Home Automotive Porsche welcomes shift to ‘normal engineering work’ on Daytona return

Porsche welcomes shift to ‘normal engineering work’ on Daytona return


Porsche is welcoming a focus on ‘normal engineering work’ ahead of its LMDh car’s second Daytona 24 Hours appearance this weekend after battling a range of technical challenges during its debut season.

The German company’s factory LMDh director Urs Kuratle has been upbeat heading into this weekend’s IMSA SportsCar Championship season-opener where the works Penske team is running two Porsche 963s. Proton Competition’s single-car effort and JDC Miller Motorsports’ are also supporting the works Penske team.

Mentality has changed a great deal since last year, when Porsche went to Daytona unsure of how they would do. Both cars had significant problems during the race, including gearbox failures for one and high-voltage batteries for the other.

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The knowledge gained from this sobering experience and a nine race campaign that caused more headaches than hangovers has led to a team that is more prepared, as well as a GTP field that is more knowledgeable in general. This is due in part to the constant development of software, which is one area where performance can be unlocked gradually in GTP and Hypercar. Hardware-based updates called Evo Jokers are only allowed with FIA agreement, and there are only five for each homologation.

‘We have a general understanding of the car, Kuratle told Racecar Engineering. ‘Last year, it was new to everybody. We talked about whether or not an LMP2 car would win the race. All the cars have been developed in so many different areas. [since then]. Everyone knows their car and tyres much better and everyone was testing much more.

‘Daytona is a special track. It will be interesting for us to wait until Sebring, and other tracks are completed to judge the real gain between 2023 and 2024. It’s definitely much more relaxed. The situation is more under control.’

(Photo: Porsche)

Porsche’s car was not free of problems during the Roar qualifier that took place on the weekend before the Daytona 24 Hours. On the high-speed sections on the banked course, drivers reported oscillations which made it difficult to drive. There were also comments about difficulties on the brakes and turn-in, which was one of the Porsche’s main flaws last year as the inside wheel often locked up when the car’s weight balance shifted to the outside on corner entry.

‘They were bouncing a bit [and] that’s something we have to look at,’ Kuratle acknowledged. ‘It’s better now, but it’s not completely gone yet. It will take a few sessions to fine-tune the car. More or less we are on the right track. The main problem was solved last week, and we now need to be careful to not overreact. [driver] comments.

‘We take the responses seriously, but there is not one big, huge thing that is bigger than everything else. We can now do the work we need to do.

‘At the beginning of last year, at Daytona, the braking phase was the biggest thing for us. Another one was power steering. I wouldn’t say those things are 100 per cent gone, but they are on an [even] The drivers have a higher level of understanding. Everything is now better understood. Now the engineers can stick to their normal jobs of trying to solve the other problems.’

Kuratle acknowledged that the emphasis at Daytona had shifted from problem solving to race preparation.

‘Yeah, so now we can go step by step,’ he added. ‘That’s proper, normal engineering work we can do right now. We can work in a structured way.’

(Photo: Porsche)

The 963 was updated during the off-season with a gearing change on the Bosch motor generator unit. This was done to slow down the car. The new crankshaft could also help reduce vibrations. However, this will not be running on Daytona cars.

‘It’s not a huge step, but it is a step,’ Kuratle said of the MGU gearing tweaks. ‘I can’t tell you in [lap] It is not clear what reliability means. Some [updates] These are small sensors. It is about reliability. But if a sensor is constantly failing, then you need to rehomologate that sensor. It is also reliability. Most of the points are like this.’

The factory Porsche 963s will start Saturday’s 24-hour race from third and seventh on the grid, while the JDC-Miller Motorsport’s privateer car will line up in ninth. Proton Competition ran the other 963 customer car, which missed qualifying because of an accident in one of the practices. It returned to the track last week.

Andrew Cotton: Additional Reporting

The post Porsche welcomes shift to ‘normal engineering work’ on Daytona return appeared first on Racecar Engineering.

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