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Porsche to withdraw from LMP1, enter Formula E

Friday, July 28, 2017

Photos courtesy Porsche

German luxury and sports car maker Porsche made a stunning yet unsurprising announcement today: It will terminate its successful LMP1 endurance racing program at the end of the 2017 and join Formula E for the 2019 season. Its top GT-level motorsports programs contested with the mid-engined 911 RSR will remain.

The announcement comes after rumors of Porsche’s interest in Formula E, the top level of electric car racing, surfaced this year. The reason for the withdrawal from LMP1, Porsche says, is to allocate its motorsports resources that align with company’s focus on electric cars outlined in its strategy 2025, the first product of which, the Mission E electric sedan, is due to go on sale by the end of 2020.

“Entering Formula E and achieving success in this category are the logical outcomes of our Mission E,” says Michael Steiner, member of the company’s Executive Board for Research and Development. “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 cites the diversity of auto manufacturers competing in the GT classes in IMSA and the FIA’s World Endurance Championship (WEC) as a reason for the continued support of factory efforts with the 911 RSR. In the WEC this year, Toyota is the only direct competition to Porsche in the LMP1 class.

In Formula E, major auto manufacturers who compete or have committed to a future season include Audi, Jaguar, Faraday Future, Mahindra, Renault, BMW, and Mercedes-Benz.

The first Formula E season was 2014-15, while Porsche will contest the sixth, which runs from fall 2019 to summer 2020. At the start, Formula E was a spec series, in which the chassis and drivetrains were provided to teams. New powertrain manufacturers have been allowed since the second season.

 Porsche has raced in the top level of endurance racing with its 919 Hybrid, a gasoline-electric race car, since the 2014 WEC season. It won the drivers and manufacturers championships in 2015 and 2016, and is first in the current season, which ends with the 6 Hours of Bahrain in November. Porsche has won the 24 Hours of Le Mans for three consecutive years since 2015

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