Tag Archives: FIA World Endurance Championship

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.

Toyota Gazoo Racing Wins Thrilling FIA WEC 6 Hours Of Silverstone (16.04.17)

The #8 Toyota Gazoo Racing TS050 – Hybrid driven by Sébastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima won the opening round of the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship in a race which saw changing weather conditions and drama throughout the entire race.

Winning TS050 a.a. 17.04.16

Photo: FIA World Endurance Championship

Second in the LMP1 class was the #2 Porsche LMP Team 919 Hybrid piloted by Timo Bernhard, Earl Bamber and Brendon Hartley. Taking the final step of the podium was the sister Porsche, the #1 919 Hybrid with the driving line-up of Neel Jani, André Lotterer and Nick Tandy.

The LMP2 class was won by the #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing Jota Sport ORECA 07 driven by Ho-Pin Tung, Oliver Jarvis and Thomas Laurent. The Vaillante Rebellion #13 ORECA 07 was second, the car driven by Mathias Beche, David Heinemeier Hansson and Nelson Piquet Jr. Third in class was the #28 TDS Racing ORECA 07 piloted by François Perodo, Matthieu Vaxivière and Emmanuel Collard.

The LMGTE Pro battle was won by the #67 Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK Ford GT with Andy Priaulx, Harry Tincknell and Luis Felipe ‘Pipo’ Derani driving.

The LMHTE Am class was won by the #61 Clearwater Racing Ferrari F488 GTE driven by Weng Sun Mok, Keita Sawa and Griffin.

In a race that tested the strategic planning of all teams with a mix of wet and dry running saw the eventual race winner take the lead with just twelve minutes to go when Buemi in the #8 Toyota TS050 , with more grip on newer tyres, passed Brendon Harley in the #2 Porsche 919 Hybrid. Porsche had already announced prior to the race that it was running a low-downforce aero kit in preparation for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The sister Toyota, the #7 TSO050, went off at Copse with José Maria Lopez at the wheel. The Argentinian, the current World Touring Car Champion, managed to get the car back to the garage but due to the severity of the impact, the driver was taken to the medical centre for a check-up and was eventually transferred to the local hospital.

LMP2, which entered 2017 with new-look, more powerful cars, estimated at being 4 seconds a lap quicker round the Northamptonshire circuit that the previous generation, saw Jackie Chan DC Racing become the first Chinese-entered team to win at World Endurance Championship level.

#38 a.a. 17.04.16

Photo: FIA World Endurance Championship

The #38 car, retaining the number from the Jota Sport’s 2014 Le Mans-winning and 2016 European Le Mans Series-winning entries, had the piloting line-up of Ho-Pin Tung, Oliver Jarvis and Thomas Laurent, combining youth with significant experience.

Once the field was bunched for the safety-car after the crash of the #7 Toyota, the race was effectively on again and Jarvis was able to lead the field at the line by almost 20 seconds over the #31 Vaillante Rebellion ORECA 07.

In LMGTE pro the #67 Ford Chip Ganassi team UK Ford GT piloted by Andy Priaulx, Harry Tincknell and Pip Derani took the win but it was not a faultless run to the flag, as events in the first hour showed. The pole-sitting #67 car had to stop early to correct a front tyre pressure issue which left it out of sequence. However the hugely-experienced driver line-up drive faultlessly from there on to take charge and the chequered flag.

Ford GTs a.a. 17.04.16

Photo: FIA World Endurance Championship

The second placed AF Corse #51 Ferrari F488 GTE drove a good raced but could nt match the pace and consistency of the Ford GT.

The LMGTE Am class enjoyed some close racing with the winning #61 Clearwater Racing Ferrari F499 GTE, with Matt Griffin at the wheel, take the lead but a late stop for fuel relegated the Irish driver to third. The leading #98 Aston Martin Martin Racing Vantage with Pedro Lamy at the wheel tangled with the second placed Miguel Molina’s #54 Spirit of race Ferrari, pitching the #54 car off the track. Griffin saw his opportunity and took the class lead for the win.

Overall, the race was hugely exciting and enjoyable and bodes well for the rest of the 2017 Championship, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The second round of the FIA World Endurance Championship, the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps takes place on May 4 – 6.

Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK / Toyota Gazoo Racing Take Poles For FIA World Endurance Championship Season-Opener (15.04.17)

Photo Above: Roger Jenkins

Toyota Gazoo Racing drew first blood of the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship by taking pole position for the 6 ours of Silverstone in a session that saw lap-times by both drivers in both cars for Porsche and Toyota beat the current record lap-times set in 2015.

Starting the 6 Hours of Silverstone at the front of the grid will be the #7 Toyota Gazoo Racing TS050 – Hybrid after Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi put in lap-times of 1:37.816 and 1:36.793 respectively to average 1:37.304, less the a third of as second quicker than the #8 Toyota TS050-Hybrid, qualified by Kazuki Nakajima.

Third on the grid for the 6 Hours of Silverstone will be the #1 Porsche LM Team 919 Hybrid in which Nick Tandy and Neel Jani averaged a 1:38.615.

In the LMP2 class pole position was taken by the 2016 class champions G-Drive Racing, this year being run by Thiriet, with its ORECA 07 with Pierre Thiriet and Alex Lynn on qualifying duty. With an average a 1:44.387, it confirmed the pace of the new-look class for 2017.

Second on the grid will be the #36 Signatech Alpine Matmut Alpine 470 in which Nicolas Lapierre and Matt Rao averaged a lap-time of 1:44.433.

Qualifying in third was the #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA 07, driven by Thomas Laurent and Oliver Jarvis for the session, which averaged 1:44.591

Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK took the first LMGTE Pro pole of the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship season after Andy Priaulx lapped Silverstone in 1:55.858, 3 tenths of a second faster than his team-mate Harry Tincknell who put in a 1:56.546 to give the #67 Ford GT an average of 1:56.202.

Second on the grid for the 6 Hours of Silverstone will be the #71 AF Corse Ferrari F488 GTE where Davide Rigon and Sam Bird averaged 1:57.011, one tenth of a second faster than the #85 Aston Martin Racing entry where Nicki Thiim and Marco SØrensen lapped in an average of 1:57.117.

LMGTE Am pole was taken by the #98 Aston Martin Racing entry where Paul Dalla Lana put in a 2:00.333, nearly two second a lap faster than his fellow AM drivers to give an average of 1:59.562.

Second on the grid in the LMGTE Am class for the opening round of the season will be the #54 Spirit of Race Ferrari F488 GTE where Thomas Flohr put in a 2:02.121 to give an average of 2:00.608.

The lights go out for the 6 Hours of Silverstone at 12:00 on Sunday April 16.

FIA World Endurance Championship Prologue – Toyota Gazoo Racing Quickest (05.04.17)

Photo: John Rourke John Rourke/AdrenalMedia.com

The season-opening Prologue to the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship took place over the weekend of April 1 – 2 at Autodromo Nazionale Monza.

27 of the full-season 28 entries were present on the grid for five test sessions, spread over the two days. Three were held on Saturday April 1, including a night session, with two on Sunday.

Mixed weather conditions allowed teams to test both dry and wet set-ups as the Saturday evening and Sunday sessions were all rated officially wet sessions.

In the premier LMP1 class it was the #8 Toyota Gazoo Racing TS050 – Hybrid which topped the weekend’s time-sheets after Nicolas Lapierre, driving alongside Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima, put in 1:30.547 in the afternoon of the second day. The new-for-2017 Toyota TS050 – Hybrid is clearly very competitive as Davidson put in the second quickest time of the weekend, also on Sunday afternoon, when he lapped the Italian circuit in 1:30.809 on the his 11th lap out of 23.

#8 TOYOTA GAZOO RACING / JPN / Toyota TS050 - Hybrid - Hybrid / Anthony Davidson (GBR) / Kazuki Nakajima (JPN) / Nicolas Lapierre (FRA) - Prologue Monza - Autodromo Nationale Monza - Monza - Italia
#8 TOYOTA GAZOO RACING / JPN / Toyota TS050 – Hybrid – Hybrid / Anthony Davidson (GBR) / Kazuki Nakajima (JPN) / Nicolas Lapierre (FRA) – Prologue Monza – Autodromo Nationale Monza – Monza – Italia

In LMP2 Matthieu Vaxivière, in the #28 TDS Racing Gibson-powered ORECA 07, finished the weekend quickest in class with a 1:36.078 which he put in on the Sunday morning. Bruno Senna, in the #31 Vaillante Rebellion ORECA 07 was less than two-hundredths of a second slower with a 1:36.094 which the Brazilian driver had clocked on the first session of the weekend.

Less than half a second covered the top five in the LMP2 class which suggests that racing in the new chassis with Gibson powerplants will be highly competitive in 2017.

Porsche GT Team must be very satisfied with its performance over the weekend. Michael Christensen was quickest in the LMGTE Pro category in the #92 Porsche 911 RSR with a 1:47.379 set on the first Saturday session, closely followed by his driving partner, Kevin Estre who set a 1:47.507 on the Sunday morning.

The #91 Porsche GT Team 911 RSR was the second quickest LMGTE Pro car with a 1:47.515 set by Fred Makowiecki on the first session of the second day.

Ford Chip Ganassi team UK were third quickest but maybe have not yet shown all the speed in the Ford GT. Harry Tincknell set a 1:47.530 on Sunday afternoon to finish third quickest in class.

Sprit of Race were quickest in LMGTE Am with the #54 Ferrari F488 GTE lapping in 1:49.843 in the hands of Miguel Molina on Sunday morning. Porsche must again be happy with its performance in the LMGTE ranks with the #86 Gulf Racing UK Porsche 911 RSR (991) lapping in 1:50.010 with Benjamin Barker at the wheel on the first session of the second day.

The scene is now set for the first round of 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship, the 6 Hours of Silverstone on April 16.

Jackie Chan DC Racing / Jota Sport Announces Drivers For 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship. (06.03.17)

Following the announcement in early February that Jackie Chan DC Racing was joining forces with Kent-based Jota Sport for a two-car assault on the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship, the driver line-ups for the two entries has now been revealed.

In the #37 ORECA 07 LMP2 entry, and driving alongside team co-founder David Cheng will be Alex Brundle and Tristan Gommendy.

In the #38 entry Briton Oliver Jarvis and 18-year-old Frenchman Thomas Laurent will be joining David Cheng’s compatriot, Ho-Pin Tung.

Continue reading Jackie Chan DC Racing / Jota Sport Announces Drivers For 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship. (06.03.17)

Busy Month So Far For CEFC Manor TRS Racing (20.02.17)

Photo Credit Above: CEFC Manor TRS Racing

February has been a busy month for CEFC Manor TRS Racing as it announces new corporate alliances and also drivers for the forthcoming FIA World Endurance Championship season.

Having previously announced that it will campaign two Gibson-powered ORECA 07s in the LMP2 class of the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship, Manor has formed alliances with China CEFC Energy Company Ltd, ice-cream brand Baxi and Talent Racing Sports (TRS). As a result, in 2017 the team will be presented as CEFC Manor TRS Racing.

“We are really excited to be returning to the World Endurance Championship this year and we are particularly excited to be starting our long-term relationship with CEFC, TRS and Baxi,” said President and Sporting Director of Manor, Graeme Lowdon. “We learnt so much in our augural year in sports car racing and we are now looking forward to taking on a very competitive field in LMP2 for what will be our 28th year of racing.”

Joe Li, President of Talent Racing Sports is also excited about the opportunities that new partnership and season offer.

“It is a great honour to work with a legendary racing team like Manor,” said Li. “We believe the partnership will go beyond the LMP2 in WEC. We will introduce more Chinese brands to such a fantastic global racing series.”

Subsequent to the partnership announcement, CEFC Manor TRS Racing has announced three of its 2017 drivers.

Photo Credit: Roberto Gonzalez
Photo Credit: Roberto Gonzalez

Monterrey-based Roberto Gonzalez has returned to the team, having competed with Manor in the last two rounds of the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship.

“I am very excited to be joining CEFC Manor TRS Racing for the 2017 WEC season,” said Gonzalez. “After my brief participation with the team last year, I really felt at home. I am thankful for the opportunity with the team and I am feeling very motivated for the season ahead.”

Photo Credit: CEFC Manor TRS Racing
Photo Credit: CEFC Manor TRS Racing

Swiss driver Simon Trummer will also be joining CEFC Manor TRS Racing for 2017. Trummer contested the 2015 and 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship seasons as a member of By Kolles Racing Team in the LMP1 class. 2017 will be his first season in the ultra-competitive LMP2 class.

“I am very grateful to John Booth and Graeme Lowdon for their belief in me,” said Trummer. “This year a new era begins in LMP2 with new powerful cars that will be significantly quicker and therefore more challenging. To go for podiums in this competitive class is our target.”

The most recent driver announcement has been that of Jonathan Hirschi. The Swiss driver’s career stretches back to 2004 and Hirschi has extensive experience in the LMP2 class, having competed in the category on two previous occasions at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Photo Credit: CEFC Manor TRS Racing
Photo Credit: CEFC Manor TRS Racing

Jonathan Hirschi said: “I’m really happy to join CEFC Manor TRS Racing for WEC this season. After three seasons in ELMS I am really happy to be taking part in WEC and to return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans.”

The 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship opens with the 6 Hours of Silverstone on April 16.