Porsche confirmed that their withdrawal from Le Mans will see them join sister brand Audi at Formula E.
“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” said Michael Steiner from Porsche’s R&D center.
Porsche has quit WEC and Le Mans in general, effective from the 2018 season. The decision comes from VW in what appears to be a brutal cost cutting measure. It was speculated that the German car maker was considering withdrawal from the series a few weeks ago, despite having dominated the season so far including picking up their 19th Le Mans win in history. It’s estimated that Porsche spends around 250 million euros per year in WEC.
This comes just a few days after Mercedes quit DTM in favor of Formula E, and one year after sister company Audi quit Le Mans for Formula E as well. It’s not known if Porsche plans to join a new series, but Formula E could be the most likely and effective option.
2016: Audi quits WEC
2017: Mercedes quits DTM
2017: Porsche quits WEC#Sadtimes
— Karanja Earl Simmons (@Earlsimxx) July 27, 2017
Toyota is now the sole manufacturer left to compete in LMP1 come next season, if they don’t decide to pull out too. With little or no competition left in LMP1, Le Mans could see the top category removed in favor of a more competitive field like LMP2 and GTE. BMW joins GTE soon, and LMP2 has shown significant improvement this year especially at Le Mans.
All in all, WEC will need a better enticement package in order to pull in more car makers into the GT program such as Audi, Bentley and Nissan. So far, the GT manufacturers include Aston Martin, Ford, Ferrari and Porsche.