Porsche is quitting its successful run in LMP1 racing to compete in Formula E, the German automaker announced Friday.
The world of motorsports is seeing a huge shift and Porsche is the latest automaker to throw its hat into the electric racing series, a move that aligns better with its strategy to bolster its electrified consumer product offerings in the near future. Porsche will start racing in Formula E for the 2019 season and will continue to compete in international GT racing with its 911 RSR. Porsche joins BMW, Jaguar, Mercedes, and Audi, among others, as manufacturers that will compete in Formula E. Volvo is also rumored to join in the future.
After the 2017 season, Porsche will end its involvement in the LMP1 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), which includes such famous races at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the 6 Hours of Nurburgring. Sister brand Audi also ended its LMP1 involvement in 2016. Porsche’s exit means Toyota is the only manufacturer still competing in a field of privateer teams.
“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 in a press release. “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.”
Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda has responded, telling Motorsports.com that he is “sad and disappointed” about Porsche’s exit. Toyota will surely be reevaluating its LMP1 involvement in the near future.