Category Archives: FIA World Endurance Championship

“We Are Fighting Again For The Title” – AF Corse’s Alessandro Pier Guide And James Calado Reflect On The FIA WEC At Autosport 2018 (12.01.18)

Photo: www.fiawec.com

2017 FIA World Endurance Championship GTE Pro drivers champions James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guide were present on the opening day of the 2018 Autosport Show and gave their thoughts on their championship-winning season and the current state of sportscar racing.

Both Calado and Pier Guidi were immensely proud to have won the championship for AF Ferrari and AF Corse.

“It’s a great feeling to be World Champions,” said Peir Guidi. “To be world champion with Ferrari, it’s amazing. For an Italian driver even more. The GT Pro class is, I think, the best class at the moment in the WEC. It’s really amazing to be world champion”

James Calado was keen to explain how difficult their championship battle had been.

“It’s the World Endurance Championship,” said Calado. “The word ‘endurance’ is in there but it’s not an endurance race any more – it’s a flat-out sprint for six hours. Even the Le Mans 24 Hours is just completely flat-out and with one mistake you can fall right down the field. In general GTE Pro especially is extremely competitive. We had a very tight year. It wasn’t easy to win the world title this year. It went down to seven points in the end against our other rival manufacturers.”

“The championship is super-competitive. We had a great line-up of drivers and manufacturers in the championship. It’s only on the up and to be honest, it’s really difficult and very competitive. It’s really nice to get some proper racing in there.”

Calado explained that GTE racing has evolved considerably over the past few years.

“It’s changed a lot. You’ve got reliable cars. Obviously they do break down from time to time but, like I said, it’s flat out. You’ve got to be doing qualifying laps pretty much all the time – it’s that competitive. It’s makes it really enjoyable. Obviously it’s very tiring especially the Le Mans 24 Hours. We had a really bad race. We didn’t finish that one so we lost double points in that one so we had to climb and fight our way back all the way up to the end of the season where, luckily, we won.”

Calado was asked whether the rivalry with the sister car could have affected the outcome of the Championship.

“Between us as a team at Ferrari, we’ve got a great relationship,” said Calado. “There’s no rivalry like you get in Formula 1. We work together to get the best results possible. Ferrari won the manufacturers championship this year. We won the teams championship as well as the drivers title.”

“In Bahrain it was very close We had a good lead. We wanted to win but, to be honest, I just wanted to save the car so we just let the other car by. We crossed the line together so it was a very good year in general for Ferrari and we’re looking forward to this year’s battle again.”

Alessandro Pier Guide considered the Circuit of The Americas as the turning point for his and James Calado’s campaign.

“I think the best moment was Austin and it was the key to the championship.” Said Pier Guidi. “it was (the key to) winning the championship because after Le Mans we were down with the points then we had to recover. We won the race and we came back running for the title and that really was the key and the best moment of the season.”

 

 

“The whole year in general was obviously an amazing year but I think crossing the line in Bahrain to become world champions (was the best moment) – the emotion was surreal,” said James Calado. “Seeing all the guys in the team who worked so hard all year….. Obviously Alessandro as my new team-mate this year and we had a great year together so we’re really looking forward to this year’s WEC super season. We’re also joined up together at the Daytona 24 Hours at the end of this month.”

Calado is looking forward to the Rolex 24 at Daytna but does not under-estimate the challenge of the high banks of the International Speedway.

“It’s tough, especially coming off the banking because your right mirror’s completely blocked. You’re relying on your spotters and when you’re in in the night and it’s cold it’s really easy to make a mistake. It’s not as if you’re going slowly – you’re doing the just short of 200 miles an hour on those banks. So it’s tough. It’s quite a simple track. Obviously quite a lot of straight-line stuff. At the same time quite challenging with everyone so close. It comes down to the last hour normally where there’s a huge fight. Last year we were there and we’re looking forward to going back.”

Alessandro Pier Guidi once to win the FIA WEC title again in 2018 but there is another challenge that he wants to take overcome – Le Mans.

“Yes for sure, we are fighting again for the title but we’re looking to get a better result at Le Mans,” said Pier Guidi. “We will have two times to fight this year because in the WEC super season there are two 24 hours of Le Mans. It’s a great race and I would like to be at least on the podium. So let’s see for next year. We are in a good team – the world champion team. The world champion manufacturer and we will try to be here again next year but I know many things in the WEC will be more difficult so let’s try again.”

The 2018 FIA World Endurance Championship opens at Spa-Francorchamps on May 5.

Ginetta’s LMP1 Challenger Launched At Autosport Live (11.01.18)

Garforth, Leeds-based Ginetta Cars has launched its new-for-2018 LMP1 car, the G60-LT-P1 in front of a packed crowd at the 2018 Autosport Live at the National Exhibition Centre, Birmingham, England.

Ginetta Chairman Lawrence Tomlinson was on hand to present the new car, of which the company intends to produce ten chassis.

Also present to introduce the new challenger in the premier class of prototype racing was Ginetta Technical Director Ewan Baldry, Manor Endurance Racing Sporting Director Graeme Lowdon, Chairman of TRS, Zhang Yi and Vice President of TRS, Li Qiao.

Lawrence Tomlinson was delighted to present the car, which was first announced twelve months ago.

“I’m delighted to finally be able to unveil our latest machine to the motorsport industry, and what better time than at the start of our 60th year of manufacturing,” said Tomlinson. “Ginetta has a long history of international success with the G55 GT4, LMP3 and G57. The LMP1 will be a strong contender in the FIA World Endurance Championship and at Le Mans. We have a great team of design engineers in Leeds, have worked with some excellent partners on the project and can’t wait to show you what the LMP1 is made of out on track.”

When asked what his objectives were for the new car, Tomlinson was clear that he wanted to see the G55-LT-P1 win at the world’s greatest motor race, the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

“We want to win at Le Mans and we want an outright victory in the WEC” said Tomlinson.

Ginetta has set an objective of producing ten chassis to support three two-car teams and expects to be straight-line testing the G60-LT-P1 within the next three weeks. The car has been designed to utilise the Mechachrome engine although the chassis can be adapted for other powerplants.

Maxime Martin To Join Aston Martin Racing For 2018 WEC Super Season (19.12.17)

Photo: astonmartin.com

31 year-old Belgian Maxime Martin is to join Aston Martin Racing for the 2018/19 FIA World Endurance Championship ‘Super Season’.

Martin started in GT racing in the Megane Trophy and Clio Cup France in 2008 and has been a BMW factory driver since 2013, finishing eighth in the 2017 DTM Championship with BMW Team RBM.

“We’ve had an eye on Maxime for several years now, so we are delighted to welcome him to Aston Martin Racing,” said Aston Martin Racing Team Principal Paul Howarth. “He is an exceptionally talented GT driver and now he is the perfect addition to our high-calibre driver line-up.”

Martin is delighted at the opportunity to join Aston Martin Racing.

“I’m extremely excited to join Aston Martin Racing for the WEC Super Season.” said Martin. “I have driven other Aston Martin Racing cars in the past and have been in contact with the team for the past few years, but I am quite honoured to take the next step with this great manufacturer.”

“It’s a new challenge for me and also a big change, but I feel this is the right moment to make this move, especially with the race debut of the new Vantage GTE. I have competed at Le Mans three times before, but to come back again next year as an official Aston Martin Racing driver is an amazing feeling. I very much hope we can look forward to a lot of success together.”

The 2018 FIA World Endurance Championship opens with the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps on May 5.

Rebellion Racing Announces Two-Car Assault On FIA World Endurance Championship LMP1 Title (14.12.17)

Photo: rebellion-racing.com

Swiss-based REBELLION Racing, 2017 European Le Mans Series LMP2 champions, has announced a return to the premier class of world endurance racing with a two-car assault on the 2018 FIA World Endurance Championship.

Bruno Senna and Mathias Beche will be joined Neel Jani and André Lotterer. Ex-Porsche LMP1 Team drivers, Jani and Lotterer finished joining fourth in the 2017 LMP FIA World Endurance Drivers Championship.

Gustavo Menezes and Thomas Laurent will complete the driver line-up for REBELLION Racing for the 2018/19 Super Season with the new-season cars being unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March.

“I am very happy to be in LMP1 with REBELLION RACING for the 2018-2019 FIA WEC Super Season,” said Bruno Senna. “The many changes in the rules will be a huge challenge, but we have drivers and a quality team to deal with them. We will push very hard for these crucial Le Mans wins!”

For Neel Jani, joining REBELLION Racing is like coming home, the 34-year-old Swiss driver having raced for the team in the 2013 FIA WEC and American Le Mans Series.

“I am looking forward to coming back where my endurance racing career started nine years ago,” said Jani. “REBELLION Racing played a huge role in my career and also helped me become a factory driver for Porsche. When Porsche stopped in LMP1, it was clear to me that I wanted to race again for REBELLION. With the new regulations, I hope we can reach the overall podium at Le Mans and, with a bit of luck maybe we can even grab some wins during the super season of WEC.”

FIA WMSC Approves Evolution To World Endurance Championship (07.12.17)

Photo: fiawec.com

Ahead of the transitional 2018/18 FIA World Endurance Championship, the FIA World Motor Sport Council has approved changes to the regulations.

The primary change is that the LMP1 title will now be awarded to a team and not a manufacturer. This is in response to the launch of the privateer LMP1 class in 2018. Additionally, only the highest-placed car within a team will score points towards the teams’ classification. Commentators have pointed out that this is a move designed to encourage multi-car teams.

The three priorities that the ACO has set for the World Endurance Championship are to encourage more manufacturers and private teams, control budgets and maintain a cutting-edge approach to technology. Manufacturers are encouraged to supply non-hybrid engines to private teams and there is a possibility that a manufacturer could enter a non-non-hybrid car under a branding deal with a partner.

Continue reading FIA WMSC Approves Evolution To World Endurance Championship (07.12.17)

Aston Martin Racing Launches New Vantage GTE (22.11.17)

Photo: Aston Martin Racing

Aston Martin Racing has launched the new Vantage GTE, the successor to the team’s most successful competition car of all-time, the V8 Vantage GTE.

The design project was led by Technical Director Dan Sayers, who had led the design and development of the previous V8 Vantage GTE.

The new-for-2018 Aston Martin Vantage GTE has undergone a rigorous test programme which included more than 13,000 kms of track running in addition to a successful 30 hour endurance run at Navarra in Spain.

Aston Martin Racing has worked with its new technical partners on the Vantage GTE project. Alcon has worked with the Gaydon-based manufacturer on braking systems, Öhlins for suspension and Michelin on the tyre programme.

Announced alongside the launch of the new Vantage GTE car was the driver line-up for the new season. Darren Turner and Jonny Adam, winners of the LMGTE Pro class at the 2017 24 Hours of Le Mans as well as Nicki Thiim and Marco Sørensen have been retained for the 2018-19 FIA World Endurance Championship ‘Super Season’. Also included in the driver line-up for 2018 is Alex Lynn, current Formula E driver and ex-GP2 race winner. Further driver announcements will be made shortly.

Aston Martin Racing Technical Director Dan Sayers was excited at the launch of the new Vantage GTE.

“Designing and developing this new car has been an extremely satisfying process,” said Dan Sayers. “We’ve collaborated closely with Aston Martin’s Gaydon headquarters to develop the road and race cars in parallel. Attention to detail has been a priority at every step of the design process and we’ve made big improvements in each area of the car.”

We’ve spent every second optimising the design right until the build of our test car, which has paid dividends during out current testing schedule. This project has been one of the most intensive but also rewarding of my career so far.”

“It’s terrific to be involved in this exciting new chapter for Aston Martin Racing,” said Managing Director John Gaw. “The increasingly tough competition in the GTE class and the prospect of two visits to Le Mans and a return to Sebring within the 2018/19 super-season is thoroughly tantalising. To conduct the development process of this car so closely with Aston Martin’s design and engineering teams was essential for both road and race car to retain the same underlying DNA. We believe the Vantage GTE will bring further success world-wide to Aston Martin Racing in the coming years.”

The opening round of the 2018-109 FIA World Endurance Championship takes place at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on May 5 2018.