Porsche Ends 2023 FIA WEC Season on a High Note at Bahrain Race
The final round of the 2023 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) season took place in Bahrain, with Porsche Penske Motorsport aiming for another podium finish. The works team fielded two Porsche 963 vehicles in the eight-hour race, while customer teams Hertz Team Jota and Proton Competition also competed in the top hypercar class. In the GTE-Am category, five partner teams participated in the last event of the year with the Porsche 911 RSR.
The race got off to a challenging start for Porsche Penske Motorsport, with Laurens Vanthoor in the No. 6 Porsche 963 having to avoid a collision in the first corner, which caused him to drop to ninth place. Despite this setback, the team fought hard to make up lost ground throughout the race, and Vanthoor, along with his teammates Kévin Estre and André Lotterer, ultimately finished in fifth place. The No. 5 sister car driven by Fréderic Makowiecki, Dane Cameron, and Michael Christensen secured seventh place.
The Porsche 963 fielded by Hertz Team Jota had a better start to the race, moving up to fourth place in the chaotic sprint to the first corner. However, the team faced challenges with the speed limiter, resulting in two penalties. Despite these setbacks, the trio of António Félix da Costa, Will Stevens, and Yifei Ye fought their way back to secure a respectable fourth position.
In the GTE Am class, the Iron Dames team celebrated their first class victory in the FIA WEC with the Porsche 911 RSR. Sarah Bovy, Michelle Gatting, and Rahel Frey dominated the class, securing pole position and ultimately winning the race. This victory marked the end of an era for the Porsche 911 RSR in the championship, as GT3-class vehicles will be used from the 2024 season onwards.
Reflecting on the race, Thomas Laudenbach, Vice President of Porsche Motorsport, expressed his satisfaction with the team’s overall performance and the positive trend they have seen throughout the season. He also congratulated the Iron Dames team on their victory and looked forward to a stronger season in the future.
Meanwhile, Urs Kuratle, Director of Factory Racing LMDh, expressed his confidence in Porsche’s performance and emphasized the importance of tire management in the challenging desert conditions of Bahrain. He highlighted the team’s progress in this area and stated their goal of finishing ahead of Cadillac in the race.
Jonathan Diuguid, Managing Director of Porsche Penske Motorsport, commended the team’s strategy in the previous race and stressed the importance of turning their strong performance into a win in Bahrain. He expressed his confidence in the team’s talent and effort and looked forward to a successful end to the season.
In the qualifying session, Kévin Estre secured the fourth fastest lap for Porsche Penske Motorsport in the Porsche 963, while Frédéric Makowiecki secured seventh place. The Iron Dames team secured pole position in the GTE Am class with their Porsche 911 RSR.
Looking ahead to the race, the Porsche teams were optimistic but also recognized the challenges presented by the high temperatures and tire wear in Bahrain. Each driver expressed their determination to finish the season on a high note and achieve their goals in the race.
Overall, Porsche ended the 2023 FIA WEC season with a strong performance and positive results. The team showcased their progress throughout the season and demonstrated their competitiveness in the hypercar and GTE Am classes.