It’s the last thing any sportscar fan wants to hear, the departure of a major stakeholder and manufacturer out of the worlds most beloved endurance series.
Porsche announced on Friday morning that it would be terminating its LMP1-Hybrid program to enter the FIA Formula E in 2018.
This concludes what has been a tough twelve months for international sportscar racing, with the departure of Audi from LMP1 this time last year and more recently, the announcement made just one day earlier (Thursday) that Mercedes would leave DTM at the end of this year to also start up their own Formula E program.
Stay tuned to Paddock Pass Media for a full run down of the future of LMP1.
Here is what some of the major parties had to say:
FIA WEC –
“The manufacturer Porsche, which recently confirmed its participation in the FIA LMP1-H World Endurance Championship up to the end of the 2018 season, and which has been actively involved in the development of the technical regulations that will come into force in 2020, has just announced the withdrawal of its LMP1 hybrids from the end of the 2017 season.
“The Automobile Club de l’Ouest, promoter of the WEC and organiser of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, regrets this precipitous departure, as it does the abruptness of the decision from one of endurance racing’s most successful and lauded manufacturers.
“However, the ACO and the FIA, guardians of the existence and quality of the FIA World Endurance championship, have immediately set to work to put forward to everyone involved in endurance racing the outline of the 2018 season, a season which promises to be quite exceptional thanks to the introduction of new innovations.
“Clearly, the reduction of costs and stability, but also inventiveness and audacity, will be vital in making it possible to stage an increasingly spectacular and attractive championship with the sport of endurance racing at the forefront.
“This unprecedented 2018 World Championship will, without doubt, excite and enthuse competitors, partners and fans of endurance racing alike.
“We look forward to seeing you in Mexico City on September 2 and 3 for the next WEC event when further information will be given.”
President of Toyota Akio Toyoda –
“I felt that it was very unfortunate when I heard that Porsche decided to withdraw from the LMP1 category of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) racing series,” Toyota said.
“At last year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans race, we were honored that Porsche considered Toyota as a rival. It was a great battle as we fought against each other for victory.
“Looking toward this year’s series, we aimed to rise to and even surpass Porsche’s challenge. Those thoughts drove us to work harder and put forth our best efforts in realizing new technologies and skills.
“At this year’s Le Mans, I again had the opportunity to meet and talk with Dr. Porsche. He told me that, much like us, his company participates in motorsport to enhance its production cars.
“As a carmaker that has been doing such for a very long time, Porsche deserves a great deal of respect.
“I feel very sad and disappointed that we will no longer be able to pit our technologies against such a company on the same battleground next year.
“However, the fight is not yet over. We will continue to battle with all our strength in the remaining five races of this year. Let’s make it an amazing competition that will remain in the hearts of the teams as well as of the fans.
“I am full of gratitude to Porsche, but I will save my thanks for when the season is over.
“At that time, I wonder which of us will be congratulating the other.
“Let’s look forward to that moment as we continue to fight.
“To everyone at Porsche, we’ll see you on the track!”
Dailysportscar’s Graham Goodwin –
Today’s confirmation that Porsche is to park its all-conquering LMP1 programme at the end of the current FIA WEC season has seen a tsunami of gloom engulf the endurance racing world.
In many ways, this is correctly so. Porsche’s LMP1 programme is hugely significant and its early demise throws doubt on a number of aspects of the sport, and in particular the WEC.
Formula E is an obvious bolt hole at present, the only all-electric global motorsport property, relatively accessible in financial terms and on a planned escalation programme to technical diversity that the current product does not display.
The challenge now is to respond, to respond quickly, pragmatically and intelligently.
Images: Porsche – http://press.porsche.com/media/gallery2/v/photos/