Down but not out

Porsche has quit LMP1, but is ramping up its GT assault

We know that there will be no Porsches racing in the LMP1 class of the World Endurance Championship, but don’t doubt the German manufacturer’s commitment to sports car racing. It will be upping the ante with all things 911.

That commitment means there will be as many factory Porsches at the Le Mans 24 Hours in June as there were in 2017. Last season, there were two P1 919 Hybrids and a two GTE Pro class 911 RSRs. In 2018, there will be four factory 911s on the grid at the blue-riband WEC round. Porsche is bringing its factory squad from the IMSA SportsCar Championship in North America to compete at the French enduro. CORE Motorsport will run a pair of cars alongside the WEC regulars.

It’s a significant move for a manufacturer trying to win the GTE Pro class for the first time since 2013. And one that would not have been financially possible had Porsche stayed in LMP1, says the marque’s head of GT motorsport, Frank-Steffen Walliser.

Porsche’s renewed commitment to GT racing doesn’t stop with Le Mans and the WEC. It will also be making its first full-season factory campaign in the five-round Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup, which includes the Spa 24 Hours.

Porsche is giving a clear message that the 50-year history of the 911 in motor sport isn’t about to end any time soon.