At today's Night of Champions event, Porsche has announced driver assignments for its four factory entries split across the FIA World Endurance Championship and IMSA GTP championships. As the manufacturer announced in 2021 , both programs will be run by Team Penske as a bi-continental, three-facility alliance called Porsche Penske Motorsport.
The first Porsche Penske Motorsport entry running full-time in the World Endurance Championship will be run by IMSA prototype champion Dane Cameron alongside former Porsche GT drivers Michael Christensen and Frédéric Makowiecki. The second will be driven by GT aces Kévin Estre and Laurens Vanthoor alongside André Lotterer, a current Formula E and one-time Formula 1 driver most notable for his three overall wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with Audi in the early 2010s. While the team could be granted additional entries for the 24 hour classic, these six drivers are the only Porsche factory pilots certain to be racing at Le Mans in the 963 this season.
Although everyone but Lotterer is a relatively unconventional choice, Dane Cameron stands out as the most unique of the group. Cameron, alongside fellow IMSA prototype driver Felipe Nasr, was among the first two drivers signed to the program a year ago. It seemed likely at the time he would continue in IMSA, where he has already won two prototype championships. Instead, Cameron has been assigned to the Europe-focused WEC and will be guaranteed a shot at winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans. As an American driver, this is an exceptionally rare opportunity. No major factory has enlisted an American at the top class in the race in decades, and, although 12 Americans have won the race in its history, none has done so since 1996.
Cameron, who ran some WEC races with Penske's LMP2 program in preparation for the 963 operation last year, spoke with Road & Track about the potential of a Le Mans assignment at a Daytona test earlier this month. He noted that the opportunity to fight for that win presents a great chance to show other young American drivers that there are great achievements available to them in sports cars:
" It was my first time [at Le Mans] last year and I was really impressed with the event. To have an opportunity is all you can ask for in life, so I'm really excited for that opportunity. Hopefully, we can make the best of it and make it happen. [27 years] is a long time and hopefully it can encourage some more drivers to consider sports cars... Hopefully, we can have some success and maybe that will encourage the next batch of young Americans to consider sports cars early, not necessarily as a negative alternative but as a positive thing that you can do and be proud of."
The team's two full-time IMSA lineups have been announced, too. Matt Campbell and Felipe Nasr will headline one, while Mathieu Jaminet and Nick Tandy share the other. Nasr joined Porsche after years fighting for and winning IMSA DPi titles in Cadillacs, while Tandy returns to the program after a brief stint as a Corvette factory driver in the GT ranks. Both Campbell and Jaminet have spent the past few years racing GT cars for Porsche. Cameron and Christensen will be the team's additional drivers at the 24 Hours of Daytona next month.
Porsche has also announced Romain Dumas, Richard Lietz, Thomas Preining, and Gianmaria Bruni as factory drivers. Their assignments for 2023 have not been announced just yet, although the team should have opportunities for them to support customers in both their new 992-generation 911 GT3 Rs and the four customer 963s set to be delivered to teams at some point after the beginning of the season but before the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Finally, at the same Night of Champions event, Porsche has announced that its electric GT4 e-Performance will be at the GP Ice Race in late January.