Category Archives: FIA World Endurance Championship

FIA WEC Returns To Texas For Round 6 (14.09.17)

Photo: www.fiawec.com

Following the far-reaching announcements concerning the future of the FIA World Endurance Championship made at the fifth round of the 2017 championship from Mexico, the WEC returns to the Circuit of the America for the sixth round of the last traditional summer season for the premier global endurance racing championship.

26 cars will take to the grid for the 6 Hours of Circuit of the Americas – four in the LMP1 class, nine in the LMP2 category, eight in the LM GTE class and five entries in the LM GTE Am category.

There are three driver changes from the entry list for Round Five. Stéphane Sarrazin replaces Anthony Davison in the #8 Toyota Gazoo Racing TS050 Hybrid.

In the LMP2 class Benjamin Hanley replaces Jonathan Hirschi in the #24 CEFC Manor TRS Racing ORECA 07. In the #36 Signatech Alpine Matmut Alpine A470, André Negrão replaces Matt Rao.

After announcing its departure from the FIA World Endurance Championship, Porsche leads the Manufacturers Championship on 198 points, 56.5 points ahead of Toyota.

In LMP2, the #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA 07 driven by Ho-Pin Tung, Oliver Jarvis and Thomas Laurent leads the LMP2 FIA World Endurance Teams Trophy on 118 points, 23 points ahead of nearest rivals, the #31 Vaillante Rebellion, piloted by Julien Canal, Nicolas Prost and Bruno Senna. 19 points back, in third place, is the #36 Signatech Alpine Matmut with the driver line-up of Nicolas Lapierre, Gustavo Menezes and André Negrão.

COTA2 a.a. 17.09.14

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Competition for the GT Pro FIA World Endurance Team Trophy is even closer than that in LMP2. Three manufacturers hold the podium spots going into the sixth round with the #67 Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK Ford GT with the driver line-up of Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell leading the table on 96 points, just eight points ahead of the #91 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR of Richard Lietz and Frederic Makowiecki. Five points behind, in third place, is the #71 AF Corse Ferrari F488 GTE driven by Davide Rigon and Sam Bird.

Three manufacturers are also fighting it out for domination of the LMGTE Am standings with the #77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR (991) of Christian Ried, Matteo Cairoli and Marvin Dienst heading the table on 120 points, eight ahead of the #61 Clearwater Racing Ferrari F488 GTE of Weng Sun Mok, Keita Sawa and Matt Griffin. Aston Martin is in third place with the #98 Aston Martin Racing Vantage of Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda on 110 points.

The two twenty-minute qualifying sessions get underway at 15:05 local time on Friday September 15 with the lights going out for the start of the six-hour race at 11:56 on Saturday September 16.

The race can be followed via the FIA WEC app with live timing available at www.fiawec.com.

As the 2017 season approaches its eastern swing and we head the 2018-19 ‘Super Season’, this will be the last visit to the Circuit of the Americas for the foreseeable future. The proposed IMSA/WEC double-header at Sebring in March 2019 will be the next occasion that World Championship cars race in the US. The 6 Hours of Circuit of the Americas promises to be a race to remember for many seasons to come.

Porsche LMP Team Score 1 – 2 At Nürburgring 16.07.17)

Photo: FIAWEC.com

Porsche LMP team took a 1 – 2 at the fourth round of the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship after the #2 Porsche 919 Hybrid, piloted by Timo Bernhard, Earl Bamber and Brendon Hartley took the chequered flag 1.606 seconds ahead of the #1 919 Hybrid with the driver line-up of Neel Jani, André Lotterer and Nick Tandy.

Taking the final podium position in the premier class was the #7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050 – Hybrid, driven by Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez.

The win for the #2 entry gives Hartley, Bamber and Bernhard a 30-point lead in the 2017 LMP FIA World Endurance Drivers Championship, ahead of the crew of the #8 Toyota TS050-Hybrid, Buemi, Davidson and Nakajima, currently on 78 points.

Following their win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and at the Nürburgring, the drivers of the #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA 07, Ho-Pin Tung, Oliver Jarvis and Thomas Laurent, sit third in the overall Drivers Championship, ahead of Neel Jani, Nick Tandy and Andre Lotterer, the drivers of the #1 car.

Jackie Chan DC Racing again dominated the LMP2 field with a convincing victory for the ‘Mighty’ #38 ORECA 07, driven by Ho-Pin Tung, Oliver Jarvis and Thomas Laurent. Second in the LMP2 class was the #31 Vaillante Rebellion ORECA 07, piloted by Julien Canal, Bruno Senna and Filipe Albuquerque.

Third in class at the chequered flag was the #36 Signatech Alpine Matmut Alpine A470, driven by Nicolas Lapierre, Gustavo Menezes and Matt Rao.

The drivers of the #38 Jackie Chan DD Racing ORECA 07 now have a 46-point lead in the 2017 LMP2 FIA World Endurance Championship with Tung, Jarvis and Laurent on 116 points. Their closest rivals, Bruno Senna and Julien Canal, by contrast, are on 70 points.

The LMGTE Pro category was won by the #51 AFD Corse Ferrari F488 GTE with the piloting line-up of James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi. Second in the LM GTE Pro class was the #91 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR driven by Richard Lietz and Frédéric Makowiecki.

Third across the line in class was the sister Estre / Christensen #92 Porsche 911 RSR.

After the fourth round, Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell lead the GT FIA World Endurance Drivers Championship on 84 points, 10 points ahead of Pipo Derani on 74 points and 11 ahead of Makowiecki and Lietz on 73.

The #77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR (991) of Christian Ried, Matteo Cairoli and Marvin Dienst won the LM GTE Am category, 4.607 seconds ahead of the #54 Spirit of Race Ferrari F488 GTE driven by Thomas Flohr, Francesco Castellacci and Miguel Molina.

The race for the 2017 GT AM FIA World Endurance Championship Drivers Trophy could not be closer with six drivers all on 88 points. Ried, Dienst, Cairoli, Sawa, Griffin and Mok lead Lauda, Dalla Lana and Lamy by just two points.

Round Five of the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship, the 6 Hours of Mexico, takes place on September 2 and 3.

PERRINN Announces First Orders For New LMP1 Chassis (18.05.17)

Photo: PERRINN.com

British motorsports engineering company PERRINN has announced that it has received the first order for its new LMP1 car. Designer Nicholas Perrinn expects to see the new car competing in the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2018.

Nicholas Perrin believes that, with the stability of regulations in the class, more teams will be attracted to the category.

“Increased support and stability from the FIA and ACO, coupled with programmes from other manufacturers, has meant we’ve had a lot of discussions with teams seeking more freedom from the new LMP2 category,” explained Nicholas Perrinn.

“LMP1 offers a route to progress from an engineering and pace point of view,” he continued. “In just a few short months, the programme has progressed very quickly to the point we’ll have two cars plus enough spares to build another car within six months. We have ensured we have capacity to do more should some of our other discussions develop.”

The name of the buyer has not been disclosed but PERRINN has said it is a European race team who has committed to buy two cars.

PERRINN is committed to ensuring the design will be ‘open source’.

“I am using open source as a way to focus resources and talents around our project,” said Perrinn. “I want PERRINN to achieve success at Le Mans by becoming a much bigger organisation that it can be if we limit ourselves to a centralised closed company.”

The, as yet unnamed, car, images of which were released today, will be revealed in late November with testing to start before the end of the year.

Toyota Gazoo Racing Adjusts Driver Line-Up Ahead Of 24 Hours of Le Mans (17.05.17)

Photo: FIAWEC.com

Toyota Gazoo Racing has announced an adjustment to its driver line-up for the 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 17 – 18.

The #7 Toyota TS050-Hybrid will now be driven by Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Stéphane Sarrazin for the French classic. The line-up for the #8 entry remains unchanged with Sébastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima sharing the driving duites.

Jose Maria Lopez, who was injured in an incident at the opening round of the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship at Silverstone and did not take part in the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, will now join Nicolas Lapierre and Yuji Kunimoto in the #9 entry.

Toshio Sato, Toyota Gazoo Racing Team President, explained the decision:

“Our circumstances have changed over the last few weeks as a result of the injury to José Maria. He is in the unfortunate position of having completed very few racing laps this year in WEC, so we all felt it was appropriate to adjust the driver line-up.”

“I am very confident that Stéphane will fit well into a #7 line-up that can fight for the win,” continued Toshio Sato. “José Maria, like Yuji, will learn a lot at Le Mans this year, familiarising himself with the track and the event in general, and this is an important step for the future as well.”

The 2017 running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans takes place on June 17 – 18.

Toyota Gazoo Racing Finish 1 -2 In Round 2 Of FIA World Endurance Championship At Spa-Francorchamps (07.05.17)

Photo: FIAWEC.com

Toyota Gazoo Racing Finish 1 -2 In Round 2 Of FIA World Endurance Championship At Spa-Francorchamps (07.05.17)

Toyota Gazoo Racing finished 1 – 2 at the end of a fascinating second round of the FIA World Endurance Championship from Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps.

The #8 Toyota TS050-Hybrid with Sébastien Buemi at the wheel crossed the line less than two seconds ahead of the sister #7 TS050 in which Kamui Kobayashi had driven the stint of his career in an attempt to snatch the lead of the race in the closing laps.

The result was Toyota’s first 1 -2 since the 6 Hours of Shanghai in 2014.

Taking the final step of the podium was the #2 Porsche LMP Team 919 Hybrid in which Brenda Hartley took the final stint. The #2 Porsche 919 Hybrid was leading the race in the closing stages until a last-minute splash-and-dash relegated it to third place.

G-Drive Racing, with its #26 Gibson-powered ORECA 07 driven by Roman Rusinov, Pierre Thiriet and Alex Lynn took the victory in the LMP2 class with the #31 Vaillante Rebellion ORECA, with the driver line-up of Julien Canal, Nicolas Prost and Bruno Senna, finishing in second place.

Third in the LMP2 class was the ‘Mighty’ #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing OECA 07 driven by Ho-Pin Tung, Oliver Jarvis and Thomas Laurent.

LMP1:

Pole-sitter André Lotterer in the #1 Porsche 919 Hybrid held the lead from the start but was overtaken by Mike Conway in the #7 Toyota with less than 30 minutes run. The Porsches appeared to have an issue with grip as the #8 Toyota, with Sébastien Buemi at the wheel, moved through into second place. By the end of the first hour the #7 and #8 cars were leading the LMP1 class.

Porsche LMP1 team pushed on in the second hour with Nick Tandy at the wheel of the #1 entry taking second place from the #8 Toyota after a driver change which saw Anthony Davidson swap with Buemi behind the wheel of the #8.

By the end of the third hour the #7 Toyota Gazoo Racing entry, now with Kamui Kobayshi behind the wheel, held a 25-second lead over Anthony Davidson in the #8 entry. Tyre strategies were now becoming critical for Porsche but, as temperatures began to cool, the Porsches seemed to be getting back in to the race. Neel Jani in the #1 Porsche held third place, ahead of the #2 sister car with Timo Bernhard behind the wheel.

It was during the fourth hour that Kazuki Nakajima in the #8 Toyota was able to take the lead after the #7 fell behind during a brief Full Course Yellow. However Mike Conway in the #7 entry was not about to give up and pushed hard to reduce the gap to the leader to just 3.3 seconds at the end of the hour.

As the race drew to a close the #2 Porsche 919 Hybrid, for the final stint driven by Brendon Hartley, tangled with Romain Dumas in the #36 Signatech Alpine Matmut Alpine A470 on the entry into the Bus Stop Chicane. Both cars were damaged, and indeed Hartley was summoned to see the stewards at the end of the race, but it was the #1 Porsche that needed to stop for a new nose, costing the team any chance of competing for the win.

As the race approached the end the #7 car with Kobayashi at the wheel made a final charge and it looked to have the pace to challenge for the lead but traffic gave the winning #8 a slight advantage and the eventual victory.

#26 GDR a.a. 17.05.06

Photo: FIAWEC.com

LMP2:

Roman Rusinov in the #26 G-Drive Racing ORECA 07 led the LMP2 field until a slow pit-stop allowed the #31 Vaillante Racing entry with Bruno Senna at the wheel to close the gap and eventually find an opportunity to take the class lead at the one-hour mark.

The #31 entry held the class lead but was put under pressure by Alex Brundle in the #37 Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA 07. Alex Lynn, however, in the #26 G-Drive Racing entry was on a charge and took second place in class just before the end of the second hour and pushed on to close up on class-leading Julien Canal in the #31 Vaillante Rebellion car.

The #26 entry regained the lead and Pierre Thiriet, now at the wheel, was put under pressure from Bruno Senna in the #31 car as the race approached the fourth hour. Prost in the #31 entry took the lead with bold move on the #26 car at La Source. However a penalty given to the #31 car for contact with a Ford GT gave the #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA the chance to catch up with the leading pair.

As the race approached the 6–hour mark an issue for the #31 Vallainte Rebellion entry meant that victory went to the #26 G-Drive Racing entry, converting pole-position to the eventual top step of the podium.

DR-SB a.a. 17.05.06

Photo: FIAWEC.com

LMGTE Pro:

The 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps saw a dominant performance from the AF Corse Ferrari F488 GTEs which must cause concern to the Ford Chip Ganassi Team as it approaches the 24 Hours of Le Mans, a race which it won convincingly in 2016.

David Rigon, in the #71 AF Corse entry, took the lead in the first hour, despite being under significant pressure from the Ford GTs. The class battle was extremely close with James Calado in the #51 AF Corse entry seizing an opportunity to pass both the Ford GTs at Les Combes. Tincknell re-passed however and set about closing in on the leading #51 entry.

The class battle was not just between the marques though. The inter-team fight between the AF Corse entries saw the #51 Ferrari F488 GTE with Alessandro Pier Guidi at the wheel collide with Sam Bird in the #71 car at one stage. As the race went into its fourth hour it was clear that, barring issues, AF Corse had the advantage but with just 2.5 seconds between them at the fourth hour, which would be the eventual winner was more difficult to predict.

At the finish it was the #71 car with Sam Bird at the wheel that took the chequered flag for the class, followed by the #51 car.

LMGTE Am:

The LMGTE Am class was won convincingly by the #98 Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage with the driver line-up of Pail Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda. This was the team third consecutive victory at the Belgian circuit, having won there in 2015 and 2016.

The eventual winning positions had been established by the end of the second hour, second place in class being taken by the #77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR piloted by Christian Reid, Matteo Cairoli and Marvin Dienst.

Taking the final podium step in class was the #61 Clearwater Racing Ferrari F488 GTE, driven by Weng Sun Mok, Keita Sawa and Matthew Griffin.

The next round of the 2017 FI World Endurance Championship will be the 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 17 / 18.

FIA World Endurance Championship – 6 Hours Of Spa-Francorchamps – Preview (04.05.17)

Photo: FIAWEC.com

After a thrilling opening to the 2017 season at Silverstone, the FIA Word Endurance Championship moves to its traditional pre-Le Mans round with the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps.

After victory in the opening round, Toyota Gazoo Racing has entered three cars for Spa-Francorchamps. The third entry, the #9 Toyota TS050-Hybrid, will be piloted by Stéphane Sarazin, Yuji Kunimoto and Nicolas Lapierre.

In the #7 Toyota Gazoo Racing entry, doubt remains over the ability of Jose Maria Lopez to drive after his heavy impact at Silverstone. At the time of writing, no decision had been made as to how the team might proceed if Lopez is unfit.

In the LMP2 field, Signatech Alpine Matmut has entered a second car for Spa-Francorchamps. The #35 Alpine A470 will be driven by Pierre Ragues, André Negrão and Nelson Pantiatici. Romain Dumas is deputising for Nicolas Lapierre in the #36 Signatech entry, driving alongside Gustavo Menezes and Matt Rao.

New to the entry list for Spq-Francorchamps is the #34 Tockwith Motorsports Ligier JSP 217. Regular drivers for the York-based team, Nigel Moore and Philip Hanson, will be joined in Belgium by Karun Chandhok.

Matthieu Vaxivière, injured in a training accident, will be substituted in the #28 TDS Racing ORECA 07 for Spa by Ben Hanley, full-season driver with DragonSpeed in the European Le Mans Series.

The GTE classes see no changes to the entry list that contested the 6 Hours of Silverstone entry list.

With three different manufacturers on the podium in Round 1 at Silverstone, 2017 looks to be a highly competitive in the premier LMGTE Pro category. Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK will go to Spa full of confidence after victory in the UK. However the #66 crew will feel they have something to prove after a disappointing end to the race at Silverstone and an eventual fourth place.

With the race on Saturday May 6, qualifying for the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps takes place on Friday May 5 with the 25-minutes qualifying session for the LMGTE pro and Am classes starting at 14:50 local time and the two prototype categories qualifying at 15:25.

The lights go out for the start of the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps at 14:30 local time on Saturday May 6.