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Lotterer “Open For New Challenges” Amid Porsche’s LMP1 Exit

Lotterer considering future options after Porsche LMP1 exit…

Photo: Porsche

Andre Lotterer is considering different options, including Formula E, as the Porsche LMP1 exit has left the German ace without a drive for the second year in a row.

The three-time Le Mans winner is competing in this weekend’s Total 24 Hours of Spa with Audi Sport Team WRT after Porsche granted him permission to rejoin his previous employer for a one-off race in an Audi R8 LMS.

While the news of Porsche’s future plans broke during the middle of the event, Lotterer already prepared himself for it as he returned from an LMP1 test at Barcelona on Wednesday.

“It was more difficult when I was first confronted with this situation,” Lotterer told Sportscar365.

“Obviously I had the same thing happening to me last year with Audi. I made the decision to go to Porsche to continue racing in this category.

“LMP1 cars are just awesome to drive, they’re beautiful and packed with technology. People say LMP1 is too complicated, but I don’t think it’s something we can’t handle.”

While LMP1 as we know it might be on it’s way out, Lotterer argued it would be a shame to see the current-generation of cars go away.

“When you accelerate out of hairpins with 1000 horsepower and four-wheel drive, it’s like a slingshot. It’s a unique level of performance,” he said.

“It’s really sad for motorsport in general that this is dying out, because it leaves a huge hole.

“For me it’s sad to experience this two year in a row, but I feel fortunate that I was part of it.”

A solution for the current lack of manufacturer involvement in the top prototype class is not readily available, although Lotterer reckons IMSA’s DPi formula might be the best short-term option.

“You need to implement the future into the racing and at the same time you need to keep the cost low, that’s the real challenge right now,” he said.

“DPi seems like a stable situation. It would be great if you could win Sebring and Le Mans with the same car again.

“The DPi platform is less complicated, but maybe you can combine it with some future technology.”

Even though the Porsche factory driver has only just come to grips with the new situation, he’s already evaluating his future options.

“I’m open for new challenges,” Lotterer said. “There’s no point hanging on to something that not there anymore.

“A lot is changing in the motorsport world right now. It’s difficult to see in which direction you should orient yourself.

“Porsche will keep us under contract, but we don’t know exactly what that means yet.

“Obviously Porsche still has the GT program and are involved in different races at a high level. Formula E is coming up, but that not something immediate for now.”

Lotterer said that Formula E might be one of the best options, especially as the series continues to evolve, particularly in terms of performance and technology.

“I don’t think you can compare it to traditional motorsport,” he said. “It’s completely different, and we now see it has a good future.

“The battles on track are interesting and there are some really good drivers. To go fight against them would be a challenge too.

“The technology they have now is not the newest, but once they start putting newer technology and more performance in the cars I think it will be interesting on the type of circuits they race on.”

Both brands that Lotterer has been involved with are also in Formula E, and while Porsche will not enter until the 2019/2020 season, Audi is already active through its involvement with Team Abt.

“I made the decision to stay within the Volkswagen Group, to stay with the opportunities where the Group is going,” he said. “Of course nothing is guaranteed from that.

“We’ve seen in the past that Romain [Dumas] and Timo [Bernhard] joined Audi and went back to Porsche.

“I’m still close to Audi, as I’m here at Spa with them, even if it’s customer racing. There’s no problem to go from one brand to the other. Porsche respects the history that I have with Audi.”

Lotterer, meanwhile, has also not ruled out a move to GT racing. 

“I hear that racing the GTs in the States is a lot of fun and in GT3 I really like the big races like Spa and the Nürburging,” he said. “They’re even talking about making GT overall winners again at Le Mans.

“You don’t know what the future will bring.”

Vincent Wouters (@VinceWouters) is a Belgium-based sports car racing reporter, providing coverage primarily of the Blancpain GT Series.


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