Porsche to ditch Le Mans a year early and follow Mercedes into Formula E

 
Joe Hall
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Formula E will include iconic racing brands Porsche and Mercedes in 2019 (Source: Getty)

Porsche is entering the electric car competition Formula E, withdrawing from the Le Mans racing first division a year before its contract ends.

Despite its prototype 919 Hybrid triumphing in the 2015 and 2016 World Endurance Championships and the Le Mans 24 Hours for the last three years, Porsche said competing in the all-electric Formula E was the natural next step after launching a luxury electric saloon car.

The manufacturer is following the lead of Mercedes and joining the league for its sixth season in 2019/20.

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"The growing freedom for in-house technology developments makes Formula E (FE) attractive to us," said Porsche research and development board member Michael Steiner.

"For us, FE is the ultimate competitive environment for driving forward the development of high performance vehicles in the areas such as environmental friendliness, efficiency and sustainability."

Formula E founder Alejandro Agag said the arrival of the an iconic racing brand like Porsche into Formula E represented the growing stature of the competition.

Read more: What is Formula E? Everything you need to know

"If somebody told me when we started this project five years ago, that we'd be announcing a partnership with a brand like Porsche, I wouldn't have believed it," said Agag.

"To have a name like Porsche in Formula E, with all it represents in terms of racing and heritage — and in terms of sports cars — is an inflexion point in our quest to change the public perception about electric cars."

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