Porsche 911 GT1-98, Le Mans 24 Hours, 1998

Porsche chose Le Mans over F1 for “road relevance”

2013 F1 seasonPosted on Author Keith Collantine

Porsche 911 GT1-98, Le Mans 24 Hours, 1998Porsche says a lack of “road relevance” in F1’s regulations is the reason why it chose to race at Le Mans instead from next year.

The German manufacturer began considered a return to F1 three years ago but decided to build a new LMP1 car for 2014.

“It was clear two or three years ago that we had to be back in high-level motorsport,” head of research and design Wolfgang Hatz told Autocar. “It was a choice between top-flight sports cars or Formula One.”

“But the final decision was the only logical one,” he explained. “F1 was an alternative, but the road relevance is not there.”

“Also, there is a lot of publicity around politics and tyres, but not so much about the engines and chassis. The aero, too, is incredible, but so extreme that it cannot result in any development in our road car understanding.”

Formula One is introducing new engine rules for 2014 and Honda are among the manufacturers believed to be considering a return.

Porsche competed in F1 as a constructors in the sixties, winning a single race. It enjoyed a highly successful spell as McLaren’s engine supplier in the eighties, winning a string of championships, but a later return with Footwork was a flop.

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  • 88 comments on “Porsche chose Le Mans over F1 for “road relevance””

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    1. Rui (@ruicaridade)
      23rd April 2013, 14:57

      Like some have stated before, WEC is becoming more interesting.

      – I simply don’t have the money to go to an F1 weekend. Living in Portugal and paying some hundred dollars for a ticket is crazy whereas i can by saving a bit go to a WEC race.
      – Web Coverage – Watching last race in HD using an official stream. WEC is open / F1 is pay per view.
      – F1 has always been about money, just look at the brands involved however it has been loosing, for me, the “wow factor”.

      Its like watching Queen with Freddie Mercury vs Queen with Paul R. It is simply not as good as it once was.

      1. JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III
        23rd April 2013, 18:11

        Can you post a link for the official wec stream i knew i had watched some over the last few years but i can never remember where.

    2. So it’ll be Audi vs Porsche vs Toyota for the WEC crown then…

    3. Makes sense. Still, would be nice to see some proper car manufacturers back in F1.

    4. JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III
      23rd April 2013, 18:08

      That’s like a soldier saying I don’t want to go to afghanistan because there’s no sand at my local lazer quest, just lol.

    5. Porsche always had a home at Le Mans so I think them deciding to compete in the WEC seems like a more logical choice than them coming into F1 as a constructor. Another aspect of choosing WEC over F1 is that in WEC there is more of an emphasis on the car rather than the driver which would mean that Porsche would get more of the glory for winning in the WEC than in F1.

      If Porsche were to enter F1 I think their best bet for success in F1 would be as an engine supplier with a works team, much like Mercedes did with McLaren. The most logical candidate for such a partnership seems to be Sauber or they could possibly buy out Force India if the team runs into serious finacial trouble.

    6. That’s a cool story, Porsche. But when has F1 been “road-relevant”? Maybe when we had 1500hp I4s running on cooled jet fuel? Maybe little cigar-shaped cars with moveable wings? It’s never been “road relevant.” That’s a red herring.

      The only actual “road relevant” racing is GT racing. Porsche is all over that. They are pervasive if not dominant in many GT series. And bankers are constantly lining up for ludicriously overpriced GT2s so they can spend a couple weekends a year shuffling their hands at a track. So selling on Monday is a real thing for them. They can and should stick to that. No need to cast aspersions on others.

      1. @dmw, any motorsport that develops more efficient combustion or more durable engine components is “road relevant”, F1 used to, not that many years ago.

    7. So WEC have Audi and Toyota competing for LMP1 honours. Soon Porsche will join in the fun. I now wish more than ever that Peugeot hadn’t pulled the plug on their programme, we could be heading for another golden era of sportscar racing.

    8. Mark McDonald
      24th April 2013, 10:59

      Absolutely the right decision from Porsche. I wish Ferrari would follow. F1, from time to time, is a good TV show.

    9. I guess it is the right choice after all. The first requirement of F1 team is to build a F1 car that looks like F1 cars. It’s kind of difficult for the Porsche designer to design something that arent looking like a Beatles… I think La Mans is more suitable after all.

    10. That’s why Porsche will never be near Ferrari…they have good logic and technology, but they severely lack the passion.

    11. Its “Horses for Courses”
      As mentioned a long way above, endurance racing is to Porsche what F1 is to Ferrari; it is in their DNA.
      This doesnt exclude them from other series’ but it does manke it understandable.
      Ferrari of course are the 3rd most succussful marque at Le Mans and it would be great to see them have the bandwidth to give it a go.
      As someone who started going to Le Mans in the noughties, it would be great to see the Audi dominance crushed but i just dont see it this year on the basis of the Silverstone race. Thankfuly the LMP2s and GTs will help keep me glued to the trackside. Only 57 days before i depart……….and counting ;-)

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