Porsche Penske Motorsport’s two Porsche 963s will tackle the 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with race numbers 6 and 7. These numbers are well known to partners Team Penske and Porsche from their joint effort with the Porsche RS Spyder – and are associated with many fond memories for both companies. The 680 hp (500 kW) hybrid prototype of the newly created GTP class will be presented to the public for the first time in the United States during the last weekend of the 2022 IMSA season at Road Atlanta.
For Porsche Motorsport and Team Penske, numbers 6 and 7 represent major successes throughout their motor racing history. From 2006 to 2008, Team Penske’s Porsche RS Spyder raced using numbers 6 and 7 and won every title in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS), as it was then called.
“When I see our new Porsche 963 decked out with racing numbers 6 and 7, it brings back wonderful memories of the glory days with the RS Spyder in the USA. », smiles Thomas Laudenbach. The current Vice President of Porsche Motorsport was responsible for the engine development of the successful RS Spyder between 2005 and 2008. “We won everything there was to win at the time. For us, these were class victories in the LMP2 category but we still managed a major blow: the overall victory at the 12 Hours of Sebring. We now look forward to adding to those great, triumphant moments and battling for overall victory at Daytona, Sebring and other IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship events. »
Roger Penske added: “Number 6 and Number 7 both have a rich tradition and history with Team Penske, and we want to build on that heritage as we begin this new journey with the Porsche Penske Motorsport program. The #6 car delivered Team Penske’s first-ever victory with a class win at the 24 Hours of Daytona over 56 years ago, so we’re thrilled to continue the tradition. Our teams have won numerous race victories and series championships over the years with the #6 and #7 cars and we look forward to adding to that track record of success in the future. »
The first major success in the old ALMS championship was achieved by the #6 Porsche RS Spyder: at the end of 2005, Lucas Luhr and Sascha Maassen quickly clinched a class victory on the final test outing at Laguna Seca; a year later, they won the title. The n°7 then experienced its peak, winning a total of 16 LMP2 victories in three years.
“Through these wins, number seven has become one of my favorite and luckiest numbers. Number 7 meant a lot to me back then, but even before that, Porsche and Penske had established a tradition in motor racing with it. In the 1970s, Team Penske’s Porsche 917 raced in the Can-Am series, beating numbers 6 and 7. We were very proud to have the chance to continue that tradition in the ALMS. And it will certainly be no different for the Porsche 963 drivers next year. »explains Timo Bernhard, ambassador of the Porsche brand which won two championship titles at the time.