Porsche chose Le Mans over F1 for “road relevance”

2013 F1 season

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Porsche 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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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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

  1. Factor in their history in endurance/sports cars, and the fact a title contender’s budget in that series is maybe only £100m instead of £220m (in F1) and they’ve probably made the right decision. :)

    1. One area where I believe F1 is most relevant to road cars is safety..

      I mean which other cars are more safe is such dangerous driving conditions and such massive accidents… Don’t know what the big companies think about this aspect like Audi, BMW, Porsche etc…

      I agree that the cost is massive, but if you are successful you will make money… Why else would a top notch car maker come to any sport, not to lose…

      1. Go look up Scott Sharp’s ALMS crash from 2009, and be amazed that he got out of the car under his own power and walked away unharmed. Or Alan McNish’s crash from 2011. However, both drivers had 5 point harnesses, custom made seats (or inserts), helmets, and HANS devices– none of which are really applicable to road cars.

        Not saying the F1 cars are bad– but LMP cars can take as much of a beating, if not more, because there’s simply more car to absorb the impact.

  2. I doubt that it’s about road relevance. It’s just a convenient excuse. Having seen Mercedes, Ferrari and Mclaren losing out to the Energy drink team it kind of give Porschue an idea how difficult this sport could get. Having to beat the Ferrari alone is hard enough. F1 isnt about road relevance, its the pinnacle of motorsports, if you were to go and make a car to win races, F1 is the ultimate race you want to win and road relevance isnt a consideration. I dont see any sport car is road relevance anyway, as majority of the people drive 60km/h to work and back everyday, I don’t see having driven 300km on the race track is any relevance to everyday road condition.

    1. @alphaa

      F1 isnt about road relevance, its the pinnacle of motorsports

      Well it is actually. Max Mosely said so himself when he was president of the FIA. He then decided to freeze engine development in ’06 (even though that clearly got changed down the road), as well as introduce KERS in ’08 (very very road relevany for the future).

      I believe what Porsche are saying. The only really road relevant thing on an F1 car nowadays is the KERS unit, and Porsche’s KERS actually produces about 200hp in their 918, as opposed to the 80 in F1.

      The stress limits in F1 are too high to compare to the road and in general are cost ineffective when entering the sport primarily to boost your road car technology. Even though the engines will be 6 cylinders next year, at such high revs and temps again it is useless in application to a road car. Especially to a company like porsche which has been refining the 6 litre engine for over 50 years now.

      It’s no real surprise they’ve decided not to re-enter the sport. Audi cited the exact same reason almost a year ago. And I fear it will happen to manufacturers that are currently in the sport, in 5-10 years. The costs are too high, the rewards aren’t high enough (unless you win), and the relevance to the road car business is minimal nowadays.

      1. Historically it is true that F1 isn’t about road relevance. I doubt I’m alone in thinking that’s the way it should remain.

        1. A lot of today’s road tech has indeed seeped down from formula one though. Paddle Shift gearboxes, Electronic Difs, and Advancements in Carbon Fiber layup to name a few.

          The 911 GT3R Hybrid was developed by Williams using knowledge that they have learned while developing their KERS for 2009.

          Ferrari’s brand new car has a lithium battery powered KERS system on it too, but they always seem to push the newest tech.

          Up until recently formula 1 technologies have been very road relevant, but with tightening regulations limiting development to areas such as aero and suspension design. The WEC has more room for development of technologies that are more noticeable on a road car though(engine and drivetrain most noticeably) and I believe that this is why companies are starting to go that way.

        2. Yeah I know that F1 has influenced road cars, but it has always been due to the nature of F1- creating innovative features that are applicable to road cars by chance rather than any real intention. If that keeps happening, it’s fantastic and should be celebrated. But as you say, with prototypes being a more obvious choice anyway, there is little point in F1 pandering to manufacturers too much.

      2. F1, was indeed a test bed for road cars, components in engines that could rev over 20,000 rpm and produce 300 Hp per litre can be expected to be super reliable in engines reving to 10,000 rpm and producing less than 150 hp per litre, traction control was an F1 development and is now mandatory on new cars in many states around the world, the electro-mechanical auto changing gearbox without the power wasting torque-converter was also an F1 development. The list of automobile advancements developed in F1 is long but not getting any longer now.

        1. @hohum – this is where we agree: free up engine development (even if they just standardise single turbocharged 1.5l V6’s) and restrict aero – nobody really cares about gurney flaps, we care about a thousand bhp in qualifying!

    2. petebaldwin (@)
      23rd April 2013, 12:55

      To win F1, you have to have a massive budget and lots of years experience. It’s foolish to think that a new team can enter F1 and compete for a good few years so that leaves you with having to buy a team (like Mercedes did). Who is left for Porsche to buy? Perhaps Sauber? I doubt Porsche would have enough budget to push Sauber forward for race wins so there’s no point.

      Road relevance isn’t important, it’s just an excuse. A company like Porsche doesn’t enter F1 to improve their road cars – they do it to improve their brand perception by winning championships and making their cars more desireable. Trailing around behind Mercedes, Ferrari, McLaren and Lotus isn’t going to help their sales where as winning a championship in LeMans will.

      1. Very well said. I agree.

    3. “F1 isnt about road relevance, its the pinnacle of motorsports” – this is one of the most ambivalent statements I’ve ever seen…
      Formula 1 became Formula FIA, long time ago. There is no technical advancement in F1 for years; and if there is any FIA is there to ban it. We had 20 years of atmospherically aspirated engines which are technically and environmentally behind turbos. Now someone came up with the idea of driving the turbo charger by electromotor – how shrewd… Although there are several ways of doing that I’m sure that whole technical solution will be defined strictly by FIA’s technical regulations. The same is with KERS which is used in the most primitive and dangerous way. Electromotor ( which serves as generator as well ) mounted next to fuel tank – how shrewd… Or DRS. McLaren came up with much better idea by designing F-duct but shrewed heads in FIA decided to ban it and introduced DRS. A device wich malfunctioned on several occasions… The story goes on and on and on.
      Clever people like Gordon Murray and John Barnard got it a long time ago. They realised the same thing Porsche explained in their statement. No relevance to road car industry!

      1. My thoughts exactly…

      2. As I said, F1 isnt about road relevance….
        In every race, there are regulation to follow, and I respect whatever FIA decided to ban, as long as it is same for all team, this gives a fair ground for all team to compete with each other. I Can see that La Mans has its regulations too. Yes, I understand you are frustrated seeing new innovations like F-ducts got banded, but this is also pushing teams to develop new ideas in a way. The engine ban was purely for “budget” limitation purposes, and reducing the advantage of engine manufacturing teams the advantages they have over teams like red bull & sauber or Mclaren.
        Back to the original point, whether F1 is road relevant, no it is not. It is the pinnacle of the motorsport as I said. I dont see any wrong with this statement. PeteBaldwin had it right. It is a championship which teams want to win to make their own car more desirable. This is also a good reason why Ferrari is desirable and I am sure Mercedes has a much better Brand equity over BMW and winning F1 races would be a significant contribution to it.

      3. I remember Barnard. Wasn’t he the one who started the whole “separated front wing” on the B190 for Benetton?

  3. While initially this statement makes sense and I for one like the Le Mans series , there are a lot of pros when considering racing in F1. One is the publicity and brand exposure which is far superior when compare to other racing leagues,another is the marketing of supercars made by Porsche like the GT which could benefit immensely by Porsche running an F1 program. Imagine car trims F1 inspired, F1 drivers promoting the vehicles,etc. But maybe Porsche’s goals are not to penetrate or gain market share in the supercars segment.
    At the end of the day I think an F1 program would make much more sense for Porsche than for Honda not to mention the introduction of the V6 engines in F1 at which point there would be a lot of fuss about who builds the best , most reliable engine in F1, if there is on company that could capitalize on this besides the current manufacturers from F1, is Porsche.
    Financially, Porsche could very well make this work for them, but sadly they chose a different road.

  4. Yes, I think it makes a lot of sense for Porsche. The only curious thing is whether all VW brands are going to compete with each other in sportscars now (Audi, Porsche, Lamborghini all compete, isn’t Bentley in there as well?) it might still make sense to get one of those brands into F1.

    Not sure Lambo would do fine though, what with the latest of their F1 adventures ending with even less success than Porsche with Footwork.

    1. @bascb Audi is so performant in LMP1 they don’t really have to come to F1, and it’s best for them not to … if they are not up front, there will be comparaison between series and a very successfull brand which is Audi in LeMans series would will suffer from that.

      Porsche has been clear about the choice, and I doubt they will cumulate both.

      That said, the group is left with VW, Bentley and eventually Bugatti. Don’t know which would benefit the most from it though. If they have to run it on proper fund, VW is probably the one with the best chances but doesn’t really have the prestige name …

      1. VW is probably the one with the best chances but doesn’t really have the prestige name

        @jeanrien: To be honest, I think VW made a long-term commitment to WRC. And considering the fact that they had to pull out of the Dakar and Rally-Raid alltogether in order to focus on WRC, they don’t really strike me as the kind of manufacturer that likes to fight more than one battle at a time.

        I think the whole “VW group in F1” saga just reached an end.

    2. @bascb, you highlight a very relevant point, with so many VW divisions competing in sports car racing F1 must have been the obvious 1st.choice for a new Porsche campaign and it must have been a great frustration for them to look at the rules and find that all the things that made an F1 campaign advantageous and worthwhile in the past have now been outlawed.

  5. Porsche is in endurance/sports car racing what Ferrari is in F1. It is in their blood. And Le Mans is the best place to test new technologies and their return will certainly increase popularity of endurance racing after withdrawal of Peugeot.

  6. Who can blame them? Or Toyota, or Audi or the rest of the manufacturers that will choose to enter the WEC instead of Formula 1 over the course of the next couple of years, for that matter? (and I have a feeling there’s plenty more to come…)

    The WEC, as we see it right now, has a solid chance of becoming a great series, by all means.

    Think about it. There’s road relevance as the cars (even the prototypes) are infinitely closer to road vehicles than F1 cars will ever be, the 24 Hours of Le Mans is a massive test for the cars and every single component fitted on those vehicles, the rules and regulations are not nearly as strict as they are in F1 and they allow manufacturers to be a bit more creative with the solutions they choose to implement on the cars (from hybrid technologies and breaks systems to small things such as headlights or windscreen wipers), the organisers and the ACO are not even at 1% of Bernie’s stuck-up-ness level, the budgets are smaller, the races are longer, the racing is closer, the paddock is more open, the drivers are more friendly, the crowds are more enthusiastic and larger in numbers when it comes to Le Mans at least, in my personal opinion the prototypes and the GTs look better…and that’s just off the top of my head. The list can go on forever.

    To be honest, if you are closer to a touring, grand touring or simply road cars manufacturer…you belong in the WEC. If you are a pure-breed sports car manufacturer, than F1 is maybe the competition you should be looking into. It’s as simple as that. But I still think Porsche made the right choice.

    1. @tony031r I’d go along with a lot of that except to say that I wouldn’t describe the first round of this year’s championship as “close” – it was an Audi rout. And I’m not sure if endurance racing works as well on TV as F1 does. But the WEC is a good series, I’m glad it’s doing well.

      1. @keithcollantine: I agree. The racing at LMP1 on Silverstone was nowhere near close but, looking at how things unfolded last season, I’m really expecting Toyota to pose more of a threat once the season progresses and once we reach Le Mans. Toyota are throwing everything they got at the 24 Hours, I think. Plus, the rest of the categories saw some good battles throughout / are usually very close.

        As far as the TV coverage goes, again, it can’t possibly ever work as well as F1 and I think the ACO knows it very well also. It’s mainly because the races are long and much harder to follow for someone who isn’t a die-hard endurance fan. But I salute the idea of free-to-air internet broadcasts / Le Mans Radio. That should get more people into the series, if anything. Plus, it doesn’t make the ACO look like greedy ******** who want to squeeze as much money out of the viewers as possible (like we all know who).

      2. @tony031r @keithcollantine purely from a fan’s point of view, I can’t praise the World Endurance Championship highly enough. I’ve attended the 2 Silverstone rounds (the most recent of which was the weekend before last) and it was a brilliant weekend. Everything is just so open and accessible. Sure the race is 6 hours and might not be so good for TV, but then why would you watch on TV if you are within catchment area of one of the circuits they visit and can have an entire weekend experience for a tenth of the price of a Sunday grandstand ticket in F1? It wasn’t badly attended either… the grandstands were easily more full than those in Bahrain last weekend.

        The support races weren’t exactly clunky either… a 3 hour ELMS race and multiple F3 races. Like I say, can’t recommend it highly enough, and if more and more manufacturers want to bring their GT cars along or go as far as coming up with new prototype models, I’m all for is

        1. but then why would you watch on TV if you are within catchment area of one of the circuits they visit and can have an entire weekend experience for a tenth of the price of a Sunday grandstand ticket in F1?

          @ajokay: EXACTLY. I was planning a trip to the 24 Hours this year. Unfortunately I’m not gonna be able to make it after all because of other commitments but I went as far as putting together a budget for the whole trip and I was shocked to realise I can have a 5-days trip to Le Mans (along with transport, accomodation, tickets and a couple of meals a day) for the exact same price I would pay for as much as a decent F1 weekend-pass on Spa. Crazy.

          The tickets themselves as ridiculously cheap as well. 140E for both a week-long entrance ticket and a reserved seat in Grandstand 23 or 34…come on. In F1 you don’t even get a peek through a fence for that kind of money.

          1. @tony031r Sounds like a grand idea. I won myself a grid walk pass during the weekend at Silverstone, so I was able to see the drivers on the grid, get up right close to the cars, take photos, shake hands, get autographs, wish good lucks. It. was. amazing. but even without that, the experience and the freedom allowed to the fans is second-to-none. And you know what, so what if it was an Audi walk-over, both Audi’s were fighting until the last 3 laps, and there were battles for the top positions in the other classes right down to the flag after 6 hours. There’s always overtaking and action due to the speed differences. Le Mans is definitely on the radar now. Not this year, but fingers crossed for 2014/15.

    2. Well said.

  7. Completely agree with that choice. F1 isn’t a sport for road cars, as I’ve said before. Besides, ‘Porsche return to Le Mans’ is a far bigger headline than ‘Porsche return to F1’. Porsche are the most successful Le Mans manufacturer, so have every reason to choose Le Mans over F1.

    I’d watch the WEC races, but I can’t get control over the TV for long enough. It amazes me that I managed to watch a good deal of the Le Mans race last year, with short snippets from the Silverstone and Spa rounds all I can remember from the others.

    Also, with Audi and Toyota’s hybrid systems, Porsche must see that Endurance racing is a far better way of testing alternative power methods than F1 is. Lasting for 2 hours isn’t much in today’s world, 6-24 hours is the next step. Endurance racing is where the future of vehicle technology lies, but that doesn’t make F1 any less exciting/important

  8. As many have said before me, that it seems like a reasonable decision to make under current economic and relevance factors for the manufacturer.

    However, I would put it to Porsche that the only trophy that they truly want to win is the F1 Constructors Championship. They did very well in the turbo era in the 80’s, but that is mostly forgotten by most fans of today. Given the rich history that other german marques like Mercedes and Audi and BMW have in the sport, it seems surprising that Porsche don’t make that next investment.

    1. Unfortunately that “rich history” is history, as will be F1 before long.

    2. i doubt they “truly” want to win the f1 championship, they are a brand, and they want to make money, their history racing-wise is not steeped in f1, and they never need to be in f1 – certainly not in the state f1 is in now. i dont see why any new manufactureres would want to enter f1, it wont make them money unless they win, which is hard to do for a new team. Mercedes missed the beat, they bought out Brawn, but they should have bought out Honda the year before, that was the opportunity missed – now they are a consistent midfield team and their presence in F1 does nothing for their car image or profit.
      Porsche produce road cars, and i doubt people who buy porsche cars think “i wish they were in f1” porsches racing presence is in lemans. look at renault, i doubt many buyers on renault cars (which are mostly suburban run-arounds, and not sportscars) buy their cars because renault is involved in f1.

      Porsche did well in the turbo era in f1, under another name and only as an engine manufacturer, and because they were matched to a good car, that history is in the mind of only a few people like you, f1 is not in their blood. lamborghini is a similar manufacturer with a short history in f1, if they had a good car using their engines, they too may have been considered to have done well in f1.

    3. They did very well in the turbo era in the 80′s, but that is mostly forgotten by most fans of today

      They didn’t have enough faith in their own engines to brand them “Porsche” so they asked one of McLaren’s shareholders (the chaps who own TAG) to put their name on it too in case it flopped. Because of their own fears the history books say “McLaren-TAG” not “McLaren Porsche”, that’s their own fault.

  9. I think this is a good thing. Formula One isn’t the pinnicle of motorsport it once was. Clever engineering innovation that translates into performance is constantly banned and gimmick devices like DRS exist that more often than not make the overtaking artificial; and it’s all in the name of the ‘show’. Drivers are burdened with tyres that require (in my opinion) too much emphasis on management; and too much of the grid are a bunch of inexperienced children that aren’t ready to drive cars as powerful as these.

    Personally, I’ve stated to loose interest this year.

    1. This about sums it up! F1 is becoming more about gimmicks and less about the quest for performance. Its supposed to feature the most advanced cars in the world and they may well be but not for long. In fact I would hazard a guess that this years LMP1s will rival that accolade with the Audi E Tron and Toyota Hybrid.

      F1’s restrictive technical regulations has got to the stage now where no great changes are made to the cars from one year to the next and even after 5 seasons with the new regulations the cars are still slower than they were in the V10 days. Blame the tyres, blame whatever you like for that, it doesn’t matter. The end result is we see relative performance stagnating and and for what? An improved show? Is it really? Its certainly debatable.

      Some would say having tyres made of scrambled eggs has spiced things up and levelled the playing field. Some would equally say that the tyres prevent an F1 driver doing what he/she is supposed to do. I.e. drive flat out from lights to flag and look like it after a race. The current setup is neutering the very essence of the sport to the point where we see podiums with drivers that look like they’ve done little more than stroll through the park on a sunny afternoon and its now becoming clear that some of the drivers are a little embarrassed by that so we are hearing the 80% driving thing more and more.

      I’m not even sure I’m that interested this year after the first 4 races but open minded I shall remain and see how things go next year with the new regs. Saying that, the cars are going to have weaker motors and the same basic aero regs so they’ll be even slower.

      They say nothing lasts forever so perhaps F1 just doesn’t tick the boxes that made me fall in love with the sport in the first place anymore.

      It was clear there was something wrong when JPM said one day “this sucks a fat one, I’m off to NASCAR”.

      I haven’t made my mind up yet but the first 4 races this season have left me with an unfamiliar feeling. One of disappointment and dissatisfaction. It has started to feel contrived and artificial seeing the best drivers gently tickling their cars around the track for fear of not being able to complete the full 6 laps the tyres are capable of.

    2. Flying Lobster 27
      23rd April 2013, 15:29

      The rules in F1 are too tight now, I think, whereas Prototype racing thrives on diversity in the technical department – it is well documented that it doesn’t fare well when a single engine format was imposed (ask Todt). We’ve already got variable-geometry-turbo Diesel-hybrids with flywheel KERS delivering power to the front wheels battling with naturally aspirated petrol-hybrids with capacitator KERS delivering extra power to the rear wheels, and this is just the beginning. We don’t know for sure what Porsche’s solution is going to be and there’s talk of Nissan returning to LM P1 in 2015, after a stint in the 56th garage in 2014, apparently with a more electric-based powerplant. It might not be the closest racing, but that’s not an excuse to turn away: for the exciting stuff, the cost-capped LM P2 class is working well, and the LM GTEs are closely matched too.

      As for F1, I started to lose (seeing that mistake, especially among native English speakers, is driving me mad!) interest a while back – although I’m very interested in motorsport as a whole, I’ve become a real LMFanatic.

  10. I generally think they made a logical and sensible choice. That doesn’t stop this line sounding like a bit of a cop-out though:

    Also, there is a lot of publicity around politics and tyres, but not so much about the engines and chassis.

    All indications are that the new engines will be an important factor with a lot of publicity. And the chassis is clearly important still.

  11. I wonder what BMW’s next move will be with their big German rivals competing in F1 and WEC. They might want to try and add to their one le Mans success and take on Porsche and Audi. WEC rules would certainly suit their Efficient Dynamic road car strategy.

    Will Jaguar want to come back into high profile racing and compete against their former Group C rival, Porsche?

    After losing Peugeot before it had even started, the WEC has done well to attract two (old) new names to sports cars in Toyota and Porsche. Any more big names like BMW or Jaguar would be fantastic!

  12. It makes sense for any manufacturer bar Ferrari who are the only one who still makes cars/keyrings to be able to go racing. Everyone else’s primary business is selling cars and there’s simply no value in spending £200m+ a year on a series where performance is based entirely on bending aero rules and getting the most of out of comedy tyres.

    Even with next year’s engine regulation changes they’ve missed out on enticing manufacturers by enforcing such closed rules without potential for any real development for fear of the engines being the key performance indicator. Instead we’ve got another year of hoping your favourite driver gets to race in clear air without thrashing his tyres as it’s the only way the cars perform anywhere near their potential at the minute.

  13. Personally I think it’s the only logical decision Porsche could have made. While the WEC races may not get as much publicity as F1 races, I’d say that bang for buck return for investment is much higher in terms of generating road car sales. Hundreds of thousands of people will go to Le Mans, and by nature of the race they’ll get to enjoy the large ‘village’ area where competitors and sponsors can set up really big display areas. Not to mention the general feeling that winning at sportscar racing is more of an indicator of the quality of your road cars than winning at F1, even if the transfer of technology or design is questionable in either Proptotypes or single seaters.

    The other reason I’d run a mile from F1 is the horrendous political landscape, with the CRH currently involved in about six different lawsuits, an expired concorde agreement which was meant to be sorted out nearly a year ago, totally unequal treatment of other teams under their various commercial agreements, and a sporting body who not only seem unable to announce a coherent set of technical regulations for an apex championship due to start in 8 months’ time, but also seem set on hanging on to as much ambiguity as possible over whether things like engines will even be changed, let alone what the formula might actually look like. And not to mention, no set agreement for tyre supply for next year, which precludes the possibility of the tyre format having even been touched upon.

    F1 is a complete mess, and one which seems almost designed to put off anyone with an ounce of business sense. It’s no wonder the ACO are sitting back and laughing at the supposed ‘pinnacle’ of motorsport; running in circles and sabotaging its chances for ongoing success, while premium auto manufacturers flock to the WEC in such numbers they’re going to have to start turning some away.

    1. @mazdachris Pirelli announced a new 5 year deal after Bahrain I think. At least I know I heard they had from somewhere, I just can’t remember where now.

      1. I understood that Pirelli warned there is no deal complete, while Bernie mentioned that he did sign an agreement with Pirelli, but that agreement has not been signed yet by all the teams nor the FIA.

  14. I think Porsche have got this one right. The more open regulations in sports car racing (which have allowed Audi diesels to win, for example), as well as initiatives like Garage 56 are probably more relevant than F1 to many manufacturers. That’s not to say that F1 isn’t — KERS, for example, is something I expect to see in a lot of road cars down the line — but sports cars by their very nature are particularly suitable.

    1. But “Kers” was already available in road-cars before F1 jumped on the wagon.

      1. And in something like Toyota Prius you can have a hybrid system which is much more advanced than that thing used in F1. Next year KERS will be more powerful but the power units are so tightly regulated that there really isnt much room for real innovation. The LMP rules are much more open. I think they pretty much regulate the maximum capasity of the engine, fuel flow and the maximum amount of “KERS” available for a lap. And IMO that’s the way it should be. Set some constraints but dont force everyone into the same mould.

  15. I have always a mixed feeling when it comes to Porshe in endurance, i do like their legendary endurance Porshe 956 driven by the legendary Stefan Bellof who set the fastest ever lap on the Nurburgring but i feel always sad about when i remember that Manfred Winkelhock & Stefan Bellof who i consider one of the grates

  16. Who could blame Porsche, if the current restrictions on innovation and development had been introduced in 1950, nobody would have joined F1, certainly not Enzo Ferarri who always strove to have the most powerful engine, nor Colin Chapman who strove to have the lightest most nimble chassis. Beside the publicity, F1 provided a test bed for new ideas, designs and materiels.
    Imagine though if in 1950 with todays restrictions, some entrepeneurs like Bernie had built a successful racing “show” we would possibly now be watching front engined, metal bodied open-wheel race cars powered by a version of the 4 cylinder Offenhauser Indy engine. No wonder the manufacturers don’t want to spend money in F1.

    1. If manufacturers were always allowed to do what they wanted there would be no F1 today anymore, because no one could afford it. Something similar happened to the DTM in the 90’s.

      1. @dennis,Under the open development rules backyard “garagistas” managed to thrive and become big corporations, the budgets are just as high now only the results are less tangible. The world is a wealthier place and the market is vastly greater, if they could do it then, they can do it now, but they will probably have to stop giving half the revenue away to do so.

  17. One thing to remember when we’re talking about KERS and how relevant it is to manufacturers; KERS is essentially ancient tech, much simpler than what was on the original Prius and something McLaren dabbled with in 1999.

    In 2014 we’ll be freezing engine development as we have the past bunch of years also, except for the energy storage where Red Bull’s link with Infiniti’s likely to pay dividends where they’re already ahead of the game as far as using supercapacitators goes.

  18. Hard to blame them.

    As technology goes, F1 is getting even more limited. It’s been 6 years they’ve been stuck with the same old engine, so there’s nothing to do in that department. KERS produces a totally lame amount of HP and it’s not pushing for “green” technologies. The rulebook allow nothing in terms of innovation outside aerodynamics, and there’s always the odd loophole that provides a certain team a massive advantage.

    So the risk of persuing innovation and road relevance is enormous. Le Mans allows you to get publicity, at a much lower cost, with higher road relevance, a more relaxed rulebook, which always concentrates on fuel efficiency and long range performance, and it’s a place Porsche is DA TEAM. Competing against Toyota and Audi iis “easier” in terms of marketing than competing against Ferrari, McLaren, Mercedes and all that just to be beaten by an energy drinks company.

    1. Because the average Porsche buyer is interested in fuel economy and that it can beat a Toyota?

      1. @dennis I said easier in terms of how costly it is if you lose. Porsche will always be Porsche in Le Mans. But in F1, it’ll be veyr different

      2. No @dennis, the average Porsche buyer is interested in car that provides Ferarri performance and can be used like a Toyota.

  19. I can see what Porsche are saying but not sure they would get nearly as much coverage as F1 does. That said it is a smaller budget and yes there is a technology link to actual cars that is clearer.

    But not sure the man on the street would even be at all bothered to know who won the WEC (or even what it is), though most people know Le Mans.

    WEC is good though, I would watch it if it was more available. Is it on Sky at all? Motors TV?

    1. WEC is good though, I would watch it if it was more available. Is it on Sky at all? Motors TV?

      @georgetuk: It’s on Motors TV and all races are streamed on the internet, in full – live video along with Le Mans Radio commentary and live timing – on the official WEC site.

      1. Thank you @tony031r ! Much appreciated.

  20. The notion that modern LMP cars have any more relevance to road cars than F1 cars, apart from having fenders is quite hilarious, indeed.

    1. I agree dennis. There’s next to zero relevance between a road car and a race car, even at much lower levels of Motorsport. Farcical that anyone may think otherwise unless they really don’t understand the basics of motorsport.

      1. @nickfrog, I think it is you that doesn’t understand motorsport, history began before 2000,
        one example; disc brakes, heard of them?

        1. LOL again. You’re right I don’t understand motorsport. I only work in the industry!
          Disk brakes, lol. Great thread this.

          1. JimmyTheIllustratedBlindSolidSilverBeachStackapopolis III
            23rd April 2013, 18:13

            “I only work in the industry!”

            Are you redbull’s bin man? I bet they get through an awfull lot of cans each weekend.

          2. @nickfrog what do you do, out of curiosity?

          3. @nickfrog, you work in the industry! yet you fail to recognise that disk brakes on cars was unheard of before Jaguar used them on the D type to win Le Mans, probably before you were born but that’s no excuse.

    2. Tell that to Audi. Many of their current road cars technology & engineering showed up on the P1 cars 1st – LED head & tail lamps, diesel, aluminum. Those are the obvious ones. Their road car technology and sales have absolutely benefited from running in Alms, LMS & LeMans on their way to trying to become the number 1 luxury car brand in the world (which they initially said they wanted to do by 2015).

      1. LOL. LED ? You’re joking right ? That’s essentiallly cosmetics. Audi do not even make them. Hella do. Diesel ? LOL. Zero crossover. Aluminium ??? Massive LOL. Was it discovered last week.

        It’s 100% marketing. And it clearly works. Nothing wrong with that but don’t make me laugh.

        1. Motor_mad (@)
          23rd April 2013, 17:52

          I think you’re missing the point @luke55 is trying to make. Yes the L.E.D.’s are cosmetic on their road cars, they are too on their LMP cars. You could argue that if a diesel car is winning races then diesel must be cool. Not forgetting most Audi’s sold are in fact diesels. I’m not sure what he means by aluminum though…

          1. I guess that the reference to aluminium would be the use of aluminium for the V12 diesel engine that Audi used in the R10. However, as far as I am aware, the use of aluminium in turbodiesel engines came from the mainstream automotive world into sports car racing, not the other way around.

            On a broader point, has there actually been a significant amount of technological trickle down from sports car racing, or motorsport as a whole, into the wider automotive world? Audi claimed that the Gasified Direct Injection technology they started using on their road cars in 2000 was partially based on research for the R8, but Mistubishi were already selling cars with GDI in 1996 before Audi even turned up to Le Mans. Common rail technology for diesel engines is an even earlier invention – Magnetti Marelli invented that in the early 1990’s and was already well developed technology before Audi built the R10.
            Even if you go back to earlier developments, often the wider automotive world got there first – HoHum’s cites the disc brake, but Chrysler offered disc brakes on their road cars (albeit as an optional extra) three years before Jaguar ever fitted them to the C-Type.

            Newey, after all, was asked what he thought the greatest contribution of motorsport to technological development was – his reply was ‘Motorsport as an industry is a user of technologies that have been developed in other industries, aerospace in particular. So CFD programmes, aerodynamic understanding, simulation tools software and hardware – all are developed outside motor racing, and we apply them because we are not big enough to invent them.’

          2. From wikipedia, the C-Type was still the first car to run reliable caliper brakes. The Chrysler ones were disc brakes, but very different .

          3. While it is true that alot of Automotive technology was invented for the road before it came to the track, motorsport provides a testing and development regime that refines and improves products far faster than manufacturing cycles can.

        2. @nickfrog, are you sure that Audi didn’t use LED lights to reduce the electrical load.

        3. Lol. RELEVANCE to road cars. LED’s better quality of light, longer lasting bulbs, more flexibility of design than traditional bulbs. Check, check, & check. You need something to market. Audi’s turbo diesel technology has definitely provided real world benefits to their TDI vehicles (even though they were using TDI before they raced diesels). Yeah, I’m sure they learned NOTHING of value. Aluminum construction was used how extensively previous to Audi? And in which Road cars? Umm, I think you jest. I never stated their race cars were their road cars. They are a test bed. You work in the industry and you think Audi didn’t learn anything that could trickle down to the R8 & TDI cars? Yes, Hella makes the LED’s so what? They were on their race cars (testing) before they put them on their road cars. Dallara makes their monocoques. Does that mean it’s not an Audi. Hybrid drive on the R18? Yeah they did that because they were bored. R18 E-Tron -> R8 E-Tron -> something in the future.

          1. Regarding the aluminum. Obviously it’s been used in many capacities in many ways. My primary point is Audi is testing many things that may or may not make it to their road cars. In F1 the primary company doing that still is Ferrari. It is definitely possible – maybe even likely that some things will make it road cars in some capacity but not as likely as what comes from sports cars to GT cars to Road. The ACO has had a mandate for a number of years that the tech should be more applicable to the future of road cars. They definitely have a head start on F1 in that regard.

  21. 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.

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

  23. Motor_mad (@)
    23rd April 2013, 17:48

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

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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.

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

  31. 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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