It has not been a good year for the top prototype class of the World Endurance Championship. First, Audi announced its departure in favor of the all-electric Formula E series. Now, Porsche's gone and done the same.
Porsche announced Friday that it would abandon its LMP1 prototype-class efforts in the FIA World Endurance Championship in favor of fielding a team in FIA Formula E, starting in the 2019 season. The automaker has already started work on its own car for Formula E.
"Entering Formula E and achieving success in this category are the logical outcomes of our Mission E. The growing freedom for in-house technology developments makes Formula E attractive to us," said Michael Steiner, board member of Porsche AG, in a statement. "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."
That doesn't mean Porsche is abandoning its traditional racing efforts completely. It will still field 911 RSRs in the GT class of the World Endurance Championship, as well as in the US-spec IMSA WeatherTech Sports Car Championship. It will still compete at Le Mans, albeit in cars that aren't competing for the top overall spot.
Porsche's decision to leave LMP1 means that Toyota is the sole manufacturer competing in that field. It's unclear what Toyota plans to do, but if Toyota also decides to take a leave of absence, it could spell the end of this prototype class.
When it begins the 2019 season, Porsche will join a number of other automakers in FIA Formula E, which races all-electric vehicles., Audi is next season, and even Faraday Future in conjunction with Dragon Racing. Welcome to the future, folks.