The most successful manufacturer in the history of endurance racing is heading back to Le Mans with a new LMP1 team based at its own factory.
We recently brought you news that Porsche was returning to Le Mans next year for the first time in some fifteen years with a new works racing team. That effort is to be launched with a new 911 GT3 RSR which Porsche will be fielding itself (as opposed to farming out to a privateer entry) in the GTE class, but that's not the extent of what the German automaker has in store for its endurance racing program. Porsche has also just confirmed that it is developing a new top-tier hybrid LMP1 racer that it will field as part of a factory-backed team at Le Mans in 2014.
The new race car will be the first time Porsche - which claims more victories at Le Mans than any other manufacturer - will compete for overall victory at Le Mans since it took top honors with the 911 GT1 in 1998, and the first time it will run a Le Mans Prototype since the RS Spyder. That vehicle was fielded in the second-tier LMP2 category by independent teams like Penske. The car will make its race debut sometime next year before challenging the full World Endurance Championship - including the 24 Hours of Le Mans - in 2014, where it will compete with its own sister company Audi.
The effort will be run out of Porsche's R&D facility in Weissach, where the company has assembled a team of some 200 personnel to be led by Fritz Enzinger, who came over from BMW. Porsche's existing motorsport chief Hartmut Kristen will focus purely on Porsche's range of 911 racing cars like the new GT3 Cup revealed yesterday.