There are several companies set to join the LMDh prototype class in IMSA and FIA WEC next year, including Porsche, Audi, Acura, BMW, and Cadillac. Alpine, Lamborghini, and McLaren are looking to follow in 2024. But Porsche is the first of those competitors to have not only unveiled its racer, but to have logged several days of testing at tracks all around Europe.
Factory Porsche ace championship-winning drivers Fred Mako, Felipe Nasr, and Dane Cameron have taken the hybrid-powered prototype out for thousands of miles of testing. These tests have taken place not only at Porsche’s home track in Weissach, but also the Barcelona grand prix circuit, Aragon test track, and the legendary Spa-Francorchamps.
“As of the beginning of May, our LMDh car has already completed more than 6,000 km in a wide range of conditions,” says Urs Kuratle, Head of Works Motorsport LMDh.
Porsche is quick to note that the LMDh car will cover similar mileage in its very first event, the 24 Hours of Daytona next January. Obviously the 24 is an incredibly grueling event to take on for a new car fresh out of the box, so the team will need to do quite a bit more testing to get the car up to snuff, but this is certainly a solid start. Race week at Daytona includes the Roar Before The 24 test, practice sessions, a 100-minute sprint to determine qualifying order, and an incredibly competitive twice-around-the-clock race on the famed Roval.
Further tests are planned to take place in North America in the coming months, likely at one of the harshest tracks on the calendar, Sebring International. That Floridian track is a mess of worn concrete and potholed tarmac, meaning it is a real test of a new car’s endurance. It is said that 12 hours of running at Sebring is harder on a car than 48 hours of running at a track like Le Mans. It’s a good and quick way to determine if your parts are up to the rigors of endurance racing.
It’s a very Porsche move to be the first car on track. The company has historically been among the most prepared when it enters a new series. The crested brand from Stuttgart has long held a strategy of tempering expectations and not coming out of the gate swinging above its head. They take a cold and calculated route to the winner’s circle, usually based on spending longer than most in the testing phase of a new race car before deploying it, then spending a season or two learning the ropes before laying the absolute smack down and winning everything under the sun. Here’s hoping the same happens for its LMDh program.