Proton Competition has ruled out returning to the GTE-Pro class of the FIA World Endurance Championship next year, amid Porsche’s ramped up 2017 effort with the factory Manthey squad and an all-new 911 GTE car.
The German team, running under the Dempsey Proton Racing banner, has stepped up to the top GTE ranks this year, with a factory supported Porsche 911 RSR for works drivers Richard Lietz and Michael Christensen.
But with the new mid-rear-engined Porsche set to debut next year, Proton team boss Christian Ried said their focus will shift entirely back to its customers in GTE-Am.
“It makes no sense if the factory is back [in GTE-Pro] with Manthey next year,” Ried told Sportscar365.
“My aim would be to run two GTE-Am cars in WEC and two GTE cars in ELMS. That would be quite a nice program.”
One potential hurdle to Proton’s program, however, could be the GTE-Am regulations, which are planned to be opened up to 2016-spec GTE-Pro cars next year.
A number of GTE-Am teams have proposed to freeze the current regs for one year, prior to the arrival of additional new machinery for 2018.
“For sure if there’s a [Ferrari] 488 in GTE-Am, it makes no sense for us. We would then stop,” Ried said.
“We’ve seen this year in the Pro class, with the BoP… There’s no customer who wants to do the program [with a Porsche], and also for myself, it doesn’t make any sense.
“I hope they will keep it like it is now because it’s not too bad.”
Proton currently operates two Porsches in GTE-Am, including the Abu Dhabi-backed entry of Patrick Long, David Heinemeier Hansson and Khaled Al Qubaisi, which claimed class victory in last weekend’s Six Hours of Mexico.