A thrilling 2023 season in endurance racing has come to an end with the conclusion of the 8 Hours of Bahrain. A great time to look back on the triumphs and setbacks of the Porsche Penske Motorsport Team, and review the final race of the Porsche 911 RSR.
Expectations were high when it was announced in 2021 that Porsche and Team Penske would be competing in the world's two biggest endurance races: Two reknown motorsport teams that had made successful appearances in the past - and they had their sights set on the FIA World Endurance Championship. Back then, Michael Steiner said, "Our intention is to support and shape the new era with our LMDh prototypes."
Since then, the teams have been working on the Porsche 963, and between the development and the first tests in 2022, the engineers and mechanics have grown together into a single unit. And the common goal is clear: the 20th overall victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Now, the 2023 season is coming to an end and among others, the two Porsche Penske Motorsport 963 vehicles have run several miles. Time to look back on the past year.
A final year for the Porsche 911 RSR
The Customer Racing Teams fielding the Porsche 911 RSR had a successful final year in the LMGTE Am class. Particularly the exclusively female Iron Dames team managed to score pole position three times and finished multiple races within the points. They also achieved the pole position in Bahrain and took the lead until the Iron Lynx caught up to them. But they maintained the spot behind their team colleagues until they had to pull out of the race, therefore returning to the lead and finish the race there. With that, they won the second spot of the class team championship of the season.
The Iron Lynx faced multiple challenges in the last season of the Porsche 911 RSR, but they refused to give up. They finally seemed to achieve what they had fought so hard for in Bahrain: In the first hour of the race, they took the lead and managed to maintain it for multiple hours. Sadly, they had to stop two hours before the 8 Hours of Bahrain were over.
Dempsey-Proton Racing also achieved good positions throughout the races and came close to a podium for the class team championship ahead of the last race in Bahrain. Their team colleagues Proton Competition were less successful, but can look back on a storied history full of victories.
Project 1 - AO went out without any wins, but always managed to keep up well with the remaining field. But their greatest victory had already been won in Le Mans anyway: They introduced their now popular "Rexy" livery there and became the winner of fan hearts.
All teams offered thrilling battles for positions with the Porsche 911 RSR and brought the vehicle that had been a household name in motorsport across the final finish line with much heart. The Porsche 911 RSR got to experience much with these Customer Racing Teams: from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows, from tears of anguish or happiness all the way to the broadest grins on the podium.