Breaking: Porsche confirmed to leave WEC and join Formula E
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After a number of days of speculation, it's been confirmed that Porsche will be closing down their involvement in the World Endurance Championship LMP1 class after having closed out another 24 Hours of Le Mans victory with Kiwi drivers Brendon Hartley and Earl Bamber earlier this year.
The move was revealed in an announcement by the FIA Formula E series, which also confirmed that the German marque would be switching codes to join the growing electric open-wheel class.
The announcement stated nothing on drivers, so it's unknown where the likes of Hartley or Bamber, or other Porsche drivers like fellow 2017 Le Mans Winner Timo Bernhard will pop up in 2018 and beyond. Porsche have also stated elsewhere that they intend to continue with their GTE 911 program.
“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,” said FIA President Jean Todt.
“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.”
The move is part of an international growth in interest around electric cars, from consumers, governments, and car manufacturers alike.
“Entering Formula E and achieving success in this category are the logical outcomes of our Mission E road car programme,” said Michael Steiner, Member of the Executive Board for Research and Development at Porsche AG.
“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.”
Porsche are the second manufacturer to announce a shift to Formula E at the cost of involvement in another series this week, following Mercedes-Benz's confirmation that they would leave Germany's DTM series.