Porsche Reconfirms Move Out Of LMP1 Enduro Series Into Formula E
Porsche has confirmed, for the second time this year, that it will be leaving the LMP1 class in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) when the racing season wraps. The automaker, early this year, indicated that it would be leaving LMP1 racing as part of Audi’s commitment helping Volkswagen, its parent, save the billions the carmaker needs to weather the costs related to Dieselgate.
11 Million Vehicles Involved in Dieselgate
Dieselgate is VW’s self-inflicted diesel emissions scandal that had the automaker using cheatware – software that cheats – in 11 million diesel vehicles. First contrived about a dozen years ago, the automaker gamed the tight diesel emissions standards for nitrous oxides (NOx) so that its four- and six-cylinder turbodiesels could pass emissions testing. The scandal has so far cost VW more than $25 billion, a figure that is sure to rise further. VW has felt the pinch of the Dieselgate’s settlements and launched a major cost-cutting program. Each subsidiary is contributing to the effort.
As part of the scandal’s settlements, Volkswagen has committed to adding 30 electric vehicles to its lineup by 2025. And, in the spirit of the commitment, Porsche is ending its participation in Enduro LMP1 racing. That said, though, the automaker isn’t leaving GT racing, where the automaker is campaigning its 911 RSR in the FIA World Endurance Championship. The highlight of the Endurance Championship is the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the North American WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and other long-distance classics. Porsche Shakes Up Its Racing Efforts.
“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,” Michael Steiner, member of the Porsche’s executive board 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 its first steps into Formula E by developing a racecar this year.
As noted, Porsche has upped its commitment to 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. We want to be number one. To do that we have to invest accordingly,” Steiner added.
Porsche Has Been Strong, Successful Competitor
For the last four years, Porsche has campaigned successfully in the LMP1 and GT classes. The automaker built its factory works team from scratch. From that humble beginning, the automaker has scored three victories in a row at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and World Championship titles in both the team and driver categories in 2015 and 2016. Though it is leaving LMP1, the factory team is fully committed to defending its championship titles one more time. The season ends with an event in Bahrain Nov. 18.
“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 I Formula E. Confidence is high, and we are excited to get started,” Fritz Enzinger, vice president in charge of LMP1. He was also a central figure in Porsche’s winning return to motorsport in 2014.
Not one to take a chance with success, Porsche will keep its successful LMP1 team intact, including the works drivers. The team should prove helpful to the automaker as it explores other ventures in different racing series and as part of the intensive effort that will be needed to field a competitive Formula E team. Also, Porsche is looking into other areas where the team’s skills can be employed.
Formula E racing is carrying big expectations for the International Automobile Federation (FIA). Launched in September 2014, the series was organized to make a statement in favor of electromobility. And, they hope to fire up more young people about motorsport.
Formula E – A Series With a Difference
Formula E is a series with a difference. Rather than running from the spring through the summer, Formula E’s season begins in the fall and ends in the summer. Designed and built around specially designed public street courses in the heart of major cities around the world. With this structure, the sport travels to spectators and not the other way around as now commonly the case. Formula E is expected to play a role in the developing world of urban mobility.
Sources: Volkswagen, Porsche