Porsche is returning to Le Mans in a big way, but it could have gone into F1 instead.
The Zuffenhausen faithful have been eagerly anticipating Porsche’s return to Le Mans. With more wins there than any other automaker, Porsche is set to compete this year with the new 911 RSR before launching a new LMP1 car for the next. But while Le Mans eventually won out, it wasn’t the only option on the table. Speaking with Autocar, Porsche R&D boss Wolfgang Hatz revealed that it also considered F1, but ruled it out because it's so "extreme that it cannot result in any development in our road car understanding."
If it had gone into F1, it wouldn’t be the first time. Porsche designed grand prix cars in the pre-WW2 era, competed briefly in the early 60s, and provided engines to McLaren in the late 80s, propelling Niki Lauda and Alain Prost to the world championship. The last time it was present on the F1 grid, though, was with Footwork, which failed to finish a single race under Porsche power. The Volkswagen Group of which Porsche is now part is one of the largest automakers not to have competed in F1 recently, unlike Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Fiat (Ferrari), Renault-Nissan, Toyota and Honda which all either field teams in F1 now or have within the past few years.