Mark Webber has announced he will leave Formula 1 after the 2013 season to race for Porsche's LMP1 team in the Le Mans series.

Speculation around the Aussie's future has been spiralling for months after he was involved in a bitter altercation with team-mate Sebastian Vettel after the Malaysian Grand Prix. At the time rumours had linked Webber with a move to Porsche.

Speaking about his new venture, Webber described it as an "honour" to be moving to Porsche saying in a statement: "Porsche has written racing history as a manufacturer and stands for outstanding performance and technology at the highest level.

"I'm very much looking forward to this new challenge after my time in Formula 1. I can hardly wait to pilot one of the fastest sports cars in the world."

The announcement of Webber's retirement at the end of 2013, will end a career of 12 years, nine of which were spent at Red Bull Racing.

In that time Webber has won nine races his last coming at last year's British Grand Prix. He nearly won the 2010 world championship leading for much of the season before faltering in the final few races, falling behind eventual champion Sebastian Vettel.

The news comes a day after Red Bull's Dr Helmut Marko said Webber had been offered a new contract with Red Bull for 2014, and despite offers from other teams Webber has decided it is time to return to endurance racing.

Mark has raced in endurance racing and Le Mans twice before in 1998 and 1999. Driving for Mercedes, he had little success retiring early in 1998 before an aerodynamic flaw in the 1999 car saw him flip twice at over 200mph (320kph) on the Mulsanne straight.

He will now headline Porsche's LMP1 challenge as the German car maker returns to Le Mans trying to win the race for the first time since 1998.


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