The FIA and ACO’s new ‘hypercar’ class will not be a rival to GTE, according to Head of Porsche GT Motorsport Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser, who admitted it could, however, detract from the level of factory involvement in the production-based class.
Porsche, along with other manufacturers, have been involved in technical working group meetings on developing the new platform, which will debut in the 2020-21 FIA World Endurance Championship season.
While currently featuring involvement from six automakers, all with factory programs either in IMSA and/or the WEC, Walliser believes GTE will remain healthy, despite at least three of those brands looking at the new, yet-to-be-named formula.
“I don’t think that it’s a rivalry to GTE,” Walliser told Sportscar365. “In the late ’90s when we had the GT1 category we had regular GT cars on the grid all the time.
“This is based on our high-volume cars and we would always offer a car like this.
“Hypercars are coming and going in the industry. They are there for one or two years. They disappear and in ten years later the next one will come.”
Walliser said the difference in costs between GTE and the proposed ‘hypercar’ regs, which call for €25-30 million ($30-35 million) budgets, would provide a large enough separation for manufacturers.
However, he admitted some of the exiting GTE manufacturers could be swayed away and shift its works programs to the top class.
Both Ford and Aston Martin are understood to be evaluating hypercar programs, which could see its existing factory efforts move to the top class.
“It depends on the manufacturers, what they think is feasible,” Walliser said. “And then finally on the cost side.
“Without a factory car, a GTE-Am car would never exist. So that has to be figured out. That’s number one.
“Second, we have seen a set of targets, a vision and an outlook on what it looks like, but not really technical regulations. At the end you need a rulebook.”
Porsche in Hypercar Talks
Walliser confirmed that Porsche has been in the technical working group meetings to help shape the regulations but gave no clear indication on whether the German manufacturer could actually mount a return to the top class in 2020-21.
Porsche withdrew from LMP1 at the end of last year amid fallout from VW’s ‘dieselgate’ scandal as well as increasing costs and lack of competition from hybrid entrants.
“As we are in our yearly planning, we are always looking every movement in the world of motorsport in all different sectors,” Walliser said.
“For sure, we are watching this here. But at the moment we have the strategy.
“We have a clear outlook. At a first, not have to push or change anything. But we will see how it develops. We are integrated in the discussions.”
However, as is the case with a number of other manufacturers, including Ford, a commitment could hinge on the platform also being adopted in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
“We know the environment, we know Le Mans, WEC and everything,” Walliser said. “We would like to see a strong commitment to racing in IMSA, [which] is very successful on the prototype side.
“I think [it’s] a good job there to bring in some of these elements in WEC is welcome. We hope the collaboration is friendly. This is what I think a majority of the manufacturers want.”
Walliser said there are currently ‘joint’ discussions within Porsche, with no determination what motorsports arm the program would fall under, should it commit to the new platform.
Former Porsche LMP1 team principal Andreas Seidl will be heading up the manufacturer’s Formula E program in 2019, while former LMP1 VP Fritz Enzinger was recently appointed the new Head of Volkswagen Group Motorsport.