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sábado, septiembre 30, 2023
HomeSports-CarsProton Intends to Stay With Porsche in GTs Alongside Ford – Sportscar365

Proton Intends to Stay With Porsche in GTs Alongside Ford – Sportscar365

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Photo: Porsche

Proton Competition intends to continue racing with Porsche in GT competition next year despite being confirmed as the first customer of the new Ford Mustang GT3.

The German squad has ordered a pair of Fords ahead of a planned FIA World Endurance Championship program in the new LMGT3 class, but team boss Christian Ried told Sportscar365 that he also wants to maintain a long-standing affiliation with Porsche.

Proton will soon introduce a Porsche 963 to the top categories of the WEC and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, while Ried stated that he also has four Type-992 Porsche 911 GT3 Rs on order.

That is set to keep Proton with Porsche in GT racing after several years of running Porsche 911 RSRs in the WEC’s GTE-Am class.

Becoming a Ford customer team helps to spread Proton’s bets considering the rule that each approved manufacturer will have two LMGT3 grid spots next season, although it doesn’t guarantee a two-manufacturer representation in the class that replaces GTE-Am.

Porsche is expected to be approved for LMGT3 because it is also a Hypercar manufacturer, although multiple teams are understood to be hoping for entries.

When asked if Proton could also run its new Porsches in the WEC, Ried replied: “It is up to the manufacturers. It’s up to Porsche. I don’t know how they are handling it.”

Proton’s alignment with Ford developed out of a partnership between the team and Multimatic, which involved the inclusion of Multimatic staff and drivers such as Harry Tincknell and Sebastian Priaulx in recent GTE-Am campaigns.

Multimatic also helped to develop and build the Ford Mustang GT3, as well as being a factory team in the GTD Pro class of the WeatherTech Championship next season.

“When I saw the first drawings of the car and the concept, I thought it was pretty cool,” Ried added.

“When you come to Le Mans, Ford has a great history. I like the idea just to try something different and having some customers running in this program. It’s perfect.”

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It is currently unclear if Proton will operate the Ford outside of the WEC, or if the stable will expand beyond the initial two-car order.

“To be honest, I don’t know,” Ried said when asked about outings in other series.

“If there is interest from customers, European Le Mans Series is also an option. For now, the first commitment is WEC because we have to [submit] the entry in October.”

In addition to its Hypercar and GTE-Am programs with Porsche, and the new GT3 effort with Ford, Proton also races in Porsche Carrera Cup Germany and runs WeatherTech Racing’s Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

GR Racing Hoping to Continue in WEC

Another long-time Porsche GTE-Am competitor, GR Racing, is keen to remain on the WEC grid next year through the transition to GT3-based regulations.

The British squad has been in discussions with Porsche, which is responsible for allocating the entries, but it remains to be seen which customer team, or how many, will get the nod.

GR Racing has fielded a single GTE-Am entry for team owner and Bronze driver Mike Wainwright since 2016 and is one of the longest-running teams in the WEC.

“The reality is that I’m happy to do it, but would I get an entry? That’s fundamentally down to Porsche,” Wainwright told Sportscar365.

“The question is then: who? There are a lot of GT3 teams wanting to do the same thing. Let’s see what happens. It’s an unknown.”

Team principal Owen Daley added that GR, which is understood to have made a GT3 order with Porsche, would be open to adding an entry with another Bronze-rated driver.

“We’ve got the option of having two cars,” Daley said. “If we get the entry as a team, we would run one car or two cars, if that is what is required.”

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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