Friday, 28 July 2017

FIA WEC: Porsche announces end of LMP1 involvement

This morning, Porsche has confirmed the end of its involvement in the LMP1-H class of the FIA World Endurance Championship and the 24 Hours of Le Mans at the end of the 2017 season, ending the speculation of the last weeks about a possible exit. 

From 2019 on, the German manufacturer will compete in the Formula E championship with a Porsche works team.  Porsche maintains its focus on international GT racing, and will also concentrate its motorsport strategy on using the 911 RSR in the GT class of the FIA WEC and the American IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship & other long-distance classics.  This realignment of motorsport is derived from the direction set out for the company in Porsche Strategy 2025, which will see Porsche develop a combination of pure GT vehicles and fully electric sports cars, such as the first fully battery-powered Mission E road car. 

“Entering Formula E and achieving success in this category are the logical outcomes of our Mission E. The growing freedom for in-house technology developments makes Formula E attractive to us”, says Michael Steiner, Member of the Executive Board for Research and Development at Porsche AG. “Porsche is working with alternative, innovative drive concepts. For us, Formula E is the ultimate competitive environment for driving forward the development of high-performance vehicles in areas such as environmental friendliness, efficiency and sustainability”. Porsche has already taken the first steps towards developing its own Formula E racing car this year. 



At the same time, Porsche is increasing its commitment in the GT class. “A diversity of manufacturers and the quality of both WEC and IMSA have led us to strengthen our commitment and concentrate our energies on using the 911 RSR”, says Steiner. “We want to be number one. To do that, we must invest accordingly”. 

Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP1 and a central figure in the return of Porsche to top-level motorsport in 2014, says: “Building up the Le Mans team from scratch was a huge challenge. Over the years, we have developed an incredibly successful and professional team. This will be our basis going forward. I am certain that we will maintain our high level in Formula E. Confidence is high, and we are excited to get started”. Porsche will keep the successful LMP1 team fully intact, including the factory drivers. 

Since the announcement of Porsche this morning, the ACO and FIA WEC have issued the following statement:

The manufacturer Porsche, which recently confirmed its participation in the FIA ​​LMP1-H World Endurance Championship up to the end of the 2018 season, and which has been actively involved in the development of the technical regulations that will come into force in 2020, has just announced the withdrawal of its LMP1 hybrids from the end of the 2017 season.

The Automobile Club de l’Ouest, promoter of the WEC and organiser of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, regrets this precipitous departure, as it does the abruptness of the decision from one of endurance racing’s most successful and lauded manufacturers.

However, the ACO and the FIA, guardians of the existence and quality of the FIA World Endurance championship, have immediately set to work to put forward to everyone involved in endurance racing the outline of the 2018 season – a season which promises to be quite exceptional thanks to the introduction of new innovations.

Clearly, the reduction of costs and stability, but also inventiveness and audacity, will be vital in making it possible to stage an increasingly spectacular and attractive championship with the sport of endurance racing at the forefront.

This unprecedented 2018 World Championship will, without doubt, excite and enthuse competitors, partners and fans of endurance racing alike. 

We look forward to seeing you in Mexico City on September 2 and 3 for the next WEC event when further information will be given.


Kristof Vermeulen.

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