Porsche Unveils 963 Daytona Hypercar, Will Run Le Mans Next Year

Tim Stevens Former editor at large for CNET Cars
Tim Stevens got his start writing professionally while still in school in the mid '90s, and since then has covered topics ranging from business process management to video game development to automotive technology.
Tim Stevens
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Porsche's prototype 963 racer moodily lit in a dark studio

The new Le Mans Hypercar category just got substantially more interesting. Porsche, which hasn't run a prototype at the 24-hour endurance race since its 2017 overall win with the 919 Hybrid, has a new one intended to simultaneously conquer Europe and America. It's called the 963 and it'll enter both the FIA World Endurance Championship and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship next year.

Porsche Penske Motorsport will run four of the things, two in each of the series, and believe it or not they're already accepting orders from customers who might want to get in on the fun themselves. At its core, the 963 features a chassis designed by Multimatic, the company behind the Ford GT amid many other desirable racers. That supports a 4.6-liter twin-turbo V8, which Porsche says is derived from the engine in the 918 Spyder, but borrows some learnings from the RS Spyder prototype that Porsche and Penske ran together between 2005 and 2008. Total power output is 680 horsepower -- pretty good for a car that must weigh just 2,270 pounds according to regulations.

Porsche's 963 is a Prototype Destined for Le Mans

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Those regulations form the so-called Le Mans Daytona Hypercar category, or LMDh, a sort of cost-conscious offshoot of the LMH category typified by Peugeot's wild and wingless 9X8. Both categories must meet largely the same regulations, but additional cost-caps and parts-sharing regulations means LMDh cars can also run in the American IMSA series. Indeed that's where the 963 will make its racing debut, at the 2023 24 Hours of Daytona in January, though it will take part in a "non-competitive dress rehearsal" in November's WEC event in Bahrain. 

The 963 features a design that harkens back to Porsche's great '80s prototypes, like the 962, and will line up on the track against entries from Lamborghini, BMW, Cadillac and more. Yes, dear readers, next year's endurance racing serious is going to be epic.