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Porsche Announces WEC Pullout at End of 2017

On Friday, Porsche officially announced that they will pull out of the FIA World Endurance Championship’s LMP1 class at the end of the 2017 season.  The announcement was buried in an announcement of Porsche’s entry in Formula E in 2019.  The current Porsche LMP Team will operate the new Formula E team.

Despite the LMP1 pullout, Porsche is still very much committed to international-level GT racing.  For 2018 and beyond, they plan to concentrate their efforts on Porsche GT Team in the WEC and the North American Porsche GT Team that CORE autosport operates.

“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,” said Michael Steiner, a member of Porsche AG’s Executive Board for Research and Development.  “We want to be number one. To do that, we must invest accordingly.”

In addition to the factory 911 RSR programs, there are the customer vehicles (911 GT3 R, Cayman GT4 Clubsport MR, 911 GT3 Cup) that compete in a number of series around the world.  Those cars will continue to be the backbone of Porsche’s motorsports activities.

Fritz Enzinger, Vice President of Porsche LMP Team is very cognizant of the effort required to build his team.

“Building up the Le Mans team from scratch was a huge challenge,” Enzinger said.  “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’s pullout leaves Toyota as the only remaining manufacturer in the FIA World Endurance Championship’s LMP1 class beyond the end of this season.  Such a situation technically violates a contract between the FIA and the ACO that mandates a minimum of two manufacturers in the top class.  It is unclear whether Toyota would go it alone or pull out themselves.

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russ

Given the recent announcements by France and England that they will be banning diesel and petrol in general and vehicles powered by those sources in the future it is to be expected that all European counties will follow suit. That would mean that the market for those vehicles would be confined to export. So we can expect to see the European manufacturers race their fossil fueled production based vehicles in international series while they have a market. Formula E though will be the showcase for the electric vehicles and promote the brand for European markets.

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