In the beginning, there was the one, Toyota, who were left on their own when everyone pulled out of prototype racing on the back of "dieselgate" but still wanted to race on the world stage.
That then became two, when Peugeot announced back in the summer that it was their intention to return to endurance racing, and especially Le Mans in 2023, to represent French honour in the centenary year of the great race in French.
And lo and behold, two further presents have been delivered this month via VAG group announcements.
The first was a re-jigging of which company raced where, as Bentley were pulled from International GT and placed into Formula E. That in turn allowed VAG to pull Audi out of Formula E - and place them back to their spiritual home - FIA WEC and Le Mans. That made three.
And today we are waking up to the news that Porsche have announced they are also planning to return to the WEC and Le Mans with a new hypercar for 2023!
Between 2014 and 2017, Porsche underlined its expertise in the top class of endurance racing with the hugely-successful Porsche 919 Hybrid. In the WEC, the LMP1 class prototype achieved a hat-trick clinching the manufacturers’ and drivers’ championship titles in 2015, 2016 and 2017, as well as winning Le Mans for three consecutive years. This was all the while running alongside Porsche’s extremely successful GTE Pro programme which captured the GT World Championship title and victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans during the 2018-2019 Super Season.
In the press release, Oliver Blume, CEO at Porsche AG, outlined their reasons for the quick return to the topline category, “The new LMDh category allows us to fight for overall victories with a hybrid system at the Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring classics – without breaking the bank. The project is extremely attractive for Porsche. Endurance racing is part of our brand’s DNA.”
Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, said: “This eagerly anticipated announcement is excellent news for Endurance racing. By confirming its commitment to Hypercar, the new top class of Endurance, Porsche will return to Le Mans to take on other major manufacturers in the 24 Hours. These recent announcements prove that our regulations, boosted by a historic agreement with the USA, are an attractive proposition.”
So while we feared for the outcome of the acceptance of the LMDh rules set, it appears we now have four major manufacturers who are committing their support to championships (WEC & IMSA) that share common rules and therefore allow identical cars to be entered into both of the world's major championships. This, along with the support already shown by projects from Bykolles and Glickenhaus, could lead to a new golden era of sportscar racing.
Now, who else is waiting in the wings to see where this is going ...............?