Porsche joins rush of manufacturers to Formula E circuit

Source:Reuters Published: 2017/7/28 23:13:39

Porsche announced Friday it was leaving the top category of Le Mans sports car racing at the end of the season to join German automotive rivals in the Formula E electric championship in 2019.

"Entering Formula E and achieving success in this category are the logical outcomes of our Mission E," Development Chief Michael Steiner said in a statement.

Porsche, whose factory team have been Le Mans champions for the last three years and won the World Endurance Championship (WEC) in 2015 and 2016, has already taken the first steps toward developing its own Formula E racing car this year, the group said.

The announcement had been widely expected in the motorsport world and came after Mercedes confirmed Monday its move into Formula E and exit from the German Touring Car championship.

Audi, like Porsche also part of the Volkswagen Group, announced in October that it was quitting Le Mans and the WEC to shift resources to Formula E. Other manufacturers already involved in the electric series, whose third season ends this weekend in Canada, include German rivals BMW as well as Renault, Jaguar, Citroen and India's Mahindra.

The arrival of Mercedes and Porsche in the series for Season 6, which starts in 2019 and ends in 2020, will take the number of Formula E teams to 12.

Porsche's exit from the main LMP1 Le Mans category will be a big blow for the WEC, which risks being left with Toyota as the only major car manufacturer competing at that level - hardly viable for a championship.

Both the WEC and Le Mans have multiple tiers of entries and Porsche will continue to compete in the GT class with its 911 RSR model.

Porsche said it will keep the LMP1 team fully intact, including the factory drivers.



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