Porsche Leaving IMSA GTLM at End of 2020

Photograph Courtesy Porsche

As announced today: “Porsche will cease its factory involvement with the 911 RSR in the GTLM class of the North American IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (IWSC) at the end of 2020.”

The reason for the decision, the release states, is the current COVID-19 pandemic. The release continues that this current season will run as planned. 

More from the release: “The support of customer teams in the GTD class of the IWSC, as well as the Michelin Pilot Challenge (GT4) and the GT3 Cup Challenge USA, will continue unchanged in cooperation with Porsche Motorsport North America and Porsche Cars North America.”

Scroll down to read the entire statement:

Stuttgart. Porsche will cease its factory involvement with the 911 RSR in the GTLM class of the North American IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (IWSC) at the end of 2020. The current season will not be affected. With this step, Porsche Motorsport makes a significant contribution to overcoming the economic effects that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the sports car manufacturer. As the reigning champions in the GTLM manufacturers, team and drivers classification, Porsche currently ranks second in the championship with its American partner squad Core Autosport after the season-opening 24 Hours of Daytona. After taking an essential break for health safety reasons, the IMSA championship plans to resume its racing activities on the first weekend in July. The restart will be held at Daytona. Porsche Motorsport would like to bid farewell to the series by defending its title. The support of customer teams in the GTD class of the IWSC, as well as the Michelin Pilot Challenge (GT4) and the GT3 Cup Challenge USA, will continue unchanged in cooperation with Porsche Motorsport North America and Porsche Cars North America.

The decision to halt our factory involvement in the IMSA series was not an easy one for us,” emphasises Fritz Enzinger, Vice President Porsche Motorsport. “With a view to the current corporate situation in connection with the Coronavirus pandemic, it is only logical for Porsche Motorsport to make a contribution to coping with the economic fallout. We’ve openly discussed our exit with all involved. At this point, we’d like to convey our sincere thanks to Jim France and the colleagues at IMSA for their understanding. Porsche belongs in endurance racing. We will work hard to ensure that this is only a temporary Auf Wiedersehen.”

Pascal Zurlinden (Director Factory Motorsport): “For us sportspeople, such endings are always painful. For our operational team Core Autosport and everyone involved, I’m very sorry that we were unable to make this decision with more lead time. At the same time, I’d like to thank everyone affected by this for their professional handling of this situation.”

Steffen Höllwarth (Head of Operations IMSA Championship at Porsche Motorsport): “We hope that this season’s races will still be contested so that we don’t leave the IMSA stage soundlessly. Of course, such decisions impact the mood, but we’re all professionals and we’re now focusing on the remaining races of the current season.”

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Comments
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Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter)
Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/4/20 10:41 a.m.

GTE /  GTLM has loosing competitors left and right recently.  And with LMDh and LMH coming as the top tiers and GT3 getting ever faster the squeez on this catagory was inevitable.  I see this as one step closer to the inevitable death knell.  It's not all bad news though, people have been saying there are too many classes and series for a while.  Covid and the economy may act as an accelerant, but I think this was inevitable in the long run.

alfadriver (Forum Supporter)
alfadriver (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/4/20 11:07 a.m.

In reply to Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter) :

This version of death.  It would not be the first time edurance racing went through turmoil.

DirtyBird222
DirtyBird222 UberDork
6/4/20 11:21 a.m.

So it's going to be the early 2000s all over again with the factory Corvette team racing against todays version of Saleen S7 customers. 

06HHR (Forum Supporter)
06HHR (Forum Supporter) Dork
6/4/20 11:29 a.m.

In reply to DirtyBird222 :

Could be, maybe the C8R gets the overall win next year because all of the LMHd and LMH cars break down.  If the C8R makes it to LeMans in 2021 at all, tough times ahead..frown

BenB (Forum Supporter)
BenB (Forum Supporter) Reader
6/4/20 12:03 p.m.

That's too bad. If they do away with GTE/GTLM, would adapting the remaining car types to fit into GT3/GTD be a viable option? I'd hate to see the C8R disappear before it has a chance to show what it can do.

DirtyBird222
DirtyBird222 UberDork
6/4/20 1:33 p.m.
BenB (Forum Supporter) said:

That's too bad. If they do away with GTE/GTLM, would adapting the remaining car types to fit into GT3/GTD be a viable option? I'd hate to see the C8R disappear before it has a chance to show what it can do.

BMW is still around and hasn't announced an exit plan. WEC still runs with 2 cars in LMP1. They aren't dead in the water yet. 

Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter)
Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/4/20 2:10 p.m.

In reply to DirtyBird222 :

BMW have withdrawn from GTE in the WEC.  Corvette pulled out of LeMans for this year only.  Ford is out of IMSA and WEC.  Scuderia Corsa is only doing the 12 and 24 hour events etc.  The category is currently imploding faster than LMP1 did a few years ago. 

FYI  LMP1 is not running with only two cars.  It mayonly have two cars entered by a (road car) manufacturer, but there are six cars registered for the WEC LMP1 class and seven currently entered for LeMans.

DirtyBird222
DirtyBird222 UberDork
6/4/20 2:21 p.m.
Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to DirtyBird222 :

BMW have withdrawn from GTE in the WEC.  Corvette pulled out of LeMans for this year only.  Ford is out of IMSA and WEC.  Scuderia Corsa is only doing the 12 and 24 hour events etc.  The category is currently imploding faster than LMP1 did a few years ago. 

FYI  LMP1 is not running with only two cars.  It mayonly have two cars entered by a (road car) manufacturer, but there are six cars registered for the WEC LMP1 class and seven currently entered for LeMans.

Sportscar racing is dead. There I said it. Bring back the tube-framed Grand-Am DPs and the old Tube-Frame GT1 cars and call it a day. 

slowbird
slowbird SuperDork
6/4/20 2:34 p.m.

Bring back tube-frame race cars in general. I like it.

Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter)
Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/4/20 3:07 p.m.

No, don't bring back the tube frame DP's, they sucked and all but the last 'Corvette' looked like crap.  they didn't provide a good spectacle and the GT3's were way too close to them on pace.

I don't think sports car racing is dead, I just think it's going through one of its cyclical collapse and re-birth cycles.  

Dave M (Forum Supporter)
Dave M (Forum Supporter) HalfDork
6/4/20 3:19 p.m.

As others said, LMDh kills GTLM. Cheaper, faster and global. It has the potential to be an amazing category…

DirtyBird222
DirtyBird222 UberDork
6/4/20 3:33 p.m.
Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter) said:

No, don't bring back the tube frame DP's, they sucked and all but the last 'Corvette' looked like crap.  they didn't provide a good spectacle and the GT3's were way too close to them on pace.

I don't think sports car racing is dead, I just think it's going through one of its cyclical collapse and re-birth cycles.  

I don't know if we can be friends. The racing provided by Grand-Am DPs was awesome. Did I mention the racing was fantastic? Field sizes were healthy it was much more financially feasible for privateers than the current LMP2 based DPi. You must've been one of those ALMS fan bois that would throw out the "quality over quantity" arguments :( 

Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter)
Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/4/20 3:52 p.m.

In reply to DirtyBird222 :

LOL.  I never cared for the on track action of the DP's, they just weren't spectacular.  Yes, I would have been quantity over quality, but never saw ALMS in person so I can't comment.  I will say though, the current generation of DPi's are my favorite (modern) race cars to watch on this continent.  They are just so visceral and alive to watch in person, even better than Indy cars.

MotorsportsGordon
MotorsportsGordon HalfDork
6/5/20 6:11 p.m.
DirtyBird222 said:
Adrian_Thompson (Forum Supporter) said:

No, don't bring back the tube frame DP's, they sucked and all but the last 'Corvette' looked like crap.  they didn't provide a good spectacle and the GT3's were way too close to them on pace.

I don't think sports car racing is dead, I just think it's going through one of its cyclical collapse and re-birth cycles.  

I don't know if we can be friends. The racing provided by Grand-Am DPs was awesome. Did I mention the racing was fantastic? Field sizes were healthy it was much more financially feasible for privateers than the current LMP2 based DPi. You must've been one of those ALMS fan bois that would throw out the "quality over quantity" arguments

and nobody wanted to watch them. However many of the dp teams were getting secret NASCAR/France family funding. Brumos,action express(actually owned by Jim france,spirt of Daytona,ganassi,Penske dp,to name a few all got funding from the series.

https://www.sportsbusinessdaily.com/Daily/Issues/2013/10/07/People-and-Pop-Culture/Felix-Sabates.aspx

Sabates testified late NASCAR Chair BILL FRANCE JR. offered him and partner CHIP GANASSI $1M "out of his own pocket" to start a team. Sabates said that France would also guarantee $400,000 in annual profits." Ganassi and Sabates entered Grand-Am racing in '04. Sabates in his testimony said that NASCAR Chair & CEO BRIAN FRANCE "kept up the payments when his father later became sick, but that the payments stopped when Bill France died" in '07. 

 

We're trying to close the doors without embarrassing ourselves, the France family and embarrassing (the) Grand American Series. There is no money. There is no purse. There's nothing." Rothacker noted Sabates' "ownership role in the team is unclear."

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
6/5/20 6:21 p.m.

Crazy idea, but hear me out:

In the interest of containing costs while also giving manufacturers a platform that shows off their street products--the things that pay the bills--what if we recast top-tier endurance racing around GT3/GT4 cars? Do the masses really care about prototypes? 

 

T.J.
T.J. MegaDork
6/5/20 6:26 p.m.

GT3 can replace GTLM. They fill a similar role. 
 

I want to some sort of prototypes run LeMans, the Rolex 24, Sebring 12 hrs etc. 

If shorter races just had GT cars that would be ok with me. 

MotorsportsGordon
MotorsportsGordon HalfDork
6/5/20 6:26 p.m.
David S. Wallens said:

Crazy idea, but hear me out:

In the interest of containing costs while also giving manufacturers a platform that shows off their street products--the things that pay the bills--what if we recast top-tier endurance racing around GT3/GT4 cars? Do the masses really care about prototypes? 

 

Probably costs the same or less to run a dpi/lmp2 to a gt3. An lmp3 is definitely less running costs then gt3. It's pretty common for gt racing to to cost more then prototypes. That being said events like Nürburgring Bathurst etc have gt3 as the top class. You will probably see a new international gt class with gte and gt3 merged. Just like what's going on with prototypes.

alfadriver (Forum Supporter)
alfadriver (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/5/20 6:31 p.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens :

I think your idea for GT3 and GT4 is a great idea.  I see Mustangs made to those specs all the time at one of the build shops here in SE MI.  So I'd be that everyone else can make them "cheap."  Makes the cars both easier and cheaper to make, as well as more applicable.

And if we want a prototype class- at least make the engines actual production engines- like DP used to be.  And make the engine rules "open" enough so that some shop can make a Porsche V8 on their own and win a major race.  While I think the DP cars were horribly ugly, the production based motors were cool.

Combine those simpler prototypes with the GT3/4 cars, and LeMans just got at least half the price.  (I actually don't know that...)

MotorsportsGordon
MotorsportsGordon HalfDork
6/5/20 6:36 p.m.
alfadriver (Forum Supporter) said:

In reply to David S. Wallens :

I think your idea for GT3 and GT4 is a great idea.  I see Mustangs made to those specs all the time at one of the build shops here in SE MI.  So I'd be that everyone else can make them "cheap."  Makes the cars both easier and cheaper to make, as well as more applicable.

And if we want a prototype class- at least make the engines actual production engines- like DP used to be.  And make the engine rules "open" enough so that some shop can make a Porsche V8 on their own and win a major race.  While I think the DP cars were horribly ugly, the production based motors were cool.

Combine those simpler prototypes with the GT3/4 cars, and LeMans just got at least half the price.  (I actually don't know that...)

The engines in dpi are all based on production engines.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
6/5/20 9:20 p.m.

In reply to alfadriver (Forum Supporter) :

Thanks. I was kinda picturing a GTU/GTO thing but using GT3/GT4 cars. 

MotorsportsGordon
MotorsportsGordon HalfDork
6/5/20 9:29 p.m.

Exactly what sro does with their various series across the world which includes the world challenge. Mixture of endurance and sprint racing. Plus these series include the international tcr touring car class. Imsa has both gt4 and tcr in the pilot challenge series.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
6/5/20 11:16 p.m.

In reply to MotorsportsGordon :

Exactly. But even longer races--like, full-on endurance contests. 

Would we be happy with 12- and 24-hour races featuring just tin tops? 

slowbird
slowbird SuperDork
6/5/20 11:31 p.m.

The 24 Hours of Nurburgring is always one of the top races of the year, and not only because of the track...12 Hours of Bathurst is great too. I'm fine with races that lack prototypes.

BenB (Forum Supporter)
BenB (Forum Supporter) Reader
6/6/20 9:04 a.m.
slowbird said:

The 24 Hours of Nurburgring is always one of the top races of the year, and not only because of the track...12 Hours of Bathurst is great too. I'm fine with races that lack prototypes.

Same here. I'm perfectly happy watching GT-only races. Some of the best races I saw last year were GT4.

slowbird
slowbird SuperDork
6/6/20 9:20 a.m.

I also want to talk about the escalation of GT3 cars in terms of speed and aerodynamics...seems like they're destined to become too evolved at some point, like many formulas do. At some point I think GT racing might benefit from doing away with all the flappy winglets and diffusers etc.

Rons
Rons Reader
6/6/20 2:34 p.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens :

Which would bring IMSA back to the '72 to '76 era pre Porsche Turbo - the more things change the more they stay the same.

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