Preining obtained an opportunity to pattern Porsche’s prototype racer on the Bahrain Worldwide Circuit earlier this month, having been nominated by the German producer for the World Endurance Championship rookie take a look at following his title-winning DTM marketing campaign with the 911 GT3.
Finishing 82 laps of the Sakhir circuit that additionally hosted the WEC finale, the 25-year-old posted a finest time of 1m50.603s within the manufacturing unit, Penske-run 963 LMDh, which was simply two tenths shy of the hassle common driver Laurens Vanthoor managed throughout a brief eight-lap baseline run.
That was regardless of Preining focusing nearly fully on lengthy runs and never doing any low-fuel runs, which meant that he finished the test two seconds off the pace set by Robert Shwartzman in the Ferrari 499P LMH.
A direct commencement to WEC or IMSA SportsCar Championship’s prime class subsequent yr is unlikely for the Austrian, however there might be extra vacancies in Porsche’s LMDh line-ups in 2025 for which he might be thought-about an acceptable candidate.
Requested if he might see himself racing the 963 in 2025, Preining instructed Autosport: “I can undoubtedly think about. We did not actually talk about my future but.
“I am nonetheless very busy this season. I used to be doing DTM in Hockenheim after which I went to Mexico for F1.
“Now I am right here after which I’m going to Macau. I’ll maintain travelling for a very long time, however we have to discover time to talk about these items.”
Picture by: Alexander Trienitz
Thomas Preining, Manthey EMA Porsche 911 GT3-R
He added: “Positively [the test] was at all times one thing I used to be considering.
“After all, it is also one among my goals to compete and attempt to win at Le Mans and Daytona. It is pure. That is the way in which to go, for positive.”
Preining clinched the 2023 DTM title whereas driving for Manthey EMA, a tie-up between Porsche’s former works GTE Professional workforce and Australian GT outfit EMA.
Manthey has been chosen as Porsche’s official workforce in WEC’s new LMGT3 class subsequent yr and can discipline a pair of 911 GT3 Rs within the collection subsequent yr, the identical automobile with which Preining received the DTM title.
Preining mentioned LMGT3 is “one thing on the desk for positive”, however says no determination has been made relating to his programme for 2024.
He’s anticipated to return to the DTM for a 3rd season subsequent yr in a bid to defend his title.
“I do not know the calendar to be trustworthy,” he mentioned. “LMGT3 shouldn’t be one thing we have now spoken about but.
“For positive the main focus has been on the DTM till Hockenheim, then the main focus switched to this and now the main focus switches to Macau, so there’s not a lot room to consider subsequent yr.”
Preining got here via the ranks by way of Porsche’s one-make championships such because the Supercup and the Carrera Cup, earlier than getting his massive break to compete within the ADAC GT Masters in 2019.
Picture by: Alexander Trienitz
Champion Thomas Preining, Manthey EMA
He moved to the DTM in 2022 and helped lead Porsche to a drivers’, groups’ and producers’ treble in solely the second yr of the marque’s participation within the collection.
Porsche motorsport boss Thomas Laudenbach was filled with reward for Preining following his title success within the DTM however was coy when requested if he might be competing in prototypes sooner or later.
“Effectively carried out for Thomas Preining,” he mentioned. “He’s one among our manufacturing unit drivers, which is sweet.
“It is simply nice to see how any person grows with us, coming via our one-make collection and it is simply good to see, ‘Okay, look now he’s received his first massive title along with our model.
“And that is additionally one of many the explanation why we’re giving him the chance right here to do the rookie take a look at. And naturally, it is our second season in DTM and subsequently to win the producers’ title can also be crucial.
He added: “Usually, I see a future for him in numerous areas. There isn’t any determination but on what shall be subsequent yr.
“However this [test] has obtained nothing to do with the choice for subsequent yr. We take it step-by-step.
“That’s the great factor with Porsche Motorsport, we get so many actions that we additionally get some sort of selection to speak to him.”