JOTA confident of challenging factory Porsche with customer LMDh

The JOTA team is confident it can challenge the Penske factory Porsches when it goes up against them with its customer 963 in the FIA World Endurance Championship next season.

Porsche 963

The first privateer to announce a deal to run a programme in the WEC with the German manufacturer’s new LMDh prototype believes that with identical equipment to the Porsche Penske Motorsport squad and backing from hire car giant Hertz it can compete on equal terms. 

“We are comfortable with the way the rules are written and what Porsche is going to do that we will have the right equipment to challenge for wins,” said JOTA boss Sam Hignett, whose team is graduating to the Hypercar class after multiple successes LMP2 in the WEC. 

“That is the only reason we are going the way we are: we always said we’d only move up if we were able to put together a package that could challenge for outright wins.” 

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Hignett's mention of the rules is a reference to the fact that LMDh is a non-development formula, which means the cars must race in the specification in which they are homologated.  

The tie-up with Hertz was described by Hignett as “a proper commercial deal” that will enable the team to pick and choose its drivers. 

He confirmed that the team will not require funded drivers to fill the seats in its 963, adding “it does give us options there”.

Hignett said he was not in a position to discuss potential drivers for the Porsche. 

Asked if Antonio Felix da Costa is in the frame to move up with the team from LMP2 at a time he is being linked to a seat at Porsche’s Formula E squad, he said: “I can’t say anything with regards to specific drivers.”

#38 Jota Oreca 07 - Gibson LMP2 of Roberto Gonzalez, Antonio Felix Da Costa, Will Stevens

#38 Jota Oreca 07 - Gibson LMP2 of Roberto Gonzalez, Antonio Felix Da Costa, Will Stevens

Photo by: Eric Le Galliot

JOTA is known to have had discussions with multiple LMDh manufacturers, but Hignett explained that Porsche offered the only chance to be on Hypercar grid next year. 

“Everyone knows that Porsche is the only opportunity to be there in 2023 and our philosophy was always to get in from day one,” he said. 

Porsche is one of two LMDh manufacturers committed to racing in the WEC in 2023 along with Cadillac, which has no plans to release cars to customers in year one of its programme.

JOTA is hoping to take delivery of its 963 chassis later this year.

"Hopefully delivery will be in time for all the testing we want to do, but we are very comfortable that the product we will take delivery of will be a turn-key car, which is always the case with Porsche,” he said. 

“We are confident that any problems with the car will be ironed out by the time we start testing.”

It remains unclear whether JOTA will continue in LMP2 alongside racing in the Hypercar division with the Porsche next year. 

“That is not a question we can answer at the moment, but we need to put all our LMP resource behind this programme,” Hignett said without elaboration. 

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