With electric cars becoming more and more common on the roads, Formula E is starting to become a much more relevant and popular series - at least for manufacturers’ development goals.
Recently, Mercedes announced it will bring its long stint in the DTM series to an end to set up a Formula E factory outfit ready for season six of Formula E.
Porsche is now doing the same thing. Yep, after several years of huge success in the FIA WEC – including two drivers’ and manufacturers’ titles and three Le Mans wins – it is waving goodbye to LMP1.
It isn’t leaving the WEC altogether, with the motorsport division continuing with international GT racing and the 911 RSR project in the series’ GTE classes.
But, it’s officially pulling out of LMP1 at the end of this season, in order to start an FE factory team for season six in 2019/2020.
It makes sense for Porsche, having announced targets of launching its first range of electric road cars with its Porsche Strategy 2025 - following on from its Mission E concept.
It’s a big blow for the WEC, following Audi’s exit last year, with Toyota set to be the only manufacturer in LMP1 next season – although Toyota said it’d review its involvement if Porsche left. Worrying times for LMP1.
So, not good at all, but meanwhile on the other end of the spectrum, Formula E is obviously pretty pleased – having lured a number of big manufacturers to it.
Season six is shaping up very nicely for FE, then, with Mercedes and Porsche joining. Audi’s also upping its involvement for next season.
Michael Steiner, member of Porsche’s board for research and development, said:
“Entering FE and achieving success in this category are the logical outcomes of our Mission E road car programme. The growing freedom for in-house technology developments makes FE attractive to us.
“For us, FE is the ultimate competitive environment for driving forward the development of high performance vehicles in areas such as environmental friendliness, efficiency and sustainability.”
So, big news for Formula E, which continues to pick up big names. But the future of LMP1 in the WEC is certainly at risk.