We’re just 11 months shy of the debut of the latest class to join the IMSA and WEC circuit: the LMDh (Le Mans Daytona Hypercars), or I guess now the GTP (Grand Touring Prototype) for IMSA, as of January, whereas WEC is keeping it simple with “Hypercar.” Regardless, while manufacturers like Acura, Audi, BMW and Cadillac have pledged to participate in this new hybrid series, Porsche stands quite alone so far in being the only car that’s actually been on the track. And Porsche says it’s going really well.
It’s not a mystery that Porsche was doing some sort of track days earlier this week after tweeting a photo Sunday of the LMDh car decked out in camouflage, with the most obvious feature being the new headlights:
In a release, Porsche Penske Motorsport says the LMDh prototype took to the Circuit de Catalyuna in Barcelona, Spain to really begin play with the complex hybrid system. Over several days the prototype covered more than 1200 miles while Porsche and Penske worked on setting up systems, and as they say, “optimize the interaction between the V8 Turbo engine and hybrid elements as prescribed by the regulations.” The testing proved well, as the team was able to also play with setups while beginning to observe how the car will run in some endurance race conditions.
Dane Cameron, one of the Penske drivers had this to say:
Each day we managed to cover more mileage and the performance improved noticeably. Of course, at this early development stage, it’s not about pushing to the very limit. On the contrary: our approach is very conservative. Based on this, my impression is extremely positive, because there is still an incredible amount of potential to further improve our car.
With Penske and Porsche taking a conservative approach to testing, it’s still way more track time and well, anything that their competitors have done for the program. As of late, we’ve seen renderings of participating manufacturers’ cars along with a few mentions of team partnerships, but according to Sportscar 365, most of these new teams and brands will not start on-track testing until possibly this spring or summer.
Penske no doubt has an edge when it comes to racing development, and that could very well be beneficial to the Penske team and its Porsche partner. You can scroll through the Wikipedia page notching every win (and loss) for Penske, but as of late, the No. 6 Acura DPi won the 2019 IMSA DPi season, and the No. 7 Acura DPi won the 2020 season. So, obviously Penske knows what to do here. With an even earlier start to testing, there’s no telling where they will be in January 2023.