Go back a few years and you may have heard rumors of Porsche heading into Formula One. That never came to pass – or at least, it hasn't yet – but that doesn't mean that it wasn't close to happening. That's how committed to returning to top-level motorsport competition Porsche has become recently.

Autosport reports that just as Porsche was merging fully into the Volkswagen Group, Zuffenhausen was weighing its options for a factory racing program. Le Mans was its favorite, which makes sense, as it remains far and away the most successful constructor in the history of the famous endurance race. But the strategists at Porsche were worried that its new corporate overlords at Volkswagen wouldn't support two LMP1 programs and would favor Audi, which has positively dominated the modern era of endurance racing, coming second only to Porsche in the number of Le Mans victories it has scored to date.

Porsche's Plan B was reportedly to head into Formula One, although it isn't clear if the German automaker was intent on starting its own team, buying an existing one or merely providing engines to other teams. Porsche fielded its own cars in F1 in the late 1950s and early 60s, and returned as an engine supplier with TAG to power McLaren in the 1980s, powering Niki Lauda and Alain Prost to the World Championship in 1984 and 1985.

Either way, VW apparently has no qualms – or has at least gotten over them – about letting two of its divisions duke it out at La Sarthe, and that's exactly what they're going to do. It promises to be an epic showdown.


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  • 16 Comments
      carguy1701
      • 9 Months Ago
      One wonders what cafeteria encounters between team members must be like.
      Jan Calloway
      • 9 Months Ago
      either way it will be a win win for the VW group
      fuzzyfish6
      • 9 Months Ago
      Thanks for not blocking them VW! And go Toyota. ;)
      mustang_sallad
      • 9 Months Ago
      those headlights are awesome, I wonder how many Watts total...
      Zaki
      • 9 Months Ago
      F1 is a totally different ball game from Le Mans. Porsche would have to beat some established and experienced teams and very dedicated manufacturers and drivers...it would likely not be a pretty picture for Porsche, at least for a few years until they got their feet wet.
        ed_rc
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Zaki
        ...also Le Mans is more meaningful to a car manufacturer because it has more real world implications (durability, Fuel economy). don't get me wrong I'd love to see them try F1.
        msspamrefuge
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Zaki
        Not necessarily. If you haven't already noticed, this year's regulatory reset has largely eradicated the tenure advantages. Porsche wouldn't have necessarily had to start their own team either- Williams was very keen of partnering with a new engine manufacturer prior to switching to Mercedes, as Frank knows that a crucial key to success is a strong relationship with a resourceful supplier. Williams and Porsche (and Audi) already work together in a sense; both of the aforementioned VAG manufacturers use hybrid system energy storage solutions designed by Williams' Advanced Engineering arm.
      Frisky_Dingo
      • 9 Months Ago
      I salivate at the thought of seeing Porsche compete in F1. But Le Mans will do.
        Hedo D
        • 9 Months Ago
        @Frisky_Dingo
        Considering last escapade with Team Footwork was quite a dud.
          msspamrefuge
          • 9 Months Ago
          @Hedo D
          To be fair, any engine supplier that isn't Mercedes, Renault, or Ferrari is but a footnote in the past 20 years of F1 history. Toyota, Honda, BMW, and Ford were second or third best at their peaks, while Peugeot was a perpetual midcard.
          carguy1701
          • 9 Months Ago
          @Hedo D
          Which engine was that? The flat-12?
      Myself
      • 9 Months Ago
      So Volkswagen AG would have entered F1 if Volkswagen AG had blocked Volkswagen AG's Le Mans program. Audi is a VAG brand, Porsche is owned by VAG... But heck, what a way to come up with a press release covering all of VAG's Le Mans efforts.
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