Porsche Poised for LMP1 Exit

Photo: Porsche

Porsche’s exit from LMP1 competition is expected to be made official within the next 24 hours, following widespread reports of the German manufacturer’s withdrawal from the FIA World Endurance Championship at the end of this season.

Multiple German publications, as well as Sportscar365’s industry sources, have indicated that a board meeting on Wednesday determined the fate of the LMP1 program, which was initially confirmed through 2018, but instead has been canceled one year early. 

Porsche LMP1 team principal Andreas Seidl revealed at the recent WEC round at the Nürburgring that a decision on the future would be made by the end of this month, amid increasing speculation that the program, estimated to cost more than $200 million annually, was under scrutiny.

The decision would leave Toyota as the only remaining LMP1 manufacturer in the WEC, following Audi’s withdrawal at the end of last year, and cast serious questions over the future of the championship, particularly its World Championship status, which requires at least two registered manufacturers.

Porsche LMP1 factory driver Andre Lotterer told DH.be on Wednesday that he’s “expecting the worst.”

“They are not going to make a statement to say that we are continuing the program,” Lotterer said. “After Audi last year, [we] are fed up … What happens to sports car [racing]?

“Yesterday Mercedes made official that they was leaving DTM. Tomorrow we fear the withdrawal of Porsche from WEC …. What will we do? ”

Auto Hebdo, meanwhile, reports that Porsche is likely to shift its focus to a new Formula E for as early as the 2019/2020 season, with an announcement imminent on both fronts. 

Stay tuned to Sportscar365 for the latest in this developing story.

84 Comments

  1. JamieR

    July 27, 2017 at 6:13 am

    Awkward. But in no way a shock. This has been becoming clear for a while.

    Even as a Brit i can safely say IMSA has got the DPI formula spot on whilst the ACO were too slow to act until it was too late. I guess we will have to wait to 2020 now for any new hybrids.

    The one positive i can see from this is this will encourage LPM1 privateers to push on with potential programmes and perhaps lead to DPIs at Le Mans.

    • radio

      July 27, 2017 at 6:34 am

      Yes,a world championship using spec cars.

      Imagine F1 using GP2 cars with different engines. That’s a rough analogue of the DPi in WEC.

      • Matt

        July 27, 2017 at 7:33 am

        Rough analogue or sustainable?

      • Andrew Pyke

        July 27, 2017 at 11:35 am

        Since when did DPi have spec engines?

        • radio

          July 27, 2017 at 12:04 pm

          Did you even read what I wrote?

          “Imagine F1 using GP2 cars with different engines.”

          A spec chassis with a different engine.

          • Andy Flinn

            July 27, 2017 at 4:00 pm

            Radio, what you wrote is factually incorrect.

            Teams and manufacturers have FOUR chassis (per 2017 ACO LMP2 regulations) to choose from in IMSA DPi.

            Therefore, the DPi chassis are not – and cannot – be “spec.”

            Do you even know what “spec” means?

          • Steven

            July 27, 2017 at 7:11 pm

            What you should have said was Formula E.

        • Andy Flinn

          July 27, 2017 at 3:55 pm

          Andrew the answer is never.

          The DPi chassis were limited to four, per ACO 2017 LMP2 regulations, before the ACO decided to ban the DPis.

      • Matt

        July 28, 2017 at 3:11 am

        I’d watch that!

    • Parker

      July 27, 2017 at 8:49 am

      A great era in prototype racing is closing. DPi is the best solution to the be the bridge to the next great era. The ACO can call it LMPi.

      • Chips O'Toole

        July 27, 2017 at 9:41 am

        How about LiMP?

      • NAKA

        July 27, 2017 at 11:53 am

        DPI isn’t going to be at Le Mans unless its adapted to fit into LMP1-L.

        For starters, the LMP1-L cars will be 5+ seconds a lap quicker than P2/DPI,

    • kv

      July 27, 2017 at 10:00 am

      AS BADLY as Toyota wants to win LeMans,a win by default would tarnish their image ! Banzai to dpI !

      • TF110

        July 27, 2017 at 2:00 pm

        That makes no sense. Porsche and Audi were doing the same thing and all you hear about is their multiple LM24 wins. Nothing about beating Pescarolo or other private teams or Porsche’s majority of wins against…? None of them are mentioned, just the fact they won.

  2. Michael Sørensen

    July 27, 2017 at 6:21 am

    Why bother with hybrids? Europe is going electric…

    • Taylor

      July 27, 2017 at 8:58 am

      Going electric is a problem. It puts more strain of the power grid, batteries have to be replaced and disposed of, the cars have limited range, the cars have no personality, etc.

      • N8

        July 27, 2017 at 9:27 am

        My electric power comes from burning coal. Far greater environmental impact than today’s uber-efficient internal combustion engines, nevermind hybrids.

        And then there’s the electrical grid. Locally, ours is so old and undersized, that the power lines will sag under overloading from air conditioner use in the summer. It’s going to crumble when add millions of battery chargers to the mix.

        • JV

          July 27, 2017 at 10:08 am

          Stop it – you are using common sense, economics and engineering facts. Do not let this happen again or the e car fan boi’s will call you a Dynasour. 😉

          • Raphael

            July 27, 2017 at 7:34 pm

            Even though Electric will be the norm by 2040, thats still a long ways away. So Hybrids will be there to stay.

    • Andres

      July 27, 2017 at 10:43 am

      Sadly going electric

  3. Autism OG

    July 27, 2017 at 6:26 am

    Real happy about this. Them faggots over at r/wec dun goofed! 4SGTE and Bakkster and Nevil Clavain, three autists

    • factory_p

      July 27, 2017 at 7:37 am

      There there, don’t worry, you’re gonna be alright. it’s over now.

    • JJ

      July 27, 2017 at 9:07 am

      Mods, delete this junk and ban this person.

  4. the ghost of buckshot jones

    July 27, 2017 at 6:33 am

    Remember when people were getting all pissy that IMSA wasn’t running P1 cars? Good times.

  5. Tarek R.

    July 27, 2017 at 6:35 am

    It was expected, every WEC and Sportscar fan was aware about it. It’s a shame, losing such a great team and leaving Toyota alone isn’t beautiful.

    That said, this is a real chance for top privateer teams to return to LMP1 and it’s up to the ACO to help them.

    • jason

      July 27, 2017 at 7:19 am

      Well Toyota could spoil the party still if they decide to stick around. Would they be an unwelcome guest if they do?

      • welp

        July 27, 2017 at 7:58 am

        If they stick around I imagine they just continue with this years car with no upgrades.

        • StueyB83

          July 27, 2017 at 9:34 am

          Whats the bet that even with no competition… Toyota still loses le mans…

        • Matt

          July 27, 2017 at 4:20 pm

          And they still wouldn’t win LM 🤣🤣

      • James E

        July 27, 2017 at 11:19 pm

        But imagine the ignominy of being beaten by Jackie Chan!

  6. Cactus Tony

    July 27, 2017 at 7:30 am

    It’s OK- Toyota will run 6 cars at LeMans so between that and the 74 Ginettas, P1 is saved.

    • James T

      July 27, 2017 at 7:36 am

      Where are they going to get the money ? They will probable use 2 cars

      • /s

        July 27, 2017 at 8:40 am

        Wooosh

      • Truth

        July 27, 2017 at 8:41 am

        There is no guarantee that Toyota will Le Mans either

        • Truth

          July 27, 2017 at 8:41 am

          *win

      • Rus'L

        July 27, 2017 at 12:24 pm

        I think your sarcasm meter is broken…

  7. Anonymous

    July 27, 2017 at 7:41 am

    Well I’m not surprised at this news.

    Toyota should do the decent thing and pull out as well.

    Until 2020 the current LMP1-H regs are now dead.

  8. Kirk

    July 27, 2017 at 7:56 am

    When Joest and Penske both signed on to do DPi programs in ’18 I had a sneaking suspicion they knew something the rest of us didn’t. I have a feeling part of their incentive is the fact they know they’ll be at LeMans next year.

    • BlaneySellsTrashBags@TheRing

      July 27, 2017 at 9:36 am

      Spot on…Penske had been saying for sometime that the only way he would go to Le Mans was if he could win overall. I think he knew there was an excellent chance LMP1 Hybrid was on the brink of collapse

  9. jason

    July 27, 2017 at 8:32 am

    The Penske and Joest DPI programs will have a lot of good drivers to choose from eh? Also Porsche I’m sure is still going to run dual IMSA GTLM and WEC GTE 911 RSRs.

    • Parker

      July 27, 2017 at 8:59 am

      Can you imagine a Lotterer, Montoya, Castroneves entry in IMSA?

      • Andrew P

        July 27, 2017 at 11:40 am

        I dont think montoya and castromeves would be in the same car but you never know

  10. N8

    July 27, 2017 at 9:00 am

    You could be surprised if there wasn’t a pretty clear and obvious history of works programs coming and going in sportscars. That’s why you don’t build a championship on the back of OEM involvement while treating privateers like second class citizens. FIA and ACO made this bed. Now go lie in it. Morons.

    • Kurt M

      July 27, 2017 at 10:14 pm

      Yep

  11. Gabriel Medina, O outro

    July 27, 2017 at 9:29 am

    Nobody quits a racing series like german brands.

  12. Fabio

    July 27, 2017 at 9:51 am

    There are many manufacturers in the WEC, so it will keep its world championship status.
    The LMP1 trophy will probably be dropped though.

    • BlaneySellsTrashBags@TheRing

      July 27, 2017 at 4:20 pm

      Only the LMP1 and GTE are considered world championship. This is the first year that the GTE class has been considered a world championship.

  13. flux capacitor

    July 27, 2017 at 10:16 am

    the future looks boring and ugly

    • jason

      July 27, 2017 at 10:32 am

      I like the shake up. I think too that if Porsche goes, then Toyota should go too. WEC LMP classes need a good shake up. But that is how sportscar racing should be. GT should be the place for stability, depth, and good hard racing. LMP should be the place for speed, experimentation, and unpredictability.

      We got that at Le Mans this year didn’t we! Drama in both LMP and GTE and in different ways.

  14. Taylor

    July 27, 2017 at 10:33 am

    Time to rewrite the 2020 LMP regulations.

  15. Parker

    July 27, 2017 at 11:49 am

    It is depressing to see that the automobile is effectively being criminalized by 2040 in certain parts of the world. That is having an effect on the traditional forms of motorsport. Make no mistake, our freedoms and our motorsport passion are under assault.

    • JJ

      July 27, 2017 at 12:10 pm

      Please, explain how our “freedoms” are under assault by this and other related motorsport decisions?

      • Andres

        July 27, 2017 at 12:23 pm

        By the ecologists, this is why all the electric cars appeared in the first place, this is to suit the massive retards and “eco-friendly” faggots and to attract them to motorsport, but this idea is ruining the nature of the sport, because that ecologists of whom i said before are the ones that point out the stupid idea of a normal combustion engine generates “pollution” and systematically try to enforce the idea of electric vehicles to gevernments and that governments are in the same way of thinking, and this is real, i can tell you that, by living in a country that the new president has that stupid “eco-friendly” ideas

        • JJ

          July 27, 2017 at 1:59 pm

          Minus your derogatory language, thanks for the response.

          It is the case the governments, yours and mine (U.S.), are putting in place regulations to restrict emissions in such a way that attempts to create cleaner environments and, consequently, healthier living conditions. These things are done for financial, political, and utilitarian purposes.

          Such regulations are obstacles to your ability to do what you want, such as roll coal. Therefore, you could make the argument that your freedom or liberty is affected. However, do such things really make you worse off? Do they limit your ability to realize your full worth? I’d bet with a few bucks (dollars) that this isn’t the case.

          How might this be different? Well, if you are an owner of a racing team for whom resources are not available to transition into electronic racing, then, yes, your freedom is vastly limited. You can’t pursue a job for which you are trained and able to do well in because environmental regulations are changing your working environment.

          But for 99% of the population such things are not a concern. Moving to battery-powered racing is not liberty reducing. And assuming alternative, accessible electronic vehicles emerge, your freedoms are still not affected, even given your love of the internal combustion engine.

          No one has 100% negative liberty (complete, unencumbered freedom). We all deal with changing rules, norms, regulations, laws, policies, etc. that affect our behaviors and preferences. It’s what we have to deal with as a global society that shares, well, one globe. The question is whether or not these things are fair and really reduce our ability to live a good life.

          This may all be moot because it sounds like you don’t believe in science.

          • Parker

            July 27, 2017 at 2:39 pm

            You mean the “science” where data has been intentionally manipulated (i.e. Climategate) to show certain outcomes in order to justify more taxation, greater regulation, and less freedom? Is there any coincidence that Earth Day is celebrated on Lenin’s birthday?

          • TheLizardfolk

            July 27, 2017 at 4:05 pm

            Stop trying to use facts to argue against someone literally parroting Alex Jones talking points. It’s really hilarious and sad that those to like to believe themselves the most “woke” are the easiest to be mislead into believing anything as long as it scratches their ego that they are “woke” and everyone else is not.

            Go suck on your own car’s tailpipe if you don’t think emissions are bad for you and the environment.

          • Thomas

            July 27, 2017 at 7:36 pm

            If you think that Electric cars are the future you must live in an inner city and never have to travel more tan say 200km in a day

      • Eric

        July 27, 2017 at 12:34 pm

        So Porsche is gone, just like they left at the end of the 956/962 days, at the end of the 911 GT1 days and at the end of the RS Spyder days. This sport is cyclical with regards to factory involvement. Manufacturers come and go. When the competition gets too expensive, like it had gotten with P1 Hybrid, you enjoy it while it’s there because you know it won’t last much longer. The top classes end up self-cleansing every so often, ushering in a new formulae and familiar faces once the new norms are in place. The sky is not falling.

      • Libertarian

        July 27, 2017 at 1:25 pm

        The government elites are telling the people what they cannot drive and when. Individuals can make better decisions for themselves than the government elites can. Government elites shouldn’t pick the winners and losers in the auto industry.

        Government intervention into the markets is causing the auto industry to change which will increasingly have a trickle down impact on motorsports.

        Having worked in the UK on real estate projects, I can tell you that the government elites hate the automobile and the freedom that it represents. They want transportation to be in autonomous vehicles or public transportation because individuals are incapable of having freedom.

        • JJ

          July 27, 2017 at 2:07 pm

          That’s a lopsided argument: it puts all the blame on so-called “government elites.” If you want to apportion blame, then you must also consider that auto manufactures believe that electrification gives them a better foothold or increasing domination in the market. Case in point: Tesla. While there are CAFE regulations that have increased the amount of MPG a vehicle must achieve, there are no regulations in the U.S. (that I am aware of) forcing electric vehicles. Yet, here we have an upstart who is taking a significant financial risk to put an electric car on the market.

          With that said, I recognize that there seems to be more government interference in EU/UK transportation regulations. However, I would not just assume that the government is to blame; it may be the auto makers want these regulations.

          Respectfully, I don’t accept this argument: “Individuals can make better decisions for themselves than the government elites can.” If that were the case, humans wouldn’t eat fast food at such a rate that it makes them obese or partake in consuming tobacco products, which are scientifically proven to be leading causes of cancer. Government intervention, in part, keeps us from building unsafe houses on the cheap, stealing from our neighbors, and generally treating others like our slaves.

          • Libertarian

            July 27, 2017 at 2:28 pm

            Tesla has received billions of dollars of government subsidies. Tesla also sells environmental credits (sham) to other auto manufacturers in California. The government elites are interfering in the marketplace to favor one company at the expense of others.

        • TheLizardfolk

          July 27, 2017 at 4:12 pm

          Anybody who believes that the sole purpose of governments is to take away people’s freedom because… they hate freedom (?) doesn’t understand anything about governments or regulations and only gets their news from outrage pundits that are leeching off of your brain to give them clicks and money. But I’m sure you’re very “woke” so maybe it’s just me being a Lizard person that stops me from really seeing the light.

      • Parker

        July 27, 2017 at 2:02 pm

        Motorsports could be killed off if the government made race cars pass the same emissions tests as legal road cars. Government would say it would be done in the name of safety and to prevent the oceans from rising (which they have no control over).

        In England, tracks have decibel limits (example Brands Hatch) which makes it illegal to run cars past a certain volume or at certain times of the day.

        Doesn’t it concern you that in certain parts of the world (and there is no doubt the Democrats/Socialists here in the USA would want the same) the automobile is being criminalized? The government is basically saying “To hell with it. We tried taxing you to death (Gas taxes, registration taxes, toll roads, emissions taxes, gas guzzler taxes, mileage taxes, license taxes, sales taxes, import taxes, et al) to change your behavior and now we are just going to ban it completely because we don’t the car you want to drive”.

        • TM

          July 27, 2017 at 4:11 pm

          No only that, but the government is attempting to make driving a poor experience with things like red light cameras (which ironically increase accidents), speed control cameras, congestion taxes, variable toll rates, replacing car lanes with bike lanes, leaving fake pollution tickets on your windshield, reducing regular parking and having more ADA and electric only parking…I could go on.

          Believe it or not, but there are cities that purposely engineer traffic congestion in order to get people to walk, bike, and use public transportation more.

          When people have bad experiences in their own cars, that makes motorsports less desirable.

          • TheLizardfolk

            July 27, 2017 at 4:16 pm

            Yeah! Screw public safety and pollution! I only care about myself! Hey, you guys really think like the Chinese. Maybe you should move there.

    • jason

      July 27, 2017 at 12:43 pm

      Maybe by then flying personal vehicles could take off? Of course there are a lot of factors to consider in that such as fuel supply requirements, costs of the vehicle, the ability to weaponize it, potential for accidents, etc. The point is that is looking too far ahead. Of course governments especially the EU are fairly dumb and don’t consider these things. They just care about the political power and wealth from their donors who push these 2040 all electric car regs.

    • Kurt M

      July 27, 2017 at 10:19 pm

      Agreed.

      I won’t care about cars or racing if E-cars are all that exsist

      Not sure it will happen though. No recharging infrastructure . No matter what the globalists want you to believe, reality always rears its head.

  16. vanillachinchilla

    July 27, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    Whats clearer than ever is that relying on the manufacturer-amatuer class dichotomy is not going to work anymore, what we need is a privateer rich-pro classes supported by manufacturers but still modest enough to allow for more than a handful of lucky/rich teams to participate. So excited to see LMP1-L make a run and hopefully incorporate some american teams. My only concern is that IMSA has pulled the trigger on the DPi formula too soon, I get it – as LMP1-H was clearly too expensive, but maybe LMP1 -L could return to America – or maybe I’ve a bit too much of my pipe today 😉

  17. NASCAR/DPs Suck

    July 27, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    I think Lotterer’s comments reflect what many driver and fans are thinking right now. F1’s shot themselves in the foot with those abominations on top of the cockpit but at least Indycar and IMSA seem to be on the right track in some ways.

  18. i dropped out of school

    July 27, 2017 at 12:55 pm

    motorsport will always be wasteful no matter what they come up with…

  19. The optimist

    July 27, 2017 at 1:29 pm

    With Porsche gone, Toyota could afford to scrap all hybrid-ness which would shrink prices and possibly welcome Peugeot. Unfortunately I don’t think ACO/FIA would allow that as non hybrid LMP1s are supposed to be reserved for privateers.

    • KW

      July 27, 2017 at 1:52 pm

      That makes no sense. Hybrid technology is the one and only reason why Toyota is taking part in FIA WEC. Toyota is the worldwide hybrid car market leader, and this is what the marketing strategy of the LMP1 project is all about. With no competition left, Toyota might continue racing for one last year in 2018 to be able to advertise with a Le Mans and World Championship win, and then say goodbye too.
      Afterwards, the ACO will have to think about how to speed up the GTE cars and slow down the LMP2 cars to let the GTE compete for overall wins, like the GT1 back in the 1990’s, because GTE is the class where all the OEM attendance goes. I recently read an interview with Fred Makowiecki who said that the GTE cars could be able to go 3:35 at Le Mans with more aero and more power allowed; you can easily take down the LMP2 cars to the same level by air restrictors and you have a good competition.

      • jason

        July 27, 2017 at 3:58 pm

        I like the idea. You need to replace the Gibson engine with something with less horsepower of course. Something like the Mazda skyactiv diesel..he he

      • Kurt M

        July 27, 2017 at 10:32 pm

        My thoughts exactly. A field of sixty plus cars that can all potentially win is appealing to me.

        LMP ( with more than Gibson motors) vs GTE would work well. Cost effective, sustainable and interesting to see.

        63 GT cars at Spa this weekend. Pro, Pro-Am and Am all running together.

        There is a reason GT3 is viable. Just the right amount of factory and privateer involvement.

        OEMs kill racing if you let them.

  20. TF110

    July 27, 2017 at 2:14 pm

    I don’t know why people want Toyota to leave as well. They are not even spending big bucks on the program. With Porsche and Audi gone, they have no reason to increase the budget and can run the car they have now with the usual upgrades and updates. If you have no manufacturer in the main class, your series/lm seems like any other regional championship. Not befitting an FIA sanctioned world championship.

  21. Amlv20

    July 27, 2017 at 3:53 pm

    Why would Toyota want to run around in circles by them selfs only to have failures and be beaten by lmp2.thats embarrassing and marketing suicide,plus the wec needs two manufactures to have an lmp1 championship so Toyota would win nothing.its best to have Toyota leave and let p2 and gte battle for the wins.also Imsa is setting up this same scenario by allowing joest and Penske to start a money war.alms 2008 all over again.enjoy while it lasts!

  22. John

    July 27, 2017 at 4:57 pm

    “Enjoy it as long as it lasts” — sports car racing in a nutshell.

    Now it’s time for DPi to potentially “rule,” at least until the manufacturers lose interest in it. For now, it’s only at the beginning of its era, but the downward slope of the cycle will eventually come for it as well.

    Group C, WSC, LMP/GT1, Audi, Audi/Peugeot, WEC, DPi…and so on.

    • Andy Flinn

      July 27, 2017 at 10:56 pm

      Jon, just like those failed series you mentioned, he WEC evolved into what it is today because that’s what the “purist” fans said they wanted.

      These fans need to take a long, hard look in the mirror.

  23. Steven

    July 27, 2017 at 4:57 pm

    2018-19 will be the rise of the privateers. They were about 6 new LMP1 cars next year, expect that number to grow next year now.

    The DPi formula is nearly the exact same thing as Formula E and obviously manufacturers are wanting to spending little to no money on the Aero side but for everything on the inside. Mercedes already confirmed to leave the DTM to go into FE.

    If the FIA/ACO want to get the manufacturers back into the big time, maybe a spec chassis is the way to go to save the R&D costs on the aerodynamic side. Although that goes against everything that Le Mans stands for.

    • Andy Flinn

      July 27, 2017 at 11:00 pm

      Steven, the FIA/ACO has already mandated a spec engine for LMP2 to be used at Le Mans and elsewhere.

      Also, DPi is NOTHING like DPi.

  24. John

    July 27, 2017 at 5:30 pm

    Oh, and for those who think IMSA now has the upper hand? There is a bridge for sale…

    The questions being asked now inside the ACO are:

    “Mr. Toyoda, what can we do to convince you to stay?”

    “Mr. Tavares, what kind of car would you prefer? How soon can you get a program up and running?”

    Until them, P1 privateers will also be treated with open arms, and if the ACO is smart, they’d also dangle a customer manufacturer car carrot as part of the next generation of P1 regulations, not only to ensure fuller grids, but to help any potential manufacturer amortize the cost of a program.

    For the ACO, DPi is Plan B, if that. Whatever form they would be accepted in will not be the same as those that run in IMSA, if only out of spite.

    As dumb or stubborn as some may think Vincent Beaumesnil is, I don’t think he’s blind or deaf.

    Le Mans is one of the pillar events that will survive even if the series around it crumbles. The Indy 500 has already shown that the holders of those keys own the kingdom, no matter if they’re smart or dumb.

    • Andy Flinn

      July 27, 2017 at 11:06 pm

      John, the ACO would destroy Le Mans before they were to EVER admit that IMSA had a better idea.

      Smart or dumb, I have no doubt the ACO could react with spite.

  25. Stan Hall

    July 27, 2017 at 5:45 pm

    DPI’s are only P2 cars so if they come to Le Mans, so what?

    The FIA and manufacturers have done their usual thing of screwing up the category between them then the manufacturers walk away leaving it to the privateers, only this time there is (was) only 1! There will obviously be more next year but the WEC can’t be a World Championship with just one manufscturer, if indeed Toyota stay. Well done FIA!

    • Andy Flinn

      July 27, 2017 at 11:07 pm

      Stan, don’t let the ACO off the hook. They played a major roll in screwing things up, too.

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