Propelled by a highly efficient powertrain, piloted by outstanding drivers, and prepared by the Porsche Penske Motorsport team, the new Porsche 963 racecar will be on the hunt for overall victories at the world’s most famous endurance events during 2023. After a crowd-wowing unveiling at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in the summer of 2022, and intensive testing at Daytona International Speedway, the car is more than ready for lights out at the 24 Hours of Daytona in January – the first official race for the Porsche 963. Expect a fiercely competitive approach from the Porsche Penske Motorsport team as its exciting journey with the Porsche 963 begins.

Porsche 963 driving at sunset on Daytona International Circuit
Ready to rumble: 2023 marks the first year of racing for the Porsche 963

The Porsche 963 concept

Back in 1951, Porsche launched its first ever racecar – the Porsche 356 SL. Ever since then, the brand has been a dominate force in motorsport, claiming more than 30,000 race victories across the years, including 22 titles at the 24 Hours of Daytona and 19 overall victories at Le Mans. Now, with the 963, Porsche is on the quest to clinch yet more success in these legendary endurance events.

Developed to compete in both the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) globally and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in North America from 2023, and race-prepped by Porsche Penske Motorsport, the hybrid Porsche 963 is designed to compete at the very highest level in endurance motorsport. When it comes to the team’s owner himself, Roger Penske, it also represents the chance for this legendary motorsport figure to realise a lifelong dream – to claim overall victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.

The cars were built with a number of advanced features like a lightweight carbonfibre body, designed in partnership with acclaimed designer Grant Larson from Style Porsche (the inhouse Porsche design studio). Its cutting-edge hybrid powertrain – with its engine based on that of the 918 Spyder – makes it a formidable force to be reckoned with. Not to mention, the racecar is further designed to run on renewable fuels, leading to reduced carbon dioxide emissions.

When it comes to its design language and exterior colours, influences from the victorious Porsche 956 and 962 classics from the 1980s are clear, but this is no exercise in nostalgia. The advanced technology in the Porsche 963 could one day feature on Porsche road cars. The vehicle’s striking white, red, and black livery – the typical Porsche Motorsport colours – may echo successful racing cars of the brand’s past, but the rear end of the car features a continuous illuminated strip and nameplate that’s a feature of today’s Porsche 911 (type 992) sportscar.

Porsche 963 on the Goodwood Hillclimb, start line in background
The Porsche 963 heads up the legendary Goodwood Hillclimb during its global reveal at the 2022 Festival of Speed

The unveiling: 2022 Goodwood Festival of Speed

In advance of its competitive debut at Daytona in January 2023, the Porsche 963 was launched at the 2022 Goodwood Festival of Speed in suitably impressive style. Headlining proceedings on the Friday night at the iconic annual motorsport event, it was pushed by Porsche engineers to the start line of the epic hillclimb while still under wraps. As its covers were whipped off it was go, go, go as necks craned and cameras and phones clicked.

Taking on Daytona International Speedway

Its appearance at Goodwood, of course, was merely an aperitif for the Porsche 963. After completing rigorous testing at the Daytona International Speedway US circuit, it will return to the legendary Florida track from 28-29 January for the 24 Hours of Daytona event – its first official race.

In preparation for its breakout year, the Porsche 963 has completed more than 17,000 test miles. As part of this test programme, the racecar and Porsche Penske Motorsport team spent two days lapping Daytona’s oval track and winding infield 397 times, covering 2,274km in total – about the same as driving from Stuttgart, Germany, to Istanbul, Turkey. As well as helping assess its endurance credentials, this allowed the car to be put through its paces in other ways too. The 4.6-litre, twin-turbo, V8 680PS engine with a seven-speed racing transmission at times had to battle 35°C temperatures and a humidity of over 90 per cent. This additional stress on the lightweight 998kg vehicle helped provide the kind of tough, necessary conditions for the ultimate in race prep. 

Works drivers Dane Cameron (USA), Matt Campbell (Australia) and Mathieu Jaminet (France) took it in turns behind the wheel to offer feedback to help further improve the set-up of the car, working alongside engineers from Porsche Porsche Motorsport team. It also further strengthened the all-important relationship that any successful team needs. 

Porsche 963 driving on Daytona track during daylight
Sweltering temperatures and high humidity were some of the challenges facing the Porsche 963 during testing at Daytona International Speedway

The team spirit behind the Porsche 963

With 45 Porsche Penske Motorsport experts preparing two Porsche 963 racecars for the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) in Mannheim – and just as many for the IMSA campaigns in Mooresville – a strong management team ensures that that everything runs flawlessly behind the scenes.  

As director of LMDh Factory Motorsport, Urs Kuratle oversees everything on behalf of Porsche Motorsport. “No one had ever even attempted to offer such technologically advanced customer vehicles from the very start,” says Urs about his team’s ambitious project. “And even now, we’re the only ones doing that. Porsche has made an extremely powerful commitment to the new top category in endurance sports, which cannot be compared with the past tradition of customer teams.” 

Over on the Penske side, Roger Penske bolsters the team with a passion for motorsport, first as a driver and then team owner, that spans more than 60 years. The 1961 Sports Illustrated Race Car Driver of the Year and owner of the IndyCar Series (the highest formula class in North America) as well as the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the 85-year-old has racked up more than 600 wins and 43 championship titles in different series since becoming head of Porsche Penske Motorsport. The team also boasts 18 Indianapolis 500 victories, three Daytona 500 Championships, a Formula 1 win, victories in the 24 Hours of Daytona and the 12 Hours of Sebring, and a Bathurst 1000 race win to its name.

During Roger’s career as a racing driver, he won 28 races in a Porsche before retiring from competitive driving in 1965. After establishing his racing team in 1966, Roger’s successes include dominant performances with the legendary Porsche 917/30 in the Can-Am series in 1973. “The most important thing is to take good care of your employees,” says Roger. “They need to work in an environment they can make mistakes in. We discuss them and then learn from them together.”

Rear end of black, white and red Porsche 963
Catch me if you can: the distinctive light strip and Porsche nameplate at the rear of the 963 means that chasing drivers know exactly who’s ahead

2023 Porsche 963 race schedule

The Porsche 963 will compete for Porsche Penske Motorsport in a packed race calendar during 2023. Here’s where you can follow the cars and their drivers across 18 races, eight countries and three continents, in both the IMSA and WEC competitions.

2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship

• 28-29 January 2023

Rolex 24 At Daytona

Daytona International Speedway, Florida, USA

Race duration: 24 hours

• 18 March 2023

Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring

Sebring International Raceway, Florida, USA

Race duration: 12 hours

• 15 April 2023

Acura Grand Prix of Long Beach

Long Beach Street Circuit, California, USA

Race duration: 100 minutes

• 14 May 2023

Motul Course de Monterey

WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca, California, USA

Race duration: 2 hours and 40 minutes

• 25 June 2023

Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen

Watkins Glen International, New York, USA

Race duration: 6 hours

• 9 July 2023

Chevrolet Grand Prix

Canadian Tire Motorsport Park, Clarington, Ontario, Canada

Race duration: 2 hours 40 minutes

• 22 July 2023

Northeast Grand Prix

Lime Rock Park, Connecticut, USA

Race duration: 2 hours 40 minutes

• 6 August 2023

IMSA SportsCar Weekend

Road America, Wisconsin, USA

Race duration: 2 hours 40 minutes

• 27 August 2023

Michelin GT Challenge

Virginia International Raceway, Virginia, USA

Race duration: 2 hours 40 minutes

• 17 September 2023

IMSA Battle On The Bricks

Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Indiana, USA

Race duration: 2 hours 40 minutes

• 14 October 2023

Motul Petit Le Mans

Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Race duration: 10 hours

2023 FIA World Endurance Championship

• 17 March 2023

Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring

Sebring International Raceway, USA

Race distance: 1,609km (1000 miles)

• 16 April 2023

6 Hours of Portimão

Autódromo Internacional do Algarve, Portugal

Race duration: 6 hours

• 29 April 2023

6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps

Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium

Race duration: 6 hours

• 10-11 June 2023

24h Le Mans

Circuit des 24 Heures, France

Race duration: 24 hours

• 9 July 2023

6 Hours of Monza

Autodromo Nazionale di Monza, Italy

Race duration: 6 hours

• 10 September 2023

6 Hours of Fuji

Fuji Speedway, Japan

Race duration: 6 hours

• 4 November 2023

8 Hours of Bahrain

Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain

Race duration: 8 hours

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Rear view of Porsche 963 wing. Rear continuous light strip also lit up