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Porsche to pull factory GTLM team from North American endurance racing

Friday, June 5, 2020

Above: Porsche GT Team 911 RSRs at Daytona. #911 drivers: Nick Tandy and Frederic Makowiecki. #912 drivers: Earl Bamber and Laurens Vanthoor.

Article by Damon Lowney
Photos courtesy Porsche

After decades of involvement in North American endurance racing, Porsche announced yesterday that it will pull the plug on its factory GTLM-class team at the end of the 2020 season, citing the economic effects of the covid-19 pandemic on the automaker.

The departure means Porsche’s current top-tier race car, the 911 RSR, will not make an appearance in the 2021 season, at least not under the factory’s banner. There was no mention in a press release whether the 911 RSR would be raced privately or not, but Porsche did say that it’s committed to supporting customer teams racing the 911 GT3 Cup in the GTD class of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and the GT3 Cup Challenge USA, as well as the 718 Cayman GT4-contested Michelin Pilot Challenge.

“The decision to halt our factory involvement in the IMSA series was not an easy one for us,” emphasizes Fritz Enzinger, Vice President Porsche Motorsport. “With a view to the current corporate situation in connection with the Coronavirus pandemic, it is only logical for Porsche Motorsport to make a contribution to coping with the economic fallout.”

The Core Autosport-partnered Porsche team will finish the 2020 season, which is scheduled to start back up on July 3-4 at Daytona International Raceway (yes, two Daytona races this season) for a 2-hour and 40-minute race. If the season goes according to plan, the last race will be the 12 Hours of Sebring on Nov. 11-14. Porsche, currently in second place after one race (24 Hours of Daytona in January) is looking to defend the GTLM championship, which it won last year.

Here’s to hoping the factory team reenters IMSA sooner rather than later, whether in GTLM with a new 911 RSR or perhaps a new entry in the sanctioning body’s new Le Mans Daytona Hybrid (LMDh) class. 

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