Another giant of the German car industry has thrown its weight behind Formula E, with Porsche deciding to drop its World Endurance Championship (WEC) LMP1 program in favor of the fast-growing category. The decision is a huge blow for the WEC, which lost the support of Audi around the same time last year.
Porsche's decision to pull out of LMP1 makes Toyota the only manufacturer competing in the top class of the World Endurance Championship. Le Mans was fascinating last year, because it saw Audi, Toyota and Porsche sprinting head-to-head for line honours. 2017 was all about Porsche vs Toyota and, well, 2018 could finally be Toyota's year at Circuit de la Sarthe.
Instead of pouring money into the hybrid V4-powered 919, the company will turn its focus to preparing for the 2019/20 Formula E season. Porsche is a big name, but it won't be alone in searching for glory in the burgeoning battery-powered series. Audi will be on the grid with a factory-backed team next year, BMW will join in 2018 and Mercedes-Benz is set to arrive at the same time as Porsche.
"Entering Formula E and achieving success in this category are the logical outcomes of our Mission E road car programme," says Michael Steiner, Member of the Executive Board for R&D at Porsche. "The growing freedom for in-house technology developments makes Formula E attractive to us. 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."