There has been speculation for months now about Porsche pulling their factory team from the FIA World Endurance GTE-Pro class. Some have said the program has been under review due to the development of a mid-engined platform, while others have said it was because they simply weren't competitive. Regardless of who you listen to or what you've read, some of the rumors are coming to a head with the most recent information coming from German publication Motorsport-Total. According to their report, they received confirmation, from an unnamed source at Porsche, that the plug will be pulled on the two-car factory 911 RSR program due, in part, to the ongoing Volkswagen emissions scandal.
This past summer, Head of Porsche Motorsport Dr. Frank Steffen Walliser told Sportscar365.com's John Dagy's that the GTE-Pro program was still under evaluation and denied reports that it would not be coming back.
“This is something that is not finally decided,” Walliser told Sportscar365. “It depends a little bit on the result and our general situation and the introduction of the new GT3-R. This is where we’re figuring out how it will work.”
Back then, his comments about performance were more threatening as Porsche hadn't yet found their footing in the 2015 season. Since then, Porsche has raced back to the front of the series with driver Richard Lietz leading the GT Drivers’ Championship and the team trailing Ferrari by just four points in the manufacturers’ title.
In that same article, Walliser mentioned a final decision on Porsche's 2016 program would be decided in late October. That time-frame has come and gone. However, we just spoke with Porsche and they told us to expect a decision and an announcement in the mid-December time frame.
We would hate to see Porsche leave the series as it means a privateer only entry for the 911 at Le Mans in 2016. However, should they leave, it's most likely only for a year and to await the development of their all new GTE car.
We'll be sure to update the story as we learn more or hear something official from Porsche.