Porsche could be planning a big move that would be great news for Formula One, but disastrous for the World Endurance Championship.
Although Porsche’s Le Mans Prototype 1 operation was spared at the expense of its Volkswagen sister brand Audi’s outfit, many suspect its exit from WEC is very plausible. Especially given that, on the heels of its third consecutive 24 Hours of Le Mans victory, Porsche wouldn’t see much return on its investment from a marketing standpoint if it were to win again in 2018.
Should it leave the endurance series, it’s reportedly considering launching either an F1 program, a Formula E team or a combination thereof in 2020. We realistically could see it choosing any of those options, as Audi and BMW will have works teams up and running in FE at that point, and Mercedes has dominated F1 in recent years.
Porsche will make its decision irrespective of whether Toyota extends its commitment to, or if French manufacturer Peugeot decides to enter, the WEC — casting a shadow of doubt over the future of the series.
The WEC’s LMP1 class already has been under scrutiny lately after just two of the hybrid-powered racers finished Le Mans, though that admittedly was due solely to non-hybrid-related issues. Should Porsche walk away, Toyota likely would too, as race wins don’t garner the same level of respect among the general public if only one manufacturer is competing.
The automaker’s board is expected to vote on the matter in July and make its decision public prior to the WEC’s 6 Hours of Mexico in September.
Thumbnail photo via Porsche