JHS

Fia/Aco World Endurance Championship

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One of the most exciting stories to come out of the week of Le Mans was the announcement of a tie up between the FIA and the ACO to run a World Endurance Championship in 2012 and beyond.

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?)

Points will be awarded into several different categories:

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?

With regards to television coverage it was made clear that the ACO will be the promotor and will be in charge of the TV rights. Henry-Biaubaud is looking at a TV deal “that will bring not only racing to the fans but also a good look behind the scenes.”

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:

Big (ish) changes to 'whose who' in #LMP1 next season - from what we've heard a major manufacturer rejig so to speak. #24hrs #LeMans
And we're not talking about Japanese Factory entries - this is European Factory entries #LeMans #24hrs.
As for the factory rumour, speculation etc as to who we heard last weekend would be coming into #LMP1 all we can say right now is this...
It will be a change - but technically - no change. Sorry we can't say anymore than that right now.

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.

Toyota has been testing an all-new LMP1 car since last year, and could return to the Le Mans 24 Hours as early as 2012, according to this week's AUTOSPORT magazine.

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.

2010_lotus_lmp2_render.jpg

DeltaWing-Racing-1.jpg

greength2lmp.jpg

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

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Haven't posted here in a while, I guess some updates are required.

The big news is that Porsche will be back in 2014 with a new LMP1 car. Still no indication as to whether the car will be open/closed and whether it will be run by Porsche completely, or someone like Penske. Last I heard was that penske had stated interest in running the car.

The big news from today is that Jaguar, with backing from Tata of course, are also interested in returning to Le Mans. An early mock-up suggests the car will be a coupe, but no time frame has yet been put on the project.

262130_10150308365415428_150473290427_9812379_4491200_n.jpg

Apparently there is more information about this story in this week's AUTOSPORT. I'll post more about it if/when I get it tomorrow.

Lastly, I'll end on this tweet from John Dagys:

Believe me, there's A LOT of manufacturers looking at entering WEC/Le Mans right now... Jag, Dodge, Toyota are just three.

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