A decision on Porsche’s future in the LMP1 class is expected to be made by the end of this month, according to team principal Andreas Seidl.
Speculation has intensified in recent weeks that the German manufacturer could exit the FIA World Endurance Championship at the end of this year, despite its current contract being through the 2018 season.
Multiple reports in German media, including leading publication Sport Auto, indicate that a return to the WEC and the 24 Hours of Le Mans next year is unlikely, with Porsche instead looking to allocate its motorsports budget to Formula E and potentially a Formula One engine program.
While Seidl declined comment on the matter, he confirmed that the fate of the LMP1 program will be made clear soon.
“I think there’s not more to say than what is around in the press and we have to simply wait now for the next decision,” Seidl said. “I have nothing to comment on this at the moment. We expect a decision at the end of July.”
Should Porsche pull the plug, it would leave Toyota Gazoo Racing as the only LMP1 manufacturer, casting serious doubts over the future of the WEC and its world championship status.
TMG Vice President Pascal Vasselon admitted “it would be a problem” if Porsche withdraws, although indicated that, as of now, they plan to be on the grid next year.
“We cannot talk for Porsche,” Vasselon said. “At the moment, with the situation we know, our management is committed to next year. The rest I cannot say what I don’t know.
“What would be our position? I just don’t know. It’s something very new, which is still not a fact, so it’s a bit premature for us to elaborate on it.
“In case the rumor is true, it’s not a good news for sure.”
Vasselon said continuing its LMP1 hybrid program, despite no competition, could be justifiable due to the large amount of R&D budget associated with it.
He remains optimistic of the long-term future of the class, in the wake of the ACO’s announcement of the 2020 regulations, which are aimed to attract new manufacturers.
“For us it would make sense to continue for this reason and for the reasons Peugeot will arrive,” Vasselon said. “We expect Peugeot or others will arrive reasonably soon.
“We will re-think our strategy when we will know if the boundary conditions change.”