Monday, September 4, 2017

Porsche Pulls Out of Endurance Racing's Top Class; Sets Sights on Formula E


Porsche bids goodbye to the world of top-tier endurance racing as they will be ending their involvement in the LMP1 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship or WEC at the end of this season. That news comes hand-in-hand with the announcement that the storied German sportscar maker shifts its efforts to Formula E. Beginning 2019, Porsche will run a works team in the all-electric series and in fact, they have begun developing their own Formula E racer.

Formula E is the world’s first purely electric racing series and was launched on September 13, 2014. The International Automobile Federation, or FIA, which is also responsible for Formula 1, has organized the series to make a statement in favor of electromobility and to get more young people excited about motorsport. Unlike most other series, the season begins in the autumn and ends in summer. The race venues are specially designed street courses in the heart of major cities, meaning the sport comes to the spectators, and not the other way around. Electromobility is playing an important role in the mobility of tomorrow, especially in urban environments.

This realignment of Porsche’s motorsport activities syncs perfectly with their corporate strategy of Porsche Strategy 2025, which will see the carmaker develop a combination of pure GT vehicles and fully electric sports cars, such as the first fully battery-powered Mission E road car.

“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”, says Michael Steiner, Member of the Executive Board for Research and Development at Porsche AG. “Porsche is working with alternative, innovative drive concepts. 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”.

After four highly successful years, three victories in a row at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and World Championship titles in both the team and driver classification in 2015 and 2016, Porsche will leave the LMP1 class behind. Nevertheless, this year the works team from Weissach wants to defend the two World Championship titles one more time. The season ends on November 18 in Bahrain. While the carmaker transitions to Formula E, Porsche will keep its successful LMP1 team fully intact, including the factory drivers.

And while the carmaker is pulling out of the LMP1 class, Porsche maintains its focus on international GT racing with the Porsche 911 RSR. In fact, they will concentrate their WEC efforts on running in the GT class with the mid-engined 911. The 911 RSR will also run at the 24 Hours of Le Mans as well as the American IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and other long-distance classics.

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