Porsche and Ferrari officially announced their commitment to the GTE Pro class until at least the end of the 2022 season, therefore, guaranteeing the survival of the category until 2023.
The ACO was clear about the GTE Pro topic, saying that there will not be any new category introduced as a replacement of Le Mans GTE until at least 2022.
“The LMGTE ruleset provides a strong full-season entry in the FIA WEC across the Pro and Am classes, and the nature of the cars, without driver aids, makes them highly popular amongst the competitors.”
“The future remains open, but the decision will not be imminent and LMGTE cars will compete in the WEC until at least the end of the 2022 season. A longer-term strategy will be discussed and decided at the FIA Endurance Committee meetings later this year,” says an official statement from both the ACO and FIA.
This decision was however putting a sword of Damocles over their heads as manufacturers were slowly starting to withdraw from the category, one after another.
At the start of the 2021 season, after the withdrawal of Aston Martin, Ferrari and Porsche were the only manufacturers still aligning factory teams for the full WEC season in the GTE Pro category. If Ferrari or Porsche decided to retire at the end of the 2021 season, the GTE Pro class would probably have disappeared for at least one season.
Nonetheless, the class seems to be safe until its possible evolution in 2023. Indeed, Porsche and Ferrari both announced their commitment to GTE Pro until the end of the 2022 season.
“We will continue in 2022 with the same program as this year, which means a factory engagement with two cars,” said a spokesperson for Porsche.
The Italian and the German manufacturers will be joined, for some races, by Corvette and their famous C8R bolides. Nonetheless, the American manufacturer does not want to commit to the full season as they are only interested in some events of the WEC calendar.
If the ACO wants to keep this GT category alive, they will have to find attractive regulations for both manufacturers and drivers in 2023 as the opinions are divided concerning a possible entry after 2022. Ferrari says they want to focus on their Hypercar project in 2023 while Porsche does not want to register a factory team if the category became a ‘simple’ GT3 endurance category.
“Fritz Enzinger [Porsche Motorsport boss] has been clearly saying that, for us, GT3 is customer racing,” the spokesman for Porsche pointed out.
“[The 2023 season is] a different topic because we will be racing with our LMDh and in the current planning there will be a works team,” he added.