Up until the distant year of 2014 my relationship status with Porsche had been pretty clear. “I don’t care much,” was the standard answer. I neither really hated them, nor did I really like them. All in all, my feelings could be summed up in a half-hearted shrug of the shoulders.
Then came the fateful day. June 14th in 2014 at exactly 15:00 GMT +1 – which some of you might remember as the start of the 24 hours of Le Mans. This is the first Le Mans I remember actively watching - and being pretty unfamiliar with the WEC and almost anything about it I latched onto the only piece of familiarity I had: Mark Webber, who was driving the humble #20 Porsche.
I started to cross fingers and toes for this car. As time went on, this love affair spread towards the whole Porsche LMP1 team. Nowadays I still pine for the beauty that is the #2 Porsche.
This was the point where the relationship with Porsche began to be complicated. Not only was I slipping and sliding into another motorsport obsession, on top of that I was cheering for a Porsche! I car manufacturer I never quite liked. Thus leaving not only my friends but also me more confused than amused.
For years, I went through this big wide world and explained this deviation by stating that it is only LMP1 Porsche. Not Porsche road cars. Not GTE either. Just LMP1. We all know the very familiar line of “What happens in Le Mans, stays in Le Mans.” Hence, the little love affair was of no consequence in life.
Well … at least until I sort of started to turn into your friendly WEC correspondent, and began to follow the sport more closely
Furthermore, I began to realize that hardly any of my friends knew of the class system that rules the WEC. With “hardly any” I obviously mean “none.” No matter, I can’t be held accountable for their sheer ignorance. On my part of the world, life was good. All was in order: LMP1 Porsche - yay, Porsche 911 – meh.
Then came summer, when I sat in front of my laptop reading the news that Porsche was going to leave the prototype class. My eyes started to well up, and in a moment I would be reduced to a puddle of tears.
What was I going to do without the wee Porsches in the WEC?! Luckily, my vision had not blurred so much that it had stopped me from reading the next sentence, which stated that they were going to join Formula E instead.
A tiny flicker of hope began to rise inside me. Formula E is a sport I only recently poked my nose in. Thus, I am your friendly but sometimes slightly confused Formula E correspondent. Seeing Porsche switch to a motorsport I was about to slip and slide into as well? Yeah, sign me up for that.
This caused a confused mumble from the few people who managed to grasp the strange relationship I have with Porsche. “After all, Susanne, that’s not the Le Mans car thingy?” they muttered in confusion. “I thought you didn’t like Porsche.”
“Well … yeah … I mean … uhm …” I eloquently stuttered.
In reality it should be rather simple to define my relationship with Porsche. Right? Obviously, there is the LMP1 Porsche - the 919 Hybrid if you wanna get technical:
It started the whole dilemma. However, how could I say no? In four years, they managed to take six titles (3 drivers’ & 3 manufacturer’s) and three Le Mans wins – one being the unlikely victory of the third entry in 2015, another in 2016, and the #2 Porsche this year. This win had not been unlikely, but instead impossible. That’s Le Mans for you. Then add 17 race wins, and 19 poles to the mix – as per the 15th of November 2017.
I like this car, and I like its team. Thus, I am going to like Formula E Porsche as well, but my friends – the one friend who could be bothered to listen – was right, why?
LMP1 Porsche’s departure is linked with their appearance in Formula E. Hence, I see it as a love child of the LMP1. It’s the wee bugger, that you want to see do well, and reach greats (and titles) nobody has grasped before!
Then we turn our attention to the Porsche road cars. This relationship is rather simple to define. On the one hand, we have this:
This particular Porsche is all right because it has Mark Webber on it.
On the other hand, we then have this car:
This is the devil.
Now I can sleep with any calm mind. The relationship status can be changed to “perfectly clear.” The world is bright and all is well …
… at least until I found myself being slightly happy for a GTE Porsche.