Proton Competition has revealed they faced significant time constraints ahead of their first race with the Porsche 963 at the 6 Hours of Monza.

The German squad was the second WEC Porsche customer team to make their Hypercar debut after JOTA who began their Hypercar campaign at Spa-Francorchamps.

The outfit has run two GTE-Am Porsche 911 RSRs since the 2013 World Endurance Championship season.

Drivers Gianmaria Bruni, Neel Jani and Harry Tincknell drove their new Porsche 963 LMDh on debut at the fourth round of the 2023 WEC season, four weeks after the 100th anniversary of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Christian Reid, owner of Proton Competition and driver in the GTE-Am race-winning #77 Porsche, said:

“It’s a shame that our Porsche 963 couldn’t finish the race. 

“Considering that we couldn’t complete a single test kilometre with the new car, that was a strong performance. 

“The time pressure in the days before Monza was enormous. 

“In order for us to be able to start with the 963 at all, many in the team and with our partners have pushed their limits.”

Michael Reid, team owner and technical director, added: “It’s a shame that the strong debut of our Porsche 963 wasn’t rewarded in the end.”

Photo Copyright: 2023 FIA WEC / FocusPackMedia – Harry Parvin

At first, it was an encouraging debut after they showed competitive pace against the likes of eight other teams, including their fellow Porsche-Penske works cars.

Bruni ran the opening stint of the race in the #99 Porsche, and Neel Jani took over the wheel to lead halfway through the race.

Tincknell was not able to continue the momentum after an unknown technical fault, currently under investigation, forced the team to park their #99 Hypercar two hours prior to the finish.

Bruni said: “We had good speed and could have caused a surprise. Unfortunately, the technology threw a spanner in the works.”

Jani added: “It was a strong performance by the entire team.

“We can build on that for the following races.

“We should be even stronger in Fuji (10 September). 

“Being in the lead in my first race with the Porsche 963 was a great feeling,” he said after an absence from the top WEC class since his 2018-19 Rebellion Racing LMP1 drive.

“In Monza we wanted to gather as much experience as possible with our new car,” Tincknell commented.

“It’s a shame that my stint was very short. But in the first hours of racing, our expectations were far exceeded. 

“That gives us motivation and confidence.”

The penultimate round at Fuji Speedway is expected to showcase the close Hypercar field once again as Toyota look to defend their lead in the standings on home territory.

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