Porsche has openly considered giving the 963 an early first race at the November 12 Bahrain 8 Hours to prepare for a dual assault on the WEC and IMSA Sports Car Championship in 2023.

The German manufacturer has been running the Multimatic-based hybrid contender since January this year and has completed a number of tests on both sides of the Atlantic with two different chassis during this period.

It raised hopes that Porsche could take advantage of a special WEC permit to run LMDh machines in non-homologated form this year ahead of their planned introduction in 2023, something no other manufacturer thought they could do.

However, in September, factory team Porsche Penske announced it had withdrawn from racing in Bahrain, instead focusing on additional testing in North America.

Duvall, who raced for Porsche’s subsidiary Audi in the WEC from 2012 to 2017, said it was understandable that the Weissach manufacturer was reluctant to run the 963 in racing conditions just yet, having witnessed first-hand the difficulties of Peugeot’s return to the top. – level of sports car racing.

Asked if he was surprised by Porsche’s decision not to race in Bahrain, Duvall told Autosport: “No. I don’t know where they are [in terms of development] but it also shows you that it’s not that simple.

“Peugeot has been away from the top endurance category since 2011 and they are back from scratch; The Porsche is gone [from the top category] from 2017, but they remained in the WEC with GT cars.

“They started testing around the same time as us, but we’re already here and they’re not. It shows the complexity of connecting everything.

Loic Duval

Photo: JEP / Images of motor sports

“And it could be a choice on their part – maybe they’re not really ready, or maybe they’re kind of ready, but they don’t want to come to the racetrack and have no chance of winning the race. This may also be one of the prospects they have.

“This is their decision. Surprised, no, but sad, yes, because it would be nice to see a Porsche on the racetrack in Bahrain.”

Peugeot has completed several thousand kilometers of testing with the 9X8 LMH in preparation for its first sports car racing program since 2011, but its first two races have so far been marred by various technical problems.

Duval, Gustavo Menezes and James Rossiter in the No. 94 finished almost last in Peugeot’s Monza debut due to cooling problems, while the sister No. 93 driven by Paul di Resto, Michel Jensen and Jean-Eric Vergne , left due to what the French manufacturer called “systemic problems with the car.”

An oil leak then dashed Peugeot’s hopes of a podium at Fuji, with di Resta, Jensen and Vergne finishing seven laps down in the best-of-two 9X8s.

Asked about Porsche’s decision to decline an invitation to Bahrain, di Resto said he felt Peugeot’s own problems in building a credible LMH rival showed the manufacturers could not rely entirely on private testing.

“I know what’s going on behind the scenes and how difficult it is, and it only takes one little thing to not be ready from the manufacturer’s side or the supplier’s side to throw him off course,” the British driver told Autosport.

“I can’t answer for them whether it’s reliability or just that they want more preparation, but any time you can race it’s important to prepare your people.

“And when you think about how ready you have to be for next year, I think that’s a big step. It’s not something you can model that well in Aragon or anything [in a private test].”