It doesn’t seem long ago that Porsche was announcing its withdrawal from the World Endurance Championship, but already, the German manufacturer has confirmed a return. What’s particularly interesting is we’re hearing this a little over two weeks on from Audi dropping the same WEC bombshell, while also announcing a departure from Formula E.
Like its fellow VW Group brand, Porsche is entering using the new LMDh rules, which will allow it to run a car in the IMSA-organised WeatherTech SportsCar Championship as well as the WEC. The regulations call for the use of an LMP2-derived chassis and a standardised Williams/Bosch hybrid system, with the manufacturer given freedom over the bodywork and the internal combustion side of the equation. The cars will weigh around 1000kg and produce 670bhp.
It’s these regulations which have tempted Porsche back to the fold, primarily because of cost. “The new LMDh category allows us to fight for overall victories with a hybrid system at the Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring classics – without breaking the bank,” said Oliver Blume, Porsche AG’s CEO.
In contrast to Audi, which will also be contesting the Dakar Rally, Porsche seems to be keen to stick around in the all-electric single-seater series. “We use the all-electric drive to contest the FIA Formula E as part of our works commitment and the highly efficient and emotional combustion unit in GT racing,” the press release notes.
We’ll have to wait a little while before this comes to fruition, with Porsche targeting 2023 as its first LMDh season. Audi, which last competed with its sister brand in the WEC four years ago, hasn’t given a timeframe.
Both of these cars will compete against entrants in the much less restrictive ‘LMH’ Hypercar class. Currently, Toyota, Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus and Peugeot are each preparing vehicles for the category.