Porsche relaxed about potential WEC GTE Pro exodus

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Porsche relaxed about potential WEC GTE Pro exodus
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Co-author: Andrew van Leeuwen
Feb 4, 2019, 10:43 AM

Porsche’s director of GT factory motorsports Pascal Zurlinden says he is relaxed by the prospect of two manufacturers leaving the FIA World Endurance Championship’s GTE Pro class next season.

BMW Motorsport boss Jens Marquardt has raised the prospect that the German marque could call time on its WEC involvement after the conclusion of the current 2018/19 superseason, despite only having entered its pair of MTEK-run M8 GTEs at the start of last year.

Ford, meanwhile, is believed to be unlikely to continue into 2019/20 as it gets set to wind down its factory GT programme in both the WEC and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

If both BMW and Ford were to exit GTE Pro, it would leave Ferrari, Aston Martin and Porsche as the three manufacturers left standing in the class.

But Zurlinden insists that Porsche remains solidly committed to the category regardless of what its competitors decide to do.

“At the moment I think we are the peak of the GTE in WEC with the number of manufacturers,” Zurlinden told media during last weekend’s Bathurst 12 Hour.

“But in the past there were one or two manufacturers less and it was still healthy, the GTE category. So we don’t see any trends that are bad for the WEC. We’ll still do it.

“It’s a world championship and a world championship is always attractive for the manufacturers.”

Porsche holds a commanding lead in the GTE Pro manufacturers’ standings with three rounds to go of the 2018/19 campaign, helped by a one-two finish in the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Kevin Estre and Michael Christensen also enjoy a healthy 43-point buffer in the drivers’ table having added victory at Fuji to their Le Mans triumph, while Gianmaria Bruni and Richard Lietz are tied for second with Ford pair Stefan Mucke and Olivier Pla.

A return to only three manufacturers in GTE Pro would mirror the number that were present in 2016 (pictured below), before Porsche rejoined the class with a full works effort in 2017 after a year's absence.

#66 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Team UK Ford GT: Olivier Pla, Stefan Mücke

#66 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Team UK Ford GT: Olivier Pla, Stefan Mücke

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About this article

Series WEC
Teams Team Manthey
Author Jamie Klein