[dropcap]P[/dropcap]orsche has concluded plans to compete with a factory team in the Formula E Championship, starting from year 2019.
Making the announcement in a statement on Friday, the automaker also revealed its resolve end its involvement in the LMP1 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) at the end of the 2017 season.
“At the same time,” it stated further, “Porsche will continue to focus its attention on international GT racing, campaigning the 911 RSR in the GT class of the FIA World Endurance Championship. The highlight of the World Endurance Championship is the 24 Hours of Le Mans, in addition to the North American IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and other long-distance endurance classics.”
This realignment of motorsport activities for Porsche stems 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, such as the first fully electric Porsche model, based upon the Mission E concept car. “Entering Formula E and achieving success in this category are the logical outcomes of our Mission E project.
The growing freedom for in-house technology developments makes Formula E attractive to us,” said Michael Steiner, Member of the Executive Board of Porsche AG responsible for Research and Development. “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.” Porsche has already taken the first steps toward developing its own Formula E racing car this year.
At the same time, Porsche is increasing its commitment in the GT class. “A diversity of manufacturers and the quality of both WEC and IMSA have led us to strengthen our commitment and concentrate our energies on using the 911 RSR,” added Steiner. “We want to be number one. To do that, we must invest accordingly.”
After four highly successful years, including three victories in a row at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and World Championship titles in both the team and driver classifications in 2015 and 2016, Porsche will be leaving the LMP1 class. Nevertheless, the factory team from Weissach wants to defend the back-to-back World Championship titles one more time. The 2017 season ends on November 18 in Bahrain.
Fritz Enzinger, Vice President in charge of LMP1 and a central figure in the return of Porsche to top-level motorsport in 2014, commented, “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. Confidence is high, and we are excited to get started.”
Porsche will keep the successful LMP1 team intact, including the factory drivers. Alongside ventures in other racing series and the intensive preparation for Formula E, Porsche is examining other fields of application and development areas.
Formula E — the world’s first purely electric racing series — 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 racing series, the Formula E season begins in the fall and ends in summer. The race venues are specially designed street courses in the heart of major cities worldwide, meaning the sport travels to the spectators and not the other way around. Electromobility is already playing an important role in the mobility of tomorrow, especially in urban environments.
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