Porsche premiered its all-new Porsche 99X Electric Gen3 this week following an evaluation in the Porsche Development Centre in Weissach, with the covers coming off at the new Porsche Experience Center in Franciacorta, Italy.
The car is the culmination of approaching two years' work for the TAG Heuer Porsche Formula E Team and Porsche Motorsport, with the Stuttgart car giant and legendary motorsport name pouring large resource into what is a flagship sporting programme for the company - especially key as Porsche aims for an 80% EV share of all its road models sold come 2025.
"Formula E is something very special," says Thomas Laudenbach, Vice President of Porsche Motorsport - who says competition in the world's leading electric race series will accelerate the company's EV transition through technology transfer. "It’s all-electric racing, and if you look around there are no other series – no championships like it at this level; the driver line-ups, the competitiveness and the level of competition, as well as exciting racing for the fans. They’re the reasons we’re involved.
"Our board have explained the importance of electrification and e-mobility to the Porsche brand, and the company has big ambitions for our road cars and electrification from 2025 up to 2030.
"We aren’t racing for its own sake, racing has to be relevant. If you look at what we do on the roads, it’s clear that all-electric racing must be part of what we do. Basically, what we’re doing is carrying on with what we’ve done throughout our history and over the last decades – we use motorsport as a laboratory. It’s there to develop technology and bring it from the race track to the road and that is what we do with [our competition in] Formula E.
A new partnership, project expansion and the Gen3 challenge
Laudenbach also touched on the importance of Porsche's tie-in with another legendary name in the industry in Andretti - with Avalanche Andretti Autosport set to run Porsche powertrains from Season 9. Expanding Porsche's footprint on the grid should help accelerate its progress as data and information during the infancy of Gen3 - a key stage of development - will effectively be doubled with the track-time of an additional pair of powertrains inside those Andretti cars.
"There’s a new development for us in Gen3, with Andretti Autosport [using Porsche powertrains] and taking a further two slots for Porsche power on the grid," said Laudenbach. "We are very proud of the relationship. Andretti is a great name and a great brand in motorsport and we’re proud that they have chosen us as their partner. In another change, we have Pascal Wehrlein back for his third year with us, of course, but we’ll welcome Antonio Felix da Costa. We’re very much looking forward to him joining us – he is a champion.
"We’ll be starting Season 9 in parallel [on a level] with all the other competitors at the start of Gen3. We had the first powertrain ready and running on the dyno last year – the work hasn’t happened overnight and it started firmly in 2021. We’ve had our rollout and have been testing on-track and now it’s roughly two months to the first race and we’re also looking forward to testing in December.
"Everybody involved can be very proud because this is really the development of a whole new powertrain, electric system, software and everything in parallel with that. It’s a great achievement for us and we’re very much excited for the new season," adds Laudenbach, who was also keen to stress - if it were needed - Porsche's ambitions for the Gen3 era, starting with Season 9.
"This is a huge project for us. We’re entering unknown territory and it wouldn’t be possible without the hard work here and the support from our sponsors and partners. I want to say a big thank you to everybody because we would never achieve without everybody in the boat with us. What I can promise is that we will do everything we can to make the best of this season – that way we can have success together and hopefully win a lot of races.
"We’re not there to just fill up the field – that is clear. So, we want to fight for victories and championships. We had a good start in Season 8 and didn’t achieve what we wanted to but that’s a reason why everybody is motivated. We will need everything to be up at the front in Season 9 and to make it successful."