WEC: Porsche extends LMP1 program
Porsche has extended its commitment to race in the LMP1 division of the World Endurance Championship until the end of 2018.
The move by the German manufacturer, which this year notched up its 17th outright victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours, represents the addition of two seasons to its existing 919 Hybrid program. It embarked on a five-year program, encompassing the 2014-’16 racing seasons, when its return to top-flight sports car racing was signed off by upper management in the summer of 2011.
The extra two seasons will take Porsche into the next LMP1 rules cycle, which is due to begin in 2017.
“Motorsport is an important part of Porsche’s brand identity – but not an end in itself. Racing has got to help the technology of future road-going sports cars,” Porsche chairman Matthias Muller said. “That we have managed to take the crown jewels of endurance racing in only our second year, with a one-two result in Le Mans in 2015 with our highly innovative and complex 919, is an outstanding testimony to the people in the Weissach research and development center [where Porsche’s racing department is based].
“The competition bears fruits and we see further potential for future synergy between the racing and road car programs – this is why we have extended the program.”
Porsche LMP1 vice-president Fritz Enzinger added: “Back in 2012 we began in Weissach with a handful of people, literally a white sheet of paper, high expectations and a strong amount of courage. I’m very proud of this team of 230 employees and I’m pleased for each of them that from now on we can plan securely for three more world championship seasons and Le Mans entries.”
Porsche’s entry into the WEC with the 919 Hybrid last season ended an absence from the pinnacle of sports car racing that stretched back to 1998, the year of its 16th victory at Le Mans.
The WEC resumes this weekend at the Nurburgring with Porsche lying at the top of the P1 manufacturers’ standings, while its drivers occupy second to fifth positions in their points table.
27 August 2015