The day has started with a bit of a shock for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Porsche has chosen to pull out of the series as a works team, at the end of the 2020 season.
They have been active as a works team since 2014, with CORE autosport running the GTLM operation. There were several privateer Porsche GTLM/GT2 entries prior to that, including a car entered by CORE.
They have won 2 Drivers Championships and 3 Constructor Championships since then, by claiming 48 podium finishes including 18 race victories.
Porsche mentioned the difficult economy following the COVID-19 situation as the reason for pulling out, which was the same explanation as when they pulled the two cars from the 24 Hours of Le Mans entry list.
It’s quite surprising for the news to break now, since there have been talks about Porsche being interested in the new LMDh category, which is planned to begin in 2022. There is however no final decision about this programme, but it was expected that the GTLM programme as a minimum would run until a potential replacement programme.
Porsche points out, that this will have no influence on the GTD and GT4 privateers running in North America, who will continue to be supported. It’s yet not announced, if CORE autosport will return to run as a privateer GTLM team, just like they did prior to 2014.
That leaves just Corvette Racing and BMW Team RLL as full-season teams in GTLM for 2021. BMW’s deal with Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing is traditionally a single year deal, so nobody knows how long they will stay around. North America is the only region where the M8 GTE model races. The car was introduced for the 2018 season, in both IMSA and the FIA WEC, but they pulled out after just a single season in the FIA WEC.
Risi Competizione has been making occational appearances, but they have been full season runners for many years.
Porsche finished the Daytona 24 Hours in the second position, as the currently only race in the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season. The season will resume on 4 July at Daytona with a 2 Hours and 40 minutes race.