The Porsche that whipped around the Le Mans race track over the weekend for the first time in 16 years was unlike most of the brand’s vehicles these days: The low-slung model was a sports car rather than a SUV.
As global demand for vehicles like the 911 stagnate, Porsche returned to the French sports-car race -- the world’s oldest -- yet failed to finish as technical issues forced it to pull out two hours before the checkered flag on Sunday. Still, the goal was less to win than to remind affluent buyers that the German brand remains focused on performance, even if the majority of the vehicles it sells are suited to shuttling kids and carrying groceries.
“It was a mistake to stop competing at the top rung of motor sport,” CEO Matthias Mueller, who took charge of the brand four years ago, said in an interview last week. “We are a sports-car maker and racing belongs to our brand.”