Porsche Considering Withdrawal From Le Mans After Next Year

The top class at Le Mans and the broader FIA World Endurance Championship could be left without competitors if the latest reports are any indication.

According to Autosport, Porsche is currently debating internally whether it will extend its LMP1 program beyond 2018. It reportedly expects to arrive at a conclusion, one way or another, by the end of this month.

The German manufacturer returned to Le Mans with the 919 Hybrid in 2014, and has since racked up some impressive results. It’s won the 24-hour race in Western France three times over the past four seasons, and taken the championship twice. It’s been so successful, you might argue, that it effectively pushed its sister company Audi out of the sport. And now it could be preparing to follow suit.

If it does pull out, that would leave Toyota to compete only against itself, which could prompt the Japanese automaker to pull out as well. That is, at least, until the new rules take effect in 2020, which could bring more manufacturers into the LMP1 class. In the meantime, though, we could see privateer teams in conventionally powered LMP1 prototypes battling the few approved LMP2 chassis for outright victory in both the championship and its headline race.

Just what Porsche would do instead is another question entirely. It could follow Audi (not to mention Mercedes and BMW) into Formula E, or embark on a works F1 entry. Or it could simply close up shop for the time being and focus on selling road and race cars to private customers.

Photo Gallery

  • BobV12

    Sure it must be boring to be that successful. But I hope for them they will still be engaged somehow (GT3 R and RSR).

    • Six Thousand Times

      Because racing versions of the 911 are so good, Porsche will be a part of GT racing until doomsday.

  • Six Thousand Times

    LMP1 cars are as complex as F1 cars without the benefit of an F1 audience. You win LeMans once or twice and you can advertise that somewhat to help offset your costs but then what do you do? Because of the ridiculous “hybrid” rules, only manufacturers with throwaway budgets need apply. Now, LMP2, on the other hand, offers the prospect of customer cars which has always been the meat of endurance racing. That’s where the FIA/WEC ought to be and Porsche could stick around as an engine supplier.

  • Vassilis

    I really hope they join F1. It will be amazing for the sport.

  • fabri99

    It would be hilarious if Toyota were left alone and yet couldn’t win the damn race.

    • Hauerg

      Might happen.
      Because if Porsche goes away Toyota will reduce budget. And if they have a bad day ….

      • fabri99

        … then Jackie Chan will take the overall win.