Porsche quits WEC LMP1 class for Formula E programme

Porsche will quit the LMP1 division of the World Endurance Championship at the end of this season ahead of a move to Formula E

Porsche quits WEC LMP1 class for Formula E programme

The German manufacturer is leaving the top-flight of sportscar racing after four seasons with the 919 Hybrid, one year before the end of its existing commitment through to the end of 2018.

It is following Mercedes into FE and will join at the same time for season six in 2019/20.

Porsche has announced its departure from the P1 class of the WEC and its blue-riband round at the Le Mans 24 Hours after firming up plans to launch the first of a range of electric road cars based on its Mission E concept before the end of the decade.

Michael Steiner, the Porsche board member in charge of motorsport as research and development boss, said: "Entering FE and achieving success in this category are the logical outcomes of our Mission E road car programme.

"The growing freedom for in-house technology developments makes FE attractive to us.

"For us, FE is the ultimate competitive environment for driving forward the development of high performance vehicles in areas such as environmental friendliness, efficiency and sustainability."

FE founder Alejandro Agag said Porsche's decision was a huge moment for his series.

"If somebody told me when we started this project five years ago, that we'd be announcing a partnership with a brand like Porsche, I wouldn't have believed it," he said.

"To have a name like Porsche in Formula E, with all it represents in terms of racing and heritage - and in terms of sport cars - is an inflexion point in our quest to change the public perception about electric cars."

Porsche's decision to quit P1 less than a year after sister brand Audi's departure leaves Toyota as the only manufacturer potentially committed for 2018.

But Toyota Motorsport GmbH, which masterminds the manufacturer's WEC campaigns, has said that its commitment for next year was based on the Porsche's continuation in the series.

It stated against a backdrop of rumour that Porsche was gearing up to quit LMP1 earlier this month that it would likely have to review its participation.

It is understood that it could do so as early as next week.

Porsche's withdrawal comes in spite of the role it played in formulating new P1 regulations for the 2020 season when zero emissions running and plug-in hybrid charging will be introduced.

Its decision leaves the future of the P1 division unclear and the possibility that only privateer entries, such as the forthcoming Ginetta and BR Engineering chassis, might be the only cars on the grid.

Porsche will leave the pinnacle of sportscar racing after securing a hat-trick of Le Mans wins this season, which brought its victory tally in the French enduro to 19.

It will keep the successful in-house LMP1 team intact, including its roster of factory drivers.

"Alongside ventures in other racing series and the intensive preparation for FE, Porsche is examining other fields of application and development areas," the statement added.

Porsche has reaffirmed its commitment to GT racing and will continue to run its new rear-engined 911 RSR in the GTE Pro class of the WEC and in GT in the IMSA SportsCar Championship.

shares
comments
BMW M8 GTE challenger completes first track test at Lausitzring

Previous article

BMW M8 GTE challenger completes first track test at Lausitzring

Next article

WEC insists its world championship status safe despite Porsche exit

WEC insists its world championship status safe despite Porsche exit
Load comments

About this article

Series WEC
Teams Porsche Team
Author Gary Watkins
The philosophical problems the WEC's new Hypercar class is already facing Plus

The philosophical problems the WEC's new Hypercar class is already facing

OPINION: Most of the column inches after the World Endurance Championship's opener were centred around the relative pace of the Hypercar class and the LMP2s, but there's another question that needs addressing in order for the new division to have a successful future

WEC
May 7, 2021
How stumbling Toyota drew first blood in the WEC's new era Plus

How stumbling Toyota drew first blood in the WEC's new era

Amid concerns that the new Hypercar class would be upstaged on debut by the spec LMP2 machines at Spa, Toyota delivered the pole and victory that the vast majority of observers expected. But neither car had a clean run, which gave the grandfathered Alpine LMP1 an unexpected shot at glory

WEC
May 4, 2021
Seven things to watch in the 2021 World Endurance Championship Plus

Seven things to watch in the 2021 World Endurance Championship

Beyond the slender grid of headline-grabbing hypercars, there are numerous subplots and changes to look out for in the new season of the WEC, which gets underway at Spa this weekend. Here's the seven key things you need to know about

WEC
Apr 30, 2021
What to expect from sportscar racing's bold new Hypercar era Plus

What to expect from sportscar racing's bold new Hypercar era

A slim field of three cars will be entered in the Hypercar class for the first round of the World Endurance Championship's post-LMP1 age. But there are plenty of reasons for optimism with the new wave of manufacturer entries and competing class philosophies just around the corner

WEC
Apr 29, 2021
How Aston Martin Racing scaled new heights in the Prodrive era Plus

How Aston Martin Racing scaled new heights in the Prodrive era

The 2021 World Endurance Championship kicks off at Spa this weekend, but for the first time since its 2012 inception there will be no works Aston Martins in the GTE-Pro class. As its new era in Formula 1 begins, Aston leaves behind a legacy of success courtesy of its Prodrive-run factory programme that was a hit from the word go in 2005

WEC
Apr 27, 2021
How 'Brilliant' Bob Wollek lived up to his nickname Plus

How 'Brilliant' Bob Wollek lived up to his nickname

Sportscar racing lost one of it's greatest talents 20 years ago today when Bob Wollek was knocked from his bicycle prior to the Sebring 12 Hours. The enigmatic Frenchman never won the Le Mans 24 Hours, but many still remember today why 'Brilliant Bob' became a legend

WEC
Mar 16, 2021
Top 10 moments of an underrated British great Plus

Top 10 moments of an underrated British great

Brian Redman was one of the best sportscar drivers of the 1960s and 1970s, as well as a three-time champion on the fearsome American Formula 5000 scene. To celebrate his 84th birthday Autosport contacted him about his best races – and he decided to write the piece himself…

WEC
Mar 9, 2021
How an endurance racing boom could help one of LMP2's top teams Plus

How an endurance racing boom could help one of LMP2's top teams

The G-Drive squad has been a mainstay of endurance racing in recent years, and has linked up with Russian manufacturer Aurus in recent years to promote its brand. With a change of rules in endurance racing's top tables, the team could be well-placed to take advantage of a potential boom...

WEC
Mar 7, 2021