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Porsche’s new Le Mans Daytona Hybrid (LMDh) prototype completes first active test

The much-anticipated LMDh enters active phase on Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya in preparation for its competition debut in 2023: the 24 Hours of Daytona

Text by Charlotte Iggulden

Starting from the 2023 season, Le Mans Hypercars (LMH) will be joined by the Le Mans Daytona Hybrid (LMDh) cars at the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) and the North American IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, with both prototypes forming the top class of endurance racing.

As opposed to entering the new FIA Hypercar class, Porsche will compete in the more cost-efficient LMDh category for prototype race cars with hybrid powertrains, which replaces the current DPi class. To ensure they can compete alongside the Hypercars, each hybrid must weigh around 1,000 kilograms and be powered by a twin-turbo V8/hybrid system with maximum 500 kW (680 hp) output. In this new era of sports cars, Porsche’s competitors confirmed for 2023 include Toyota and Peugeot in the LMH class, with Acura, Audi, BMW, and Ferrari committed to LMDh.

It will be Porsche’s first return to Le Mans with a hybrid following their 919’s win in the Le Mans Prototype (LMP1) class in 2017.

In collaboration with Team Penske, Porsche’s hybrid has begun an intensive test programme in preparation for its first race in January 2023. Running on the same track as Formula One pre-season testing, the endurance prototype has successfully completed over 2,000 kilometres on the Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona. This is also the first track venture for the racing team before continuing its development on racetracks around Europe and North America. “The focus of the test runs was to set up the systems, develop the tires and optimize the interaction between the V8 turbo engine and the hybrid elements as prescribed by the regulations,” says Porsche. Driver Dane Cameron claims there is still “an incredible amount of potential to improve our new car.”

Following the optimisation of the first prototype, Porsche’s competitor will be homologated in the autumn and identical vehicles will be qualified for the world’s most famous endurance races, including Le Mans, Sebring, and the 24 Hours of Daytona.

Image credits: Louis Beausoleil

But first, some history on arguably one of the most groundbreaking 911s.

The 964 generation of the 911 marked the biggest change in the car’s then 25-year history. 85% of the car’s components were new compared to its predecessor, and for the first all-wheel-drive was an option, the 964 initially releasing only in all-wheel-drive form in the Carrera 4 model. The rear-wheel-drive Carrera 2 model was also released in 1990, with both cars having Coupe, Cabriolet and Targa roof variants.

Image credits: Louis Beausoleil

The 964 also featured a new engine, denoted the M64 with a 3.6 litre displacement. This new powerplant initially developed 250 horsepower at 6,100 rpm, with even more power available later on from the performance models, such as the Turbo and Carrera RS.

Today, you’d be hard pressed to find a more popular generation of the 911 – the 964’s mixture of modernity and its classic 911 feel makes it a perfect choice for a Porsche driver. Driving a 964 is a solid and balanced experience, but still just as exhilarating as previous 911s, especially with the then groundbreaking all-wheel-drive system, powerful engine and the many technical upgrades which the 964 debuted in the early 90s. Furthermore, testament to the car’s classic, yet modern looks, modularity and platform, Singer actually use 964 donor cars as their platforms for their infamous 911 Reimagined by Singer, and the new conceptual Dynamic and Lightweight Study 911.

Image credits: Louis Beausoleil

Now onto our car – this brilliant condition 964 is finished in Guards Red with stunningly-kept bodywork, with no signs of use or wear and tear anywhere. The interior, a lovely contrast of full black leather with red piping, has been preserved incredibly well. After all, this car has had only three owners from new and in its 30-year lifespan it has covered just over 31,000 miles, a seriously low number for such a usable sportscar.

Image credits: Louis Beausoleil

A 5-speed manual transmission is paired to the M64 flat-six, giving the driver the proper, rear-wheel-drive 911 experience. Other interior elements include electric windows, sunroof and a Blaupunkt media player, with part electric seats as well. The car sits on perfect condition 17” alloy wheels and wants for nothing but driving and enjoying like all 911s should.

Available at our London showroom.

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