Porsche is the only team on the WEC grid with both LMP and GT works entries. In 2013, the Stuttgart-based manufacturer opted to return its roots and entered the WEC with two factory 911s in cooperation with long-time Porsche companions Team Manthey. The new works team’s first lead went well, with a one-two at Le Mans a particular highlight, and Porsche decided to extend the programme independently from the 2014 LMP1 factory entry.
The aim of the two FIA WEC programmes was to maximise Porsche’s chances of victory and try to bring both the LMP and GT world titles back to Zuffenhausen. However, while the fledgling Porsche prototype struggled with reliability in its learning year, the Porsche Team Manthey 911 RSRs had extra weight and excess tyre wear to contend with. All in all, it was a tough year for Porsche on both fronts, but albeit with a certain degree of success.
At the start of the season, there were questions as to whether Porsche may decide to field a third 919 Hybrid at Le Mans in 2015. With performance improving over the course of the year, the board green-lighted the proposal and Porsche will line up at La Sarthe with three chances of overall victory. However, the announcement cast doubt onto whether a third car in an expanded Porsche LMP1 effort may mean the end of the works GT programme.
Now it appears as if Porsche may be ready to release an official statement over the next few weeks and put an end to the rumour-mongering. The budget for the third 919 Hybrid has reportedly been provided additionally and not taken from the GT programme. The final decision on the continuation of the partnership with Olaf Manthey’s team, in which Porsche holds a considerable stake, is left to the board. But initial indications suggest that Porsche will decide to retain its 911 RSRs in the WEC. In any case, the ambitions are clear: Porsche want that GTE Pro title.
Image source: Porsche Motorsport press material