Formula E steals another team – who’s next?

Another big-name team has thrown its weight behind the quickly-rising all-electric motorsport. The only question left is: who’s next?

Formula E has been having less of a field day and more of a field week. The all-electric Motorsport that has been out to prove its worth its weight to the its older and more-developed siblings has had the opportunity to do just that. Less than a full week since Mercedes have announced their decision to drop out of the DTM series and instead opt for Formula E, Porsche has quickly stepped up to join them.

Yes, that’s right. Formula E will be getting not one, but two of the most illustrious manufacturer’s in Motorsport. Apparently, it appears that Porsche has had their fill of winning the LMP1 category and has decided to move on to greater pastures. While this might be a contributing partner, there’s no denying that the German manufacturer is looking for the best testbed for its future line of consumer electric cars. The LMP1 category in Le Mans has always felt like a half-step in the direction of environment-friendly engines – and Porsche is looking to make a leap forward.

Porsche board member Michael Steiner spoke on the company’s decision, saying:

“Entering Formula E and achieving success in this category are the logical outcomes of our Mission E road car program.

The growing freedom for in-house technology developments makes Formula E attractive to us.

For us, Formula E is the ultimate competitive environment for driving forward the development of high performance vehicles in areas such as environmental friendliness, efficiency and sustainability.” – Michael Steiner

True to the form that won them three consecutive LMP1 championships, Porsche LMP1 vice-president Fritz Enzinger elaborated on the Formula E challenge that Porsche would be faced with, and the relish with which they look at it:

“Building up the Le Mans team from scratch was a huge challenge. Over the years, we have developed an incredibly successful and professional team. This will be our basis going forward. I am certain that we will maintain our high level in Formula E. Confidence is high, and we are excited to get started”. – Fritz Enzinger

Mercedes may have inadvertently started a domino effect here. With such a prestigious manufacturer joining the Motorsport that everyone and their best mate love to ridicule, they’ve given FE credibility and support that can’t be understated. Porsche’s decision to follow suit has only strengthened FE’s image. With four German manufacturer’s now participating in the sport, we may see even more chose to follow.

It’s true, one could elect to rant and rail against the push for road car relevance that manufacturers have been pushing for, but there is no denying that Motorsport participation purely for the sake of spectacle is something that can only exist within very select niches – such as Formula 1.

Formula E does hold the potential to become something truly amazing – perhaps that could one day rival even F1. But it will be a long and arduous road to get there. While it has proved that it is the beacon that manufacturers needed, it has to ensure that it can offer more to the spectator. Because whistling cars on short circuits with un-impressive speeds isn’t going to get anyone’s juices going – barring the most devout electrophiles.