World Endurance Championship Round 2. Le Mans, France. June 2018. Image: John Stevens for JellyBaby.Media

Porsche has announced the withdrawal of its two North American CORE Autosport-run entries from this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours, reducing its presence in the GTE Pro class to two cars.

The German marque, which has run four of its 911 RSRs in the French endurance classic since 2018, had again planned to bring its two US-based IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship cars to line up alongside its pair of regular FIA World Endurance Championship cars.

However, the economic fallout from the global coronavirus pandemic, scheduling difficulties due to a revised IMSA calendar as well as concerns surrounding travel have prompted Porsche to withdraw the two US-based cars and focus just on its WEC-entered Team Manthey-run cars.

The two North American Porsches join the SRT41 Garage 56 entry put together by quadruple paraplegic Frederic Sausset in pulling out of the race, which has been pushed back from its usual June slot to 19-20 September because of the COVID-19 crisis.

Nick Tandy, Earl Bamber and Matt Campbell had been due to drive the #93 Porsche, while the sister #94 car was to feature an all-French line-up of Patrick Pilet, Mathieu Jaminet and Julien Andlauer. No changes are expected to the driver line-ups of the remaining WEC Porsches.

Porsche’s decision to halve its GTE Pro class presence reduces the size of the class to nine cars, with the remaining 911 RSR-19s joined by three Ferrari 488 GTEs (including one Risi Competizione-entered car), two Corvette C8.Rs and two Aston Martin Vantage GTEs.

The withdrawal means that both the ByKolles LMP1, a firm fan-favourite due to it’s ‘firey’ tendencies and the second IDEC Sport Oreca LMP2 move off the reserve list and gain full entries.