Porsche has confirmed that it will quit the LMP1 division of the World Endurance Championship (WEC) at the end of this season ahead of a move to Formula E.
The German car manufacturer has opted to terminate its contract with the elite series in long-distance sportscar racing one year before the end of its existing commitment. The team will instead use the time to focus on its inaugural entry to the world’s first electric vehicle racing championship in 2019/20.
The decision to quit LMP1 leaves Toyota as the only manufacturer potentially committed for 2018, and the Japanese team is set to review its participation following the departure of its only existing competitor.
Porsche is the latest of a host of carmakers to make the switch to Formula E, with its the announcement coming shortly after Audi and Mercedes confirmed they will join the grid at the start of the 2017/18 and 2019/20 seasons respectively.
Michael Steiner, the head of motorsport research and development for Porsche, said: “Entering Formula E and achieving success in this category are the logical outcomes of our Mission E road car programme. 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.”
Alejandro Agag, founder and chief executive of Formula E, added: “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.”