What was expected has now been confirmed. Porsche will be back in the GTE-Pro class in the FIA World Endurance Championship next year. The German brand will be represented by a semi-works effort run by Dempsey Proton Racing.
Now have a look at all of the full-season competitors in the premier Grand Touring class in the FIA WEC. We have four prestigious brands that will fight for the championship titles. Aston Martin, Ferrari, Ford and Porsche will all be represented by heavily supported factory teams and stellar line-ups.
Aston Martin Racing has always been loyal to the FIA WEC since its launch back in 2012 and the British squad will be back next year in GTE-Pro. AMR will field no less than two brand new specification Aston Martin Vantage V8 GTEs. Team principal John Gaw said that the new Vantage is 25% different compared to the current one.
The number of cars in GTE-Pro and the driver line-ups will be announced soon. At the moment only long-time Aston Martin Racing regular, Darren Turner, is confirmed.
Ferrari will debut the brand new 488 GTE next year. As always, AF Corse will be the team in charge of running the new GT challenger from Maranello. The Ferrari 458 Italia was one of the most successful GT cars at Le Mans, FIA WEC and beyond. There are no reasons not to see the new 488 GTE being competitive right from the start.
For 2016, AF Corse is expected to field two cars in GTE-Pro. The driver line-ups aren't decided yet, but we won't be surprised to see familiar faces returning. Gianmaria Bruni and Toni Vilander are among the best GT racers around and youngsters Davide Rigon and James Calado were impressive in 2015 and challenged for the title.
Ford is back! The American brand will have a full factory assault on the FIA WEC GTE-Pro class with the stunning new Ford GT. Two cars will be fielded by Chip Ganassi Racing, the team will enter the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship as well.
Ford's drivers in IMSA are already known, that is not the case for the FIA WEC programme. An official announcement will come at the beginning of 2016. Same as in GTLM, big names are about to join the GTE-Pro side.
The Blue Oval may be a new comer in GTE, but they have everything to be strong against much experienced brands and teams. Now let's wait and see if the Americans will field the two IMSA cars at Le Mans or not. The idea of having four Ford GTs at La Sarthe is without a shadow of doubt, a cracking one.
Can we imagine the GTE-Pro class without Porsche? Absolutely not. It's not a secret that Porsche is working on a brand new GTE car for 2017. There were some fears that the German brand will leave GTE-Pro next year, but that won't be the case.
Dempsey Proton Racing will enter a single Porsche 911 RSR with a strong line-up. 2015 class champion, Richard Lietz, will be joined by Michael Christensen. A single "old" car against three two-car efforts may look like as a strong challenge for Dempsey Proton Racing, but never underestimate Porsche and their drivers. Richard Lietz has massive experience in GT racing and Michael Christensen proved to be a very fast driver as well.
In addition to the factory supported Dempsey Proton Racing in FIA WEC, Porsche will enter two works Porsche 911 RSRs at the Le Mans 24 Hours, with all of their IMSA drivers.
Four brands, no less than seven cars and world class driver line-ups, a true royal battle is expected in GTE-Pro.