Porsche to end WEC LMP1 involvement to enter Formula E

Porsche have decided to end its involvement in WEC at the end of the 2017 season, and enter Formula E from 2019, as Mercedes-Benz will also do. The move leaves Toyota as the sole manufacturer Hybrid LMP1 team.

Porsche to end WEC LMP1 involvement to enter Formula E
Porsche won't defend its Le Mans crown after opting to withdraw at the end of 2017 from the WEC. (Image Credit: Gerlach Delissen/Corbis/Getty Images)

Porsche have decided to end its participation in the World Endurance Championship and the LMP1 class to enter Formula E from the 2019/20 season. 

The news comes after fellow German manufacturer, Mercedes-Benz announced plans to end it's asscioation with the DTM and enter FE itself from season six, which will be the 19/20 campaign. 

The withdrawal from the WEC, leaves Japanese manufacturer, Toyota as the sole non-privateer LMP1 team, after Audi decided to quit at the end of the 2016 season, in part due to the emissions scandal. 

In a statement, the 19 time Le Mans 24 Hours winners said: "This realingment 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."

Michael Steiner, Member of the Executive Board for Research and Development at Porsche, said: "Entering Formula E and acheiving success in this category are the logical outcomes of our Mission E. 

"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."

Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP1 explained how much of a challenge it was to return Porsche to top-level motorsport, which it did in 2014. 

He said: "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."

Since it returned to Le Mans in '14, Porsche has won the 24 hour endurance event three times, in 2015, 2016 and 2017. 

It also claimed the WEC driver's title in '15 with Mark Webber, Timo Bernhard and Brendan Hartley winning the crown. Hartley, Bernhard and Nick Tandy currently lead this season's standings after their success at Le Mans in June. 

Porsche to continue in GT 

Despite withdrawing from the Hybrid LMP1 programme, the German manufacturer has pledged to "maintain its focus on international GT racing, and will also concentrate its motorsport strategy on using the 911RSR in the GT class of the FIA World Endurance Championship - (WEC)."

Steiner commented that the manufacturer "wants to be number one" in GT Racing and that it "must invest accordingly."

Hybrid LMP1 future under threat 

With the news that Porsche are withdrawing at the end of the season, the future of the Hybrid LMP1 era of the WEC is under threat. 

Toyota are committed until at least 2019, but are unlikely to be given any serious competition from the privateer P1 teams, such as ByKolles, given the troubles that it and Porsche experienced during this year's Le Mans. 

During the race, all five manufacturer LMP1 cars, three Toyota's and two Porsche's, all hit technical trouble throughout the race, before #2 Porsche was repaired following a Hybrid issue and managed to pass an LMP2 Oreca-Gibson for the overall lead in the final two hours. 


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