Porsche to quit LMP1 and compete in Formula E in 2019/2020

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Porsche has today revealed plans for a factory-backed works team to compete in the all-electric FIA Formula E Championship starting from season six in 2019/20, as part of a new strategy and realignment of the German manufacturer's existing motorsport programme.

The news comes to the detriment of the World Endurance Championship as the iconic sports car brand will end their involvement in the LMP1 category at the end of this season, leaving Toyota as the only manufacturer in that class.

However it is another massive show of trust in the ever-growing Formula E series, with Mercedes also announcing their arrival for season six earlier this week.

"Entering Formula E and achieving success in this category are the logical outcomes of our Mission E road car programme," Porsche board member Michael Steiner said.

"The growing freedom for in-house technology developments makes Formula E attractive to us.

"For us, Formula E is the ultimate competitive environment for driving forward the development of high performance vehicles in areas such as environmental friendliness, efficiency and sustainability."

Porsche is the second manufacturer to have quit the WEC to concentrate on the all-electric series in as many years as Audi also pulled the plug on their famed LMP1 program to increase their commitment with the ABT Schaeffler team from this season.

Commenting on another big name addition, Alejandro Agag, founder & CEO of Formula E, said: “I’m delighted to welcome Porsche to the FIA Formula E Championship. If somebody told me when we started this project five years ago, that we’d be announcing a partnership with a brand like Porsche, I wouldn’t have believed it.

"To have a name like Porsche in Formula E, with all it represents in terms of racing and heritage - and in terms of sport cars - is an inflexion point in our quest to change the public perception about electric cars. The electric revolution continues, and Formula E remains the championship for that revolution.”

FIA President Jean Todt, added: “Porsche is a brand which has a fantastic history in motorsport, and its intention to join the FIA Formula E Championship alongside so many of the world’s biggest car manufacturers is very positive.

"It’s clear that the hard work done to create a relevant laboratory for developing electric vehicle technologies has been successful, and I look forward to seeing Formula E continue to be a place of great sporting competition as well as innovation. I’m very happy that Porsche is coming to Formula E, but I regret their decision to leave the World Endurance Championship.”

Despite Todt's disappointment at the significant blow to the WEC, the vice-president of Porsche's LMP1 program, Fritz Enzinger, is sure the company can translate its success from the endurance series to Formula E.

"Building up the Le Mans team from scratch was a huge challenge," Enzinger admitted.

"Over the years, we have developed an incredibly successful and professional team.

"This will be our basis going forward. I am certain that we will maintain our high level in Formula E. Confidence is high, and we are excited to get started."

From season five, Formula E will no longer require two cars per driver and the potential of a mid-race car change. Each team will compete with two cars from the 2018/19 season onwards, instead of the current four, as a clear testament of the advancement in battery technology. New-look futuristic cars will also debut in season five and will incorporate new electric technology to allow for a single car to complete a full race distance.