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Does Manthey EMA’s success make DTM unattractive for other Porsche teams?

Porsche contested the 2023 DTM season with three teams, but as things stand only Manthey EMA has committed to continuing in the series next year. Team Bernhard has decided to step down entirely from GT3 racing due to high costs, while Toksport WRT is still working with Porsche regarding a programme for next year.

Toksport WRT made waves on its DTM debut when it outshone the entire field at Oschersleben, clinching an emphatic victory with Christian Engelhart and scoring two other podiums between Englehart and rookie Tim Heinemann. In fact, so impressive were Toksport’s results in the opening double header that Heinemann took the lead of the championship at this early stage of the season.

However, Oschersleben would prove to be a false dawn for Toksport and the team would fail to break inside the top 10 in the remaining seven rounds of the season. A mid-season decision to replace Engelhart with Marvin Dienst also failed to help the squad in turning around its fortunes.

Team Bernhard occasionally appeared at the front in 2023 courtesy of two podiums and a pole by Laurin Heinrich, but no Porsche team found a recipe against the championship-winning Manthey EMA operation.

Beating the German squad is tricky as Manthey is 51% owned by Porsche and from this perspective its involvement in the DTM can be considered a pseudo-factory effort. Critics question whether Porsche would allow another team to be stronger - or even on par - with Manthey EMA.

This was one of the factors that acted as a deterrent for SSR Performance from entering the 2023 season with Porsche, with the squad eventually joining forces with rival brand Lamborghini.

Porsche, however, maintains that it supports all its team equally. This includes the provision of spare parts and technical support, and in special cases, performance support, which consists of Porsche drivers and engineers.

“We don’t take over the cars, that’s very important to us,” explained Porsche Motorsport Director Thomas Laudenbach. "Each team has its own engineers, we are advisory.

“There is also to a very small extent financial support. In this sense, financial means parts packages. The financing, the business case, lies largely with the teams. That's exactly the difference to factory motorsport."

Ayhancan Güven, KÜS Team Bernhard Porsche 911 GT3-R (Photo by: Alexander Trienitz)

Manthey managing director Nicki Raeder also emphasised the difference between its DTM programme and its full-factory GTE Pro programme in the World Endurance Championship, which came to an end in 2022 prior to its arrival in the DTM. 

"In the WEC there were two to five factories that coordinated with each other,” he said. “Here we have 13-14 people responsible and the factories sometimes provide more and sometimes less support, but the bottom line is that everyone works for themselves." 

But even after taking those points into consideration, it’s clear that Manthey EMA is in an excellent financial position and knows the 911 GT3 R better than any other team. At the moment, interest in the DTM among other Porsche teams seems to be fairly limited.

Which Porsche teams could be DTM candidates?

The question remains as to which team (or teams) would be able to fill the gap after Bernhard's exit. Rutronik could be a candidate, but there has been nothing to suggest that the Remchingen-based German team is looking to enter the team.

Allied Racing, which entered a Porsche 911 GT3 R in last year's ADAC GT Masters, and the Joos team, which competed with two Porsches in the ADAC GT Masters this year, are also seen as possible options.

Sven Schnabl's team can also get involved in the DTM but this won’t be possible under the Falken banner, as the DTM has mandated the use of Pirelli tyres in the series. 

Then there is the ex-Audi Car Collection Competition team, which competed in GT World Challenge Europe this year.

Both Proton and Dinamic have defected to Ford, so they no longer play a role.

Using a Porsche in the DTM is not cheap, as there are only a few cars that cost as much as the 911 GT3 R does up front. And the DTM, with its high level of performance and the one-driver-per-car concept, is an expensive GT3 championship to take part in anyway. 

So, it appears there will be a maximum of two Porsche teams that will compete in the DTM in 2024.

Dennis Olsen, Manthey EMA Porsche 911 GT3-R (Photo by: Alexander Trienitz)
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