Strong on the continent: the 1970ies.
While Porsche and Penske entered the grid of the Canadian-American Challenge Cup (Can-Am) in 1972, Porsche won the GT manufacturer title in Europe. The following year, the Porsche 911 Carrera RSR dominated as winning car. Even though the win in Le Mans is elusive, the RSR goes down in history with its finish during the legendary Targa Florio in 1973. Thus, heralding a new era in GT customer racing.
Meanwhile in the US, Team Penske driver Mark Donohue races onto the second spot with the 1,000 HP-strong 917/10 on June 11, 1972. And that despite the fact that his turbo throttle cap was stuck open due to track dust, throwing him back by three rounds. During the Road Atlanta in the following spring, George Follmer took the driver’s spot of an injured Donohue – and raced for the victory. Thus began a series of wins for Team Penske and Porsche: out of 17 races in two seasons, the team achieved 11 victories.
Title holders: Die 2000er.
In the year 2006, Team Penske returned once more to the IMSA, together with Porsche Motorsport. The team entered the LMP2 category of the American Le Mans Series (ALMS) with the Porsche RS Spyder – and directly won the overall victory, manufacturer title and the driver’s title in the first year.
The following years, 2007 and 2008, were much of the same: With the Porsche RS Spyder, Team Penske won all titles of the LMP2 class once more. And even won against LMP1 prototypes. Particularly in 2008, the cooperation fulfilled a long harbored dream: the victory at the 12 Hours of Sebring and they managed it twice-over. First and second spot went to Team Penske. Meanwhile for Porsche, this was the first victory after exactly 20 years in Florida.
Record hunters: 2023 onwards.
In 2023, the World Endurance Championship calendar begins with the 1,000 Miles of Sebring on March 17. But the team could already grow into a cohesive unit during the development and homologation of the Porsche 963. After the roll-out of the LMDh prototype, the Porsche Penske Motorsport Team went straight to on-track testing: the team covered roughly 8,000 kilometers in the first half of the year 2022, just to prepare the Porsche 963 for its run in the IMSA and WEC.
Already, the team could gather precious driving experience in Europe during the tests: during the roll-out in the Porsche Development Center in Weissach, the tests on the Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona and the presentation of the 963 in Goodwood. But the time of tests is over soon and then it will be about celebrating new victories in the FIA WEC.
The shared history and great successes we celebrated together are incomparable. I can barely await building up the global race team that will race for victories and titles.
Green light for Sebring.
The first race of the FIA WEC is set to start in March: During the 1,000 Miles of Sebring, Porsche Penske Motorsport is due to face the competition within the world championship for the first time. For the team, it’s a green light to fulfill their shared ambitions on a global level. The great goal: Le Mans. For the team around Roger Penske, a victory in Le Mans is one of the great unfulfilled dreams. Meanwhile, with 19 overall victories, Porsche remains unchallenged on the racetrack along the Sarthe river, but the motorsport team remains as ambitious as any Porsche team has always been – the 20th overall victory is in sights, befitting the 75th brand anniversary and 100th anniversary of Le Mans.
The team was already quite ambitious during the homologation phase for the Porsche 963: In January, the 963 already went through the shakedown process for stability testing and covered over 20,000 kilometers since then. The goal of the developmental time: A vehicle, that can consistently uphold high speeds over time, while still being accessible for driver and crew.
From the first race in Sebring in March onwards, the team is willing to prove that the previously covered kilometers and hard work of engineers, mechanics and drivers can live up to the high expectations. And they are willing to add more to previous victories.