|Based||Stuttgart, Baden-Württemberg, Germany|
|Key People||Wolfgang Porsche (Chairman)|
Oliver Blume (CEO)
|Formula E Record|
|Total Entries||0 (0 Starts)|
|Team(s)||Porsche Formula E Team|
After several successful years in the World Endurance Championship, Porsche announced their intentions to join the ABB FIA Formula E Championship shortly before the 2017 Montreal ePrix. The group duly signed a deal with the FIA and Formula E Holdings to join the series ahead of the 2019/20 season, becoming the fourth German car manufacturer to enter the series.
Porsche AG was originally founded in 1931 by Austrian engineer Ferdinand Porsche, originally as an automotive research consultant in the heart of Stuttgart, Germany. Porsche subsequently developed what became known as the Volkswagen Beetle at the behest of the Nazi government, with Ferdinand Porsche becoming a founding member of Volkswagen AG, although Porsche AG was kept separate. Indeed, the Porsche group would not produce any cars until after the second world war, although Ferdinand Porsche did develop two tank designs as well as other engineering solutions during the early 1940s.
After the conclusion of WWII Porsche moved into manufacturing cars, using the Beetle as a basis to develop their first production car, the Porsche 356. However, Ferdinand Porsche's arrest for war crimes after the war, combined with the capture of the Volkswagen factory by the British Army, meant that the first Porsches were produced at a small factory in Austria under the control of Ferdinand's son Ferry. Production was subsequently moved to Stuttgart upon Ferdinand's release in 1950, with Porsche adopting the coat of arms of Württemberg and Stuttgart as their company logo.
Production began in 1948, with the 356 soon becoming one of the most popular sportscars in the world, with various evolutions of the design eventually bringing Porsche some success in the realm of motorsport. The most famous of these designs was the Porsche 550 Spyder, which not only won the Targa Florio in 1956, but would race in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and even be modified to compete in Formula One. The 550 was subsequently replaced by the mid-engined 718, which would not only secure podium finishes in F1, courtesy of Dan Gurney, but would also win the 12 Hours of Sebring, and take a class win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The Rearward Revolution
In 1964 Porsche contrived to replace the 356 and its various evolutions, and duly released the legendary Porsche 911, notably featuring a six cylinder engine. The 911 would go on to form the basis for Porsche's business both on and off the track, with sales of the 911 funding Porsche's factory backed racing programme. Indeed, the 917 would secure Porsche's maiden overall Le Mans triumph in 1970, and would become known world wide for its starring role in Steve McQueen's 1971 film Le Mans.
Porsche's sporting success further reinforced its road car business, despite an internal split within the firm following an official move to make the company an Aktiengesellschaft (public limited company) from a Kommanditgesellschaft (limited partnership). The 911 would continue to serve as the basis for the firm's sales and development, with new lines such as the 924 and 928 introduced to enhance the range, albeit without leaving the realm of sportscars. Indeed, the only serious attempt to replace the 911 came when Porsche introduced the 959 in the late 1980s, although the 959's supercar realm of performance made it too expensive to mass-produce.
The 1990s saw Porsche secure a deal with Japanese firm Toyota to learn new manufacturing techniques, having previously set to take the firm to court over the likeness of the Toyota MR2 to the Porsche 924. This deal would evolve to see Toyota and Porsche collaborate on some minor hybrid designs, although none of this work would progress beyond the early 2000s. The firm also secured its then record sixteenth Le Mans win with the Porsche 911 GT1-98, before entering an eighteen year break from the top class of endurance racing.
Porsche's success eventually prompted Volkswagen AG to entertain hopes of securing the road car business, with VW itself part of the wider Porsche Automobil Holding SE group. A deal was signed between the groups in 2009 which saw Porsche SE gain a 30% controlling stake in VW, while VW secured total control of the Porsche manufacturing business. The deal ultimately resulted in greater platform sharing between Porsche and various other VW members, with Porsche's SUV range ultimately sharing the same chassis as the various SUV models developed by Audi and VW.
Porsche would also make its long awaited Le Mans return in 2014, sending two new hybrid Porsche 919 LMP1 Hybrids to compete in the World Endurance Championship. After finishing off the podium at both Le Mans and in the WEC, Porsche returned in 2015 and duly swept to victory in France, before going on to claim the WEC title at the end of the year. The German manufacturer completed the double in the following 2016 and 2017 seasons, defeating both Audi and Toyota in the process, before their WEC LMP programme was cancelled at the end of 2017. Porsche would, however, continue to race in the GT categories, and claimed victory with the mid-engined 911 RSR in the 2018 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Formula E HistoryPorsche's interest in the FIA Formula E Championship was not revealed until it became clear that VW were no longer interest in funding top-class endurance racing projects. Indeed, on the eve of the Montreal ePrix in July 2017 it was announced that Porsche would join fellow VW group members Audi in FE, signing a deal to join the series in 2019/20. Various Porsche factory drivers would then test for various FE teams, with Neel Jani and André Lotterer both securing race seats during the 2017/18 season.
As part of their preparation to enter FE, Porsche also arranged to partner their engineers with those at Dragon Racing during 2017/18, although the partnership collapsed after the opening races in Hong Kong.
Porsche's first FE powertrain entered development in early 2018, and would enter dyno testing in October of the same year. It was subsequently announced that the first Porsche FE car would make its track testing debut in March 2019, with Porsche's first FE drivers set to be announced before the test.
Videos and Images:
- ↑ 1.00 1.01 1.02 1.03 1.04 1.05 1.06 1.07 1.08 1.09 1.10 1.11 1.12 1.13 1.14 1.15 1.16 1.17 1.18 1.19 1.20 1.21 1.22 '70 years of sports car fascination', porsche.com, (Porsche Cars Great Britain, 2018), https://www.porsche.com/uk/aboutporsche/70-years/history/, (Accessed 10/12/2018)
- ↑ Cite error: Invalid
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- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 'Porsche set to compete in Formula E from Season 6', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 28/07/2017), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2017/july/porsche-set-to-compete-in-formula-e-from-season-6/, (Accessed 28/07/2017)
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 Burt, William, Volkswagen Beetle, (MBI Publishing Company: USA, 2002), p.14
- ↑ 'Neel Jani Joins Faraday Future Dragon Racing', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 25/08/2017), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2017/august/neel-jani-joins-faraday-future-dragon-racing/, (Accessed 25/08/2017)
- ↑ 'Lotterer and Vergne complete TECHEETAH line-up', fiaformulae.com, (FIA Formula E, 26/09/2017), http://www.fiaformulae.com/en/news/2017/september/lotterer-and-vergne-complete-techeetah-line-up/, (Accessed 26/09/2017)
- ↑ Gary Watkins, 'Porsche: LMP1 drivers not guaranteed Formula E seats', motorsport.com, (Motorsport Network, 30/10/2017), https://www.motorsport.com/formula-e/news/porsche-lmp1-drivers-not-guaranteed-formula-e-seats-973072/, (Accessed 30/10/2017)
- ↑ 8.0 8.1 Sam Smith, 'Porsche to Begin Testing in March, Driver Announcement Soon', e-racing365.com, (John Dagys Media, LLC., 08/12/2018), https://e-racing365.com/formula-e/porsche-to-begin-testing-in-march-driver-announcement-soon/, (Accessed 10/12/2018)