Porsche axing LMP1 project key to Le Mans GT expansion

The expansion of Porsche's GT assault on next year's Le Mans 24 Hours would not have been possible if it had remained in LMP1, the German manufacturer has revealed. 

Porsche axing LMP1 project key to Le Mans GT expansion

Porsche has explained that an increased commitment to GT racing, which encompasses the four-car GTE Pro class assault at Le Mans, was part of its strategy in leaving the P1 ranks of the FIA World Endurance Championship in favour of a Formula E entry in 2019/20. 

Frank-Steffen Walliser, Porsche Motorsport's GT boss, told Motorsport.com: "When we made a decision to change our top sporting category, part of the idea was to allow us to strengthen our commitment to GT racing. 

"That includes Le Mans, but also our customer programmes in GTE and GT3.

"We would not have been able to do that if we were still competing in a more expensive category like LMP1."

Porsche is bringing the CORE autosport team over from the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship to field a pair of 911 RSRs at Le Mans alongside the WEC squad. 

The marque will also enter a factory team in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup and has made a full-season commitment of the Intercontinental GT Challenge.

Walliser revealed that a number of different options had been under discussion for its expanded Le Mans campaign.

"We discussed three or four cars, he said. "If it is three, do we add an extra car to the existing team or bring one car from the USA?

"That would have been a compromise either way, so it made sense to bring the full US team and do four cars."

Porsche has reshuffled the driver line-ups across its GT programmes in the wake of its withdrawal from LMP1.

Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber return to the IMSA ranks in the GTLM class, while newcomer Gianmaria Bruni moves to the WEC after half a season in North America in 2017. 

Walliser said it was always the intention to place Bruni in the WEC after his recruitment from Ferrari and described his half-season in IMSA this year as an "bridging programme" after a period of gardening leave.

shares
comments
2018 Le Mans 24 Hours: Entries open on 18th December

Previous article

2018 Le Mans 24 Hours: Entries open on 18th December

Next article

Top Stories of 2017, #14: An LMP2 nearly wins Le Mans

Top Stories of 2017, #14: An LMP2 nearly wins Le Mans
Load comments
Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked Prime

Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked

Toyota scored its fourth Le Mans 24 Hours victory and a 1-2, with the #7 car of Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez beating the #8. But although it looked straightforward from the outside, Toyota faced serious problem that had to be solved with some quick-thinking and ingenuity.

Le Mans
Aug 24, 2021
What we've learned from the Le Mans 24 Hours so far Prime

What we've learned from the Le Mans 24 Hours so far

The new dawn for the FIA World Endurance Championship has arrived at Le Mans, as Hypercars prepare to duel for victory in the world's oldest endurance race. Motorsport.com picks out the 10 things we have learned in the build up to the race.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2021
Le Mans 2021: The team-by-team guide Prime

Le Mans 2021: The team-by-team guide

After a two-month delay due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 Le Mans 24 Hours is set to get underway with the start of the Hypercar era at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2021
The ex-F1 drivers making a name for themselves in LMP2 at Le Mans Prime

The ex-F1 drivers making a name for themselves in LMP2 at Le Mans

Kevin Magnussen will make his Le Mans 24 Hours debut this weekend alongside father Jan in LMP2. But the Danes won't be the only ex-F1 drivers to appear in the hotly contested category this year.

Le Mans
Aug 20, 2021
Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse? Prime

Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse?

One Toyota, normally with the number 7 on the side, always seems to attract the bad luck in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez are hoping for a change in fortune this time around, but face significantly more unknowns than in recent years

Le Mans
Aug 19, 2021
How to prepare an amateur for Le Mans sensory overload Prime

How to prepare an amateur for Le Mans sensory overload

The 23-car GTE Am field promises to be one of the most open in this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours, with the added jeopardy of managing the enthusiasm of amateur drivers to boot, as Absolute Racing Porsche driver Marco Seefried explains

Le Mans
Aug 19, 2021
Why Glickenhaus should be taken seriously on its Le Mans bow Prime

Why Glickenhaus should be taken seriously on its Le Mans bow

Many were quick to dismiss Glickenhaus when the boutique American sportscar firm's entry into the top class of the Le Mans 24 Hours was announced. It's all-new LMH racer, powered by an engine built by a rally specialist, goes in as the underdog against Toyota but the mathematical odds suggest that it has more than just a faint hope of success.

Le Mans
Aug 18, 2021
How 1971's benchmark Le Mans team lost with the best car Prime

How 1971's benchmark Le Mans team lost with the best car

The JW Automotive Engineering team won twice at the Le Mans 24 Hours with ageing Fords and was considered the heavy favourite to add more victories to its tally after partnering with Porsche. But despite being armed with the all-conquering 917, this formidable combination was never as successful in real life as on the big screen.

Le Mans
Aug 15, 2021