The FIA World Endurance Championship is in a pretty consolidated position now, with interest from various teams around the world, as well from fans and media. Soon another season will start for the FIA WEC, and some changes within the 32 full season entries will be noticeable.
Huge shakeup in the GT classes
The LMGTE-Am class loses the champions from SMP Racing, as they will not return with its GT activities in order to concentrate their efforts in the BR01 prototype. Between the six cars that will be in the class, AF Corse, Larbre Competition and Abu Dhabi-Proton continue in the game unchanged in terms of car choice, while Aston Martin reduces its program to a single car, from the Canadian driver Paul Dalla Lana. The additions here are Gulf Racing with a Porsche 911 RSR and KCMG with the same car, and with Christian Ried nominated to their car, an affiliation with Proton Competition isn’t at all unthinkable.
The LMGTE-Pro will appear with a lot of changes as a new regulation pumps up the GTE performance, and new entries give a new face to the class. Porsche takes a year out with a factory team to focus in its new GTE car for 2017, so Dempsey-Proton steps up from LMGTE-Am to LMGTE-Pro. Along with that, there’s also the pair of brand-new Ford GTs from Chip Ganassi to bring an American touch to the class.
The traditional teams will as always be there, as AF Corse will still run two cars, which are now Ferrari 488s, and Aston Martin will try to recover itself from the horrible 2015 season with a revamped Vantage V8 and new Dunlop tires but with a program reduced to two cars. The arrival of Dunlop in both GTE classes brings the tire war to LMGTE-Pro for the first time in the FIA WEC history, while revives it in the LMGTE-Am, which happened only in 2012.
The same teams with some new ones in the prototypes
Between the LMP2 entries, the champions from G-Drive Racing will try to defend their title, now partnered with JOTA Sport, but now with a program reduced to a single ORECA 05 instead of the pair of Ligier JS P2 models. KCMG will not return after missing the title by detail, being the only absence of the LMP2s from last year. Tequila Patrón ESM and Strakka Racing remain with their packages unchanged.
The additions in the class are all pretty notable ones, as SMP Racing comes back to FIA WEC, now with their proven BR01 machine, while Alpine improves its game by forming a partnership with the Asian Le Mans Series LMP3 champions DC Racing, bringing a pair of Alpine A460 prototypes. Ricardo Gonzalez united forces with Benoit Morand to form RGR Sport by Morand, bringing a single Ligier JS P2, while the biggest surprise of the day was the confirmation of the Manor Motorsport team joining the LMP2 club with an ORECA 05, which is a completely different team of the one seen in Formula 1, of which they have no links with.
The top class of the field, LMP1, will have nine cars, spread into six factory cars and three privateers. Rebellion Racing and ByKolles Racing bring roughly the same package from 2015, while replacing the Michelin tires for Dunlop ones and another changes. The trio of manufacturer teams continues bringing a pair of cars each, but new and revamped models are expected from Toyota, Audi and Porsche.
The full FIA WEC entry list can be seen here with the respective nominated drivers. The season starts a day after the European Le Mans Series, on April 17th, at the same Silverstone Circuit.
PHOTOS - FIA WEC, Manor WEC