The long-time Porsche GT participant has looked certain for some time to acquire a second customer chassis for the WEC, where he will join the British JOTA team in 2023.
It has emerged as a leading contender to secure the remaining chassis available for IMSA, where it will be Porsche’s second customer after JDC-Miller Motorsports.
Proton bid for the remaining car for North America earlier in the year, but Porsche looks set to go with a new operation set up by IndyCar team owner and 1967 24 Hours of Le Mans winner AJ Foyt with JR Hildebrand. He is driving for Foyt in all five oval races on the IndyCar schedule this year.
That deal now looks unlikely to go ahead, putting Proton back in the frame.
Proton Racing team boss Christian Ryde has confirmed that his team, which competes in GTE Am in the WEC with a pair of Porsche 911 RSRs under the Dempsey-Proton Racing banner, is planning a dual program with the 963 in 2023.
“We want to do it, but nothing is confirmed yet,” Reed told Motorsport.com.
We are still interested in doing both because it is better to have two cars even if they run in different championships.
He explained that the WEC program is more advanced than in North America.
The Proton America branch of the team, which runs the Mercedes-AMG GT3 in the GT Daytona class this year, has admitted it could be ready to run LMDh in time for the Rolex 24 at Daytona IMSA. At the opening of January.
“It’s a matter of time and maybe it’s too late for Daytona,” he said.
However, the 963’s North American customers are unlikely to receive the cars in time for Daytona.
Porsche motorsport manager Thomas Laudenbach said it would be “difficult” when asked if the car deliveries could be made in time for customers to challenge the Penske-registered factory Porsches for the opening round of the IMSA series in 2023.
“The first thing from a development point of view, the car must be ready to be given to customers,” he explained.
“If this is done, we need the parts to build customer cars, which is more difficult.”
When asked if the two series IMSA and two WEC cars will be ready for the ‘SuperSebring’ weekend in March, Laudenbach said: “I would be happy to confirm, but there are many things in our hands.
We’ll do our best to get customers’ cars on the road as soon as possible, but it’s too early to tell for sure.
In the 963 development program, Porsche admitted to running behind schedule.
Laudenbach would not comment on negotiations with Proton ahead of any announcement regarding the destination of the second customer cars.
Porsche driver Gianmaria Bruni, who will race Proton in the European Le Mans Series this year, has expressed his desire to race the 963 for the team next year.
“I like working a lot with the Proton team, and if they’re going with LMDh, if they’re happy to have me, I’d be very happy to drive for them,” he said.
In the WEC this year, Harry Tincknell, who will compete for Proton in GTE Am, is seen as a strong candidate for a seat at the WEC entry.
Additional reporting by Jamie Klein.