow driver saw that and warned racecontrol. The police back then were nothing to strive with and only there presense could control thousands of visitors on track.

  2. That is great news from Porsche (and hopefully Audi joins too maybe even BMW). Toyota Vs Porsche Vs Audi Vs Peugeot would be so exciting.
    BTW 1000kg and 680BHP numbers look very average in the age of Electric Supercars which almost all make 1000+ BHP and weigh closer to 1000kg but i am sure the advantage will be in the long runs and energy deployment department.

    1. It’s more than that AMG44

      In the case of peugeot the specs tanks that

      “The engine will produce more than 680bhp (500kW) and will power the four-wheel-drive LMH together with a with a 272bhp (200kW) front-axle motor-generator unit developed at Peugeot motorsport headquarters on the outskirts of Paris.”

      In this article by AutoSport total power is close to 1000 bhp in most of the situations ….

    2. Jack (@jackisthestig)
      16th December 2020, 6:09

      Fantastic news, the ACO and IMSA seem to have hit the nail on the head with these new regulations. These cars won’t be anywhere near as innovative and spectacular as at the height of the LMP1 Hybrid era but it’s very exciting to see four major manufacturers already committed across the Hypercar and LMDh regulations. Presuming the existing Cadillac, Mazda and Acura DPi programs will continue into LMDh, we could well see upwards of seven manufacturers competing for the outright win at Le Mans in the not too distant future.

      1. So is LMDh the same as the Hypercar regulation or is this like LMP2 and LMP1 respectively?

        1. @jon-thereyougo the “Hypercar” regulations were prepared by the ACO for the World Endurance Category and apply to the top category in that series as a successor to the LMP1 regulations.

          The “LMDh” regulations are written by IMSA, the equivalent motorsport syndicating body in the USA, and are the regulations for their top class. The LMDh cars are based around an LMP2 chassis, although that LMP2 chassis does share the same safety requirements as the LMP1 cars used to.

          Neither rule set is the same as the other, but what the ACO has agreed to is a performance levelling mechanism that would allow an LMDh car to compete against a “Hypercar” on an “Equivalence of Technology” system – basically, a system that is similar to the “Balance of Performance” regulations that applied to hybrid and non-hybrid LMP1 cars.

          1. ok now I got it!

            thanks a lot!

    3. Audi confirmed a program already before Porsche

  3. Please also dump Formula E while you’re at it Porsche.

  4. As with the Audi announcement, bespoke LMH would fit Porsche better instead of this branded LMP2.
    But, after digging into the financials, I understand completely. Shame, though.

    Audi may opt to carry over the Class One 4 cylinder turbo from DTM, Porsche look set to go down the production engine route and may well be targeting a development of the twin turbo V8

    This quote from Dailysportscar makes me happy. It’s kinda the point for me in endurance racing, pitting diverse technologies against each other.

    Ofcourse, after a while BOP/EOT will homogenize the field and the winners are once again predetermined in the boardroom to fit the narrative (do they go for the Underdog Story or the Dominant Technical Excellence or is there a Historical Perspective that particular year) but I’ll pretend not to know that and enjoy the show.

  5. Secret Santa, if you are real, all I want for christmas is that helmet book.

  6. I totally agree with COTD. It was great in the first half of the decade seeing the extra mini-race at the back with a mixture of quick, experienced drivers like Kovalainen and Glock, and pay drivers like Sakon Yamamoto, but also young drivers with potentially bright futures in F1, like Jules Bianchi, Charles Pic, Bruno Senna. You could say that we have that now with Alfa Romeo, Haas and Williams, but I would prefer to see those teams move up to the midfield, and have Caterham, Marussia and HRT-like teams at the back.

  7. Stephen Higgins
    16th December 2020, 9:49

    Another massive shot in the arm for the Hypercar class. If only Lawrence Stroll hadn’t spoiled it by pulling the plug on the Valkyrie …

    1. That project wasn’t really realistic to begin with, as the financial problems Aston Martin had meant development was miles behind schedule (if not largely at a halt anyway as focus shifted onto producing the road car version to keep some money coming in).

      What Stroll did was really just announcing a development that most were expecting anyway, as nobody thought that they had the money to compete at Le Mans.

  8. Isn’t it really weird that the same brands that left Le Mans not long ago, are set to return? With the exception of Nissan, every top manufacturer racing prototypes since 2009 will be racing soon again.

  9. Manufacturers come and manufacturers go. WEC and FE are going through the same boom and bust cycle that F1 has been through several times before. These manufacturers dumped the WEC a few years ago and ae now back, they’ll dump it again in the future if it suits them too.

  10. About F3: One driver announced, a lot more to go!

  11. It seems like formula E won’t be so big after all

    1. I expected them to be rivals with F1 and IndyCar, just like El Clásico and Superclásico…

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