A NEWS THAT COMES AS A REAL SURPRISE, BUT THEN AGAIN…
Porsche has achieved success in the GTLM category since 2014 when it joined IMSA. It does make sense for Porsche to pull out since the current pandemic has created very difficult times all over the automotive industry. Manufacturers have to realign their business forecast and with this they need to cut somewhere. And motorsport represents a big chunk of the budget.
The question now is: will there be others joining Porsche in ending factory support in IMSA? Is this the start of GTLM’s demise? It already lost Ford as they ended their Ford GT factory program altogether at the end of 2019. We are fortunate to have Risi Competizione join the GTLM class on occasion with their Ferrari 488 GTE but for the moment, only BMW and Corvette remain in the GTLM class for next year. That would then represent four cars.
We surely hope that will not be the case.
“With a view to the current corporate situation in connection with the Coronavirus pandemic, it is only logical for Porsche Motorsport to make a contribution to coping with the economic fallout.”Fritz Enzinger, Vice President Porsche Motorsport
As Porsche is currently evaluating the feasibility of moving to the top class, could this be seen as an “unfortunate” opportunity for Porsche to concentrate their ressource preparing for another challenge as ACO and IMSA confirmed the basis of joint regulations that will govern the new LMDh category come 2022… which looks now like it will be delayed by a year due to the current global economic situation? As we know, this will allow competitors to race in both the FIA WEC and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship series for top honours in the most prestigious races that Rolex 24, Sebring 12 Hours and 24 Hours of Le Mans represent.
“The decision to halt our factory involvement in the IMSA series was not an easy one for us,” emphasises Fritz Enzinger, Vice President Porsche Motorsport. “With a view to the current corporate situation in connection with the Coronavirus pandemic, it is only logical for Porsche Motorsport to make a contribution to coping with the economic fallout. We’ve openly discussed our exit with all involved. At this point, we’d like to convey our sincere thanks to Jim France and the colleagues at IMSA for their understanding. Porsche belongs in endurance racing. We will work hard to ensure that this is only a temporary Auf Wiedersehen.”
On a positive note, Porsche will keep their customer support for GTD teams as well as Michelin Pilot Challenge GT4 teams and GT3 Cup Challenge USA/Canada.
There are so many unknown at the moment in the motorsport world. As the countries are slowly opening up to a new normality, racing series about to resume their activities, we might as well simply enjoy every opportunity we have to cheer for our favourite team, our favourite driver… Simply enjoy the action on track…
We are surely going to see a transition time for the many racing series out there. As for IMSA, there is still fierce competition going on within the different categories on track. Let’s focus on that for now… and keep an eye(and ear!) on cars #911 and #912!
We are looking forward to that!
Image: Patrice Marchessault / PMstills Photography
Photographer & Editor