With quite a few manufacturers looking like they are seriously interested (which I'll get on to in a moment) as well as some interesting new programmes being announced, I feel as though this new, exciting championship deserves a thread here.
From what we know so far, the calendar will consist of about 7 rounds.
- 3 in Europe (Le Mans 24 hours and two others. Possible Silverstone and Spa)
- 2 in America (Sebring and ?)
- 2 in Asia (Shanghai and Fuji/Suzuka?)
Manufacturers’ Endurance World Champion
Drivers’ Endurance World Champion
GTE Pro World Cup
FIA LM P2 Trophy
FIA GTE Am Trophy
FIA Trophy for the best private team (open to all categories)
As for TV deals etc?
As for manufacturers interested? Well, it looks as if it will be Audi and Pegeot will be there, however, these tweets from Endurance Sportscars suggests differently:
Possible suggestion that one/both will be rebadged as something else then?
Corvette Racing meanwhile, looks to be working on a deal to do WEC in GT Pro next year.
As for new manufacturers coming into the sport, this is where it gets really interesting. Already, there have been strong rumours of Toyota returning.
The Japanese manufacturer commissioned the machine, which is known to incorporate hybrid technology and comply with the 2011 prototype technical regulations, from racing car constructor Dome.
When asked about the possibility of Toyota returning to top-line prototype racing, Vincent Beaumesnil, sporting manager of Le Mans organiser the Automobile Club de l'Ouest, said: "We are in contact with many manufacturers who are interested in LMP1, not just Toyota."
Toyota last competed at Le Mans as a full manufacturer in 1999, but supplied engines to the Rebellion LMP1 squad on a customer basis this year.
Elsewhere, there have been rumours of Mazda investigating a diesel sportscar programme as well as a Dempsey Racing P2 effort, whilst Nissan are also reportedly interested, collaborating with Oreca to build a new P1 car, and even suggestions about BMW possibly making a diesel P1 car too, despite Mario Theissen previously stating that most BMW's budget would go towards DTM.
Meanwhile, Lotus' P2 car should appear towards the back end of '12, whilst there's suggestions the garage 56 cars (Deltawing and Yves Courage's Green GT) could race in WEC rounds too.
It is always easy to be sucked into early rumours and speculation about who may be doing what, and then to end up disappointed if some rumours don't come to life. But the World Endurance Championship is certainly one form of racing you'll have to keep an eye on in 2012 and in the future.
Edited by JHS, 18 June 2011 - 01:32 PM.