Porsche has today revealed plans for a factory-backed works team to compete in the all-electric FIA Formula E Championship starting in season six. As part of a new strategy and realignment of Porsche’s existing motorsport programme, the German manufacturer has committed to join Formula E from the 2019/20 season.
Alejandro Agag, Founder & CEO of Formula E, said: “I’m delighted to welcome Porsche to the FIA Formula E Championship. If somebody told me when we started this project five years ago, that we’d be announcing a partnership with a brand like Porsche, I wouldn’t have believed it. To have a name like Porsche in Formula E, with all it represents in terms of racing and heritage – and in terms of sport cars – is an inflexion point in our quest to change the public perception about electric cars. The electric revolution continues, and Formula E remains the championship for that revolution.”
FIA President Jean Todt, added: “Porsche is a brand which has a fantastic history in motorsport, and its intention to join the FIA Formula E Championship alongside so many of the world’s biggest car manufacturers is very positive. It’s clear that the hard work done to create a relevant laboratory for developing electric vehicle technologies has been successful, and I look forward to seeing Formula E continue to be a place of great sporting competition as well as innovation. I’m very happy that Porsche is coming to Formula E, but I regret their decision to leave the World Endurance Championship.”
“Entering Formula E and achieving success in this category are the logical outcomes of our Mission E road car programme. The growing freedom for in-house technology developments makes Formula E attractive to us,” added 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.”
Porsche joins an impressive list of manufacturers already involved in the series – including prestigious names like Mercedes-Benz, who also recently announced its intentions to enter the championship in the same season. With the introduction of both Porsche and Mercedes, season six would see the number of teams increase to 12.
From season five, Formula E will no longer require two cars per driver and the potential of a mid-race car change. Each team will compete with two cars from the 2018/19 season onwards, instead of the current four, as a clear testament of the advancement in battery technology. New-look futuristic cars will also debut in season five and will incorporate new electric technology to allow for a single car to complete a full race distance.
Porsche To Exit LMP1 Racing Series, Will Enter Formula E
Porsche has announced it will quit the FIA World Endurance Championship’s LMP1 division at the end of the current season, as it becomes the latest manufacturer to commit to a Formula E entry.
The Weissach marque follows in the footsteps of fellow German car maker Mercedes in announcing that it will join Formula E in 2019/20, in time for the all-electric series’ sixth season.
“Entering Formula E and achieving success in this category are the logical outcomes of our Mission E road car programme,” said Porsche board member Michael Steiner. “The growing freedom for in-house technology developments makes Formula E attractive to us.
“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.”
Speculation that Porsche was poised to pull the plug on its WEC effort, which is in its fourth year, intensified last month when it emerged key representatives attended May’s Monaco Formula E event.
While team boss Andreas Seidl initially dismissed talk of an imminent departure, he admitted during this month’s Nurburgring WEC event that the team was waiting on a final decision to be made by the board, which came this week.
The ultimate decision to exit the series follows sister brand Audi’s decision to quit LMP1 at the end of the 2016 season, likewise in order to focus on forming a works team in Formula E.
“Building up the Le Mans team from scratch was a huge challenge,” said Porsche vice-president of LMP1 Fritz Enzinger. “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 exit leaves WEC’s LMP1 class with Toyota as the sole manufacturer entry for 2018 alongside a number of privateer cars expected to join the grid.
These include new machines from Ginetta, Dallara/BR Engineering and PERRINN, which have all announced plans to join current sole LMP1 privateer squad ByKolles.
However, Motorsport.com understands that Toyota’s senior management will meet next week to discuss its plans, despite having pledged to remain in LMP1 until at least the end of 2019.
This comes at a time when there is little sign of interest from other manufacturers for joining the class in 2020, when new rules, including plug-in hybrids and moveable aerodynamics, will come into force.
Porsche secured its 19th outright Le Mans victory in June in a race of heavy attrition, marking the 919 Hybrid’s third La Sarthe success in a row.
Le Mans-winning trio Brendon Hartley, Timo Bernhard and Earl Bamber currently hold a 30-point advantage at the head of the WEC standings after securing victory at the Nurburgring.
Porsche’s works GTE programme, which was reborn this season with the arrival of a new mid-engined 911 RSR, remains unaffected by the decision to quit LMP1.