The prospects of seeing Porsche return to a three-car operation for the 24 Hours of Le Mans amid Audi’s exit from prototype racing remains unlikely, according to LMP1 team principal Andres Seidl.
The German automaker, which locked up its second consecutive Manufacturer’s World Championship last weekend in Shanghai, had been believed to be re-evaluating its position, after a joint agreement with Audi to reduce its Le Mans effort this year on cost-cutting measures.
“At the moment it’s not a topic,” Seidl told Sportscar365. “The reasons why we didn’t do a third car last year are still valid.
“Also, the structure inside the company now is still again to operate two cars.
“As we saw in 2015, operating a third car is a big thing. It’s actually a lot bigger than you think in the beginning. It takes so much energy to coordinate three cars, especially for the guys who are overseeing the whole operation in different positions.
“We managed quite well in 2015 so it paid off. But it’s not a topic at the moment.”
A decision from Toyota on its third car option, meanwhile, will come next month, according to Pascal Vasselon, who has been pushing for three TS050 Hybrids next year.
“If anything, for the series it would be better to have three Porsche and three Toyotas next year, to have six LMP1-H. So overall, it would be a push for a third car than a hand brake,” Vasselon told Sportscar365.
FIA WEC CEO Gerard Neveu stressed that he, nor ACO President Pierre Fillon are putting any pressure on Porsche or Toyota to field third cars at Le Mans, despite what could end up being the lowest car count for the top prototype class in decades.
“We are only looking for the best interest in the competitors,” Neveu said.
“If their best interest is to have three cars, Pierre will help them for sure to have three cars. If the best interest for them is to have two cars, we will accept the fact they will have two cars.”
Seidl added: “We obviously have close talks with Gerard and Pierre and also together with Toyota to see what is the effect of Audi pulling out of the championship and how do we move on.
“But that has just started and it doesn’t change anything.”