Porsche at the 2017 24 Hours of Le MansEnlarge Photo
Porsche is at the top of its game in the World Endurance Championship, but there are rumors the German marque could exit the sport, and thus the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The reason? To either supply power units for Formula One or enter Formula E as a constructor—or possibly both.
Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport is reporting that Porsche was in attendance during a July meeting of the current crop of F1 power unit suppliers to discuss regulations for the 2021 season and beyond. The current suppliers include Ferrari, Honda, Mercedes AMG and Renault.
Also said to be present were Red Bull Racing partner Aston Martin, Lamborghini, and past suppliers, Cosworth and Ilmor Engineering. After its takeover by Mercedes last decade, a new Ilmor Engineering was formed and is today primarily focused on MotoGP.
With only Toyota as its competition in the WEC, it seems Porsche’s marketing team sees the challenge of F1 and the rivalry between all the automakers involved as much more lucrative. But without Porsche, the WEC will effectively be dead. However, Peugeot is keen to rejoin the world of endurance racing, though it wouldn't be able to have a team ready before 2020.
Porsche has a history in F1. The German marque competed as a constructor in the 1950s and ‘60s and then briefly as a power unit supplier in the 1980s and early ‘90s.
As for a Formula E entry, Porsche will launch its first pure electric car—the Mission E—in 2020. Formula E could provide some helpful insight into the development of future electric Porsches.
Stay tuned for an update.