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Four Porsche 963 tackle the six-hour race in Monza

Porsche 963, Porsche Penske Motorsport (#6), Kevin Estre (F), Andre Lotterer (D), Laurens Vanthoor (B); Porsche 911 RSR, GR Racing (#86), Ben Barker (UK), Riccardo Pera (I), Michael Wainwright (UK), 2023, Porsche AG
Porsche 963, Porsche Penske Motorsport (#6), Kevin Estre (F), Andre Lotterer (D), Laurens Vanthoor (B); Porsche 911 RSR, GR Racing (#86), Ben Barker (UK), Riccardo Pera (I), Michael Wainwright (UK), 2023, Porsche AG

Porsche Penske Motorsport has set its sights on achieving another podium result for the Porsche 963 in the FIA World Endurance Championship WEC at the six-hour race in Monza. After disappointing results at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the factory squad now aims to make amends this coming weekend.


In addition to its two hybrid prototypes and the Porsche 963 from Hertz Team Jota, the LMDh hypercar fielded by the customer team Proton Competition will also compete in Italy for the first time. In the GTE Am class, five 911 RSR will battle for positions, points and prizes.

The FIA World Endurance Championship WEC heads into the second half of the season with round five at the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza. To prepare for the race, Porsche Penske Motorsport spent several days in May testing at the 5.793-kilometre high-speed circuit in the Royal Park with the Porsche 963. The works team will again field two hybrid prototypes in the six-hour race in Italy. As usual, the No. 5 cockpit will be shared by Michael Christensen from Denmark, the Frenchman Frédéric Makowiecki and the American Dane Cameron. The No. 6 sister car also competes with the regular works-driver crew Kévin Estre (France), Laurens Vanthoor (Belgium) and André Lotterer (Germany). The goal is clear: Porsche Penske Motorsport is determined to build on its strong form from the spring with a podium result and earn critical points towards the drivers’ and team championship.

“Because of the Le Mans results, we’ve lost touch in the championship, so we’ll concentrate on individual successes for the upcoming races,” explains Thomas Laudenbach, Vice President Porsche Motorsport. “We’re very familiar with the Monza circuit. We tested there with the Porsche 963 and will make the most of the insights we gained there. Monza is the home race of our rival Ferrari. It’d be so good to ruffle the feathers of the red cars there. I’m also looking forward to the first outing of the Proton Competition customer team’s Porsche 963.”

“We have to put the events of Le Mans behind us. Although we’re carefully analysing what happened, we’re of course looking ahead: a great spectacle awaits us in Monza,” says Urs Kuratle. “Four Porsche 963 will line up on the grid for the Italian race. In addition to our two works cars, the customer-run cars from Hertz Team Jota and, for the first time, Proton Competition will also be competing. I hope we turn the huge potential of the car into a heap of points,” adds the Director Factory Motorsport LMDh.

“Our Mannheim-based WEC team only had a few weeks after Le Mans to prepare for Monza,” said Jonathan Diuguid, Managing Director Porsche Penske Motorsport. “The 24-hour race didn’t yield the results we would’ve liked. But it’s been a long road since the season opener at Sebring a few months ago to the team we had at Le Mans. We’re evolving as a squad and we notice the improvements on the racetrack: we just need to get into a steady rhythm of consistency and reliability to turn that process into regular top-3 results. We’re up against some extremely strong competition but our goal for the FIA WEC race in Monza is clear: we want to bring home another podium result with the Porsche 963.”

Premiere: Second privateer team fields a Porsche 963

Like at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, four Porsche 963 racing cars will tackle the Monza race: In addition to the two factory cars and Hertz Team Jota’s entry, the German customer team Proton Competition will also campaign one of the hybrid prototypes for the first time. The No. 99 car will be driven by Porsche works driver Gianmaria Bruni from Italy, Englishman Harry Tincknell and Neel Jani. In 2016, the Swiss racer won the 24 Hours of Le Mans with Porsche at the wheel of the 919 Hybrid and was crowned FIA World Endurance champion that same year.

“We only received the car last Thursday and didn’t have a chance to do any testing before the Monza race weekend,” explains Christian Ried, the team owner of Proton Competition. “We regard our first WEC race as a test. For us, it’s primarily about clocking up as many kilometres as possible with the Porsche 963 to collect as much data and insights as possible. In terms of our sporting goals, we’re of course limited under these circumstances. I’m positive that with our experienced team and strong driver trio we will make quick progress.”

In Italy, Hertz Team Jota puts its trust in Will Stevens from the UK, works driver António Félix da Costa from Portugal and Yifei Ye from China, who is Porsche Motorsport Asia Pacific’s selected driver.

The WEC race

The first races in the Royal Park were contested as early as 1922, at that time on an oval circuit with banked turns that have been preserved to this day. The now 5.793-kilometre variant of the Autodromo Nazionale is all about high speed. Since 1950, a total of 72 Formula 1 Grands Prix have been held on the circuit near the northern Italian metropolis of Milan. In 2017, the FIA WEC conducted its official pre-season tests – the so-called prologue – at the Monza “Temple of Speed”. In 2021, the FIA WEC ran a six-hour race for the first time on the high-speed track. On that occasion, the works-run Porsche 911 RSR won the GTE Pro class after a close battle.

Porsche customer teams and drivers in the GTE Am category

Five 911 RSR will once again take up the fight for points and trophies in the GTE Am class at Monza. In the GT race car campaigned by the Porsche customer team Iron Dames, Sarah Bovy from Belgium, Michelle Gatting from Denmark and Rahel Frey from Switzerland aim to clinch their first win of the season. In the Iron Lynx brother car, Claudio Schiavoni and Matteo Cressoni join forces with Belgium’s Alessio Picariello at their home race. At Dempsey-Proton Racing, team boss Christian Ried from Germany will share the cockpit with Mikkel Pedersen from Denmark and the former Porsche Junior Julien Andlauer from France. GR Racing again relies on Michael Wainwright from the UK, his compatriot Ben Barker and Riccardo Pera from Italy. Project 1 – AO tackles round five of the WEC season with the drivers Guilherme de Oliveira from Portugal, Efrin Castro from the Dominican Republic and Matteo Cairoli. The Italian has also come up through the ranks of Porsche’s junior development initiative and won the Bronze Cup at the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps last weekend.

Drivers’ comments ahead of the race

Michael Christensen (Porsche 963 #5): “I can’t wait to drive the Porsche 963 in the high-speed temple of Monza. After Le Mans, we’re totally focused on achieving a decent result. Hopefully, we can drive a clean race and turn our laps without any incidents. If we can do that, we have a chance at a podium finish. That’s our big goal. In terms of performance, we’re still lacking compared to some of our rivals, but recently we’ve been taking steps in the right direction. We want to continue this trend.”

Laurens Vanthoor (Porsche 963 #6): “Monza is a cool track, and the masses of Italian fans always make this event great fun. I also really like the atmosphere there. After our less-than-ideal performance at Le Mans, we want to make amends. We’re hoping to do this at Monza. The high-speed circuit is known for its exciting slipstream duels – that’ll be spectacular. Success here would be enormously important for everyone at Porsche Penske Motorsport.”

Will Stevens (Porsche 963 #38): “I’m looking forward to the Monza race – especially because we demonstrated a lot of potential at Le Mans but didn’t achieve the result that we felt was within reach. We learned a lot about our Porsche 963 during the many kilometres of racing there. Now we want to put it to good use in Italy and hopefully convert it into a strong result.”

Gianmaria Bruni (Porsche 963 #99): “At last, I’m back in the FIA WEC! I’m thrilled to be competing with Proton Competition in the Porsche 963 in the top Hypercar class. It’s going to be very interesting because it’ll be our maiden outing in the new hybrid prototype. We weren’t able to test drive the car beforehand, and we’re now going straight into the competition. That’s why we mustn’t set our expectations too high: our competitors are mostly factory-run squads with many months and countless kilometres of experience. We want to catch up quickly, but we face a steep learning curve. For me as an Italian, it’s of course something very special that we’re celebrating our debut with the Porsche 963 in Italy of all places!”

Overview of teams and drivers

Hypercar class (Porsche 963):
Porsche Penske Motorsport (#5): Dane Cameron (USA), Michael Christensen (DK), Fréderic Makowiecki (F)
Porsche Penske Motorsport (#6): Kévin Estre (F), André Lotterer (D), Laurens Vanthoor (B)
Hertz Team Jota (#38): António Félix da Costa (P), William Stevens (UK), Yifei Ye (CHN)
Proton Competition (#99): Gianmaria Bruni (I), Harry Tincknell (UK), Neel Jani (CH)

GTE Am class (Porsche 911 RSR):
Project1 – AO (#56): Matteo Cairoli (I), Guilherme de Oliveira (P), Efrin Castro (DOM)
Iron Lynx (#60): Claudio Schiavoni (I), Matteo Cressoni (I), Alessio Picariello (B)
Dempsey-Proton Racing (#77): Christian Ried (D), Mikkel Pedersen (DK), Julien Andlauer (F)
Iron Dames (#85): Sarah Bovy (B), Michelle Gatting (DK), Rahel Frey (CH)
GR Racing (#86): Michael Wainwright (UK), Riccardo Pera (I), Ben Barker (UK)

The schedule

Friday, 7 July
11:30 am – 1:00 pm: Free practice 1
4:40 pm – 6:10 pm: Free practice 2

Saturday, 8 July
10:45 am – 11:45 am: Free practice 3
2:40 pm – 2:55 pm: Qualifying GTE
3:30 pm – 3:45 pm: Qualifying Hypercar

Sunday, 9 July
12:30 pm – 6:30 pm: Race

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