Motorsport Week - WEC News Catch up on all WEC news, here at Motorsport Week RSS Feed! rolls out LMP1 prototype in anger at Leeds East AirportMon, 22 Jan 2018 15:40:50 GMT<p><strong>After the official unveiling of its&nbsp;G60-LT-P1 prototype last week, Ginetta has&nbsp;unleashed the car that privateer outfit TRS Manor will use in the 2018/19 FIA WEC Super Season.</strong></p> <p>The soaked tarmac of Leeds East Airport was the perfect stage for Ginetta Factory Driver Mike Simpson to make the 3.4 litre turbocharged Mecachrome engine of the latest LMP1 class contender roar. This first closed test served as an opportunity for the British manufacturer to showcase its&nbsp;first ever Le Mans top class machinery in front of their inhouse development team, representatives from their customer team TRS Manor and the whole world.</p> <p>Ewan Baldry, Ginetta&rsquo;s Technical Director, <a href=";utm_campaign=Video%20Ginetta%20G60-LT-P1%20Roll%20Out%20at%20Leeds%20East%20Airport&amp;utm_content=Video%20Ginetta%20G60-LT-P1%20Roll%20Out%20at%20Leeds%20East%20Airport+CID_ac32acfdbfcee29bc65dd12eaff769a0&amp;utm_source=Email%20marketing%20software">described the shakedown</a> as &ldquo;a proud moment for all of us&rdquo; and expressed his delight that the team can move on to the fine-tuning stages of development prior to the G60-LT-P1&rsquo;s first race, the 2018 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re very excited by what lies ahead for our customers,&rdquo; concluded Baldry.</p> <p><div class='video-container'><iframe allow="autoplay; encrypted-media" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"></iframe></div></p> Team Nederland signs Giedo Van der Garde for 2018-19 'super season'Fri, 19 Jan 2018 09:27:54 GMT<p>Racing Team Nederland has added Dutch ex-Formula 1 driver Giedo van der Garde to its 2018-19 World Endurance Championship entry.</p> <p>The 32-year-old&nbsp;will co-drive the team&#39;s&nbsp;Dallara P217-Gibson in the LMP2 category with team owner Frits van Eerd, and one other unconfirmed driver.</p> <p>Van der Garde, who made 19 Grand Prix starts with Caterham in 2013, won the 2016 European Le Mans title as a sportscar rookie with Jota Sport, but was left without a full-time drive the following season.</p> <p>This year will mark his debut full-season campaign in the WEC, which will also feature his second appearance at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.</p> <p><font><font>&quot;I am very happy that Racing Team Netherland&nbsp;and Frits have given me this great opportunity,&quot; said Van der Garde.</font></font></p> <p><font><font>&quot;</font><font>The ambitions of the team appeal to me enormously and I would like to be part of it.&nbsp;</font></font><font><font>The World Championship is super competitive and the 24 Hours of Le Mans is one of the most beautiful races in the world. It will be&nbsp;</font><font>very special to be at the start again.&quot;</font></font></p> <p><font><font>Van Eerd added: &quot;I am very pleased that Giedo will drive for us.&nbsp;</font><font>He is fast, experienced and very motivated.&quot;</font></font></p> <p><font><font>&quot;Our debut in the World&nbsp;Championship is a fantastic challenge, and I think it&#39;s great that we are working with&nbsp;a rider of this calibre.&quot;</font></font></p> <p>The Racing Team Nederland squad is stepping up to the WEC this season having finished 11th on its debut in the European Le Mans Series last year.</p> <p>So far, supermarket magnate Van Eerd is the only non-ORECA entrant to commit to the championship, which is set to release its official entry list on February 9th.</p> Competition announces return to Le Mans LMP2 ranksWed, 17 Jan 2018 19:32:48 GMT<p>The Larbre Competition squad has announced its intention to run a Ligier-Gibson JSP217 prototype at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.</p> <p>The French outfit is returning to the LMP2 category after a three-year spell running a Corvette C7.R (pictured) in the GTE-Am ranks of the World Endurance Championship round.</p> <p>It will also contest the Michelin Le Mans Cup, which includes a support race for the 24-hours, with two&nbsp;Ligier-Nissan LMP3 cars.</p> <p>Brazilian former Aston Martin factory driver Fernando Rees -&nbsp;who guided the Larbre Corvette to a class pole position in 2017 -&nbsp;is the first person to be confirmed for the&nbsp;LMP2 entry.</p> <p>Larbre is best-known as a GT concern, and has campaigned&nbsp;various cars at Le Mans since its debut in 1993,&nbsp;including the Chrysler Viper GTS-R, the Aston Martin DBR9, and the Saleen S7-R.</p> <p>It has won its class five times, starting with victories on its first two attempts with a Porsche 911, and later with back-to-back wins&nbsp;in 2010, 2011 and 2012.</p> <p>Larbre&#39;s prototype bow came in 2014, when it finished 14th overall with an Onroak-built&nbsp;Morgan-Judd driven by Pierre Ragues, Ricky Taylor and Keiko Ihara.</p> <p>&quot;Larbre Competition has competed 24 times at the Le Mans 24 Hours, but only once with a prototype in 2014,&quot; said Larbre team manager Jack Leconte.</p> <p>&quot;Then, we ran a Morgan LMP2, establishing a partnership with Jacques Nicolet and Onroak Automotive.&nbsp;Choosing Ligier was obvious, as it allows us to compete in two classes, and work with Onroak again.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;In addition to this, we are delighted to welcome Fernando back to the team. Last year at Le Mans he set pole position in the LM GTE-Am at the wheel of our Corvette, and will be a great asset to get our Ligier JSP217 to the front of the pack.&rdquo;</p> <p>The entry list for the 86th 24 Hours of Le Mans will be released on February 9th.</p> unveils 2018 LMP1 challengerThu, 11 Jan 2018 11:55:18 GMT<p>Ginetta has taken the wraps off its new-for-2018 LMP1 car that will race in the World Endurance Championship &#39;super season&#39;.</p> <p>The G6-LT-P1 is the Yorkshire-based company&#39;s&nbsp;first venture into the top prototype category of the WEC and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.</p> <p>Manor TRS Racing will enter one car,&nbsp;with another two-car customer effort still to be announced.</p> <p>Ginetta chairman Lawrence Tomlinson, Ginetta technical director Ewan Baldry and Manor&nbsp;sporting director Graeme Lowdon&nbsp;were on hand to reveal the car at the Autosport International show in Birmingham on Thursday.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m delighted to finally be able to unveil our latest machine to the motorsport industry, and what better time than at the start of our 60th year of manufacturing.&quot; said Tomlinson.</p> <p>&quot;Ginetta has a long history of international success in with the G55 GT4, LMP3 and G57. The LMP1 will be a strong contender in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) and at Le Mans.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;We have a great team of design engineers in Leeds, have worked with some excellent partners on the project, and can&rsquo;t wait to show you what the LMP1 is made of out on track.&rdquo;</p> <p>The Ginetta will begin testing in the coming weeks, having taken delivery of all its parts.</p> <p>It is powered by a turbocharged V6 Mecachrome engine, capable of producing 650 brake horsepower.</p> <p>Ginetta has pledged a production run of 10 chassis, including spares, that will be available to purchase for &pound;1.34 million each.</p> <p>Next year&#39;s WEC and Le Mans grids are set to feature an upsurge in privately-run LMP1 entries, including Ginetta, SMP Racing, DragonSpeed, ByKolles and Rebellion.</p> Webber brands Fernando Alonso's Le Mans attempt a 'mistake'Tue, 09 Jan 2018 16:25:26 GMT<p>Mark Webber believes Fernando Alonso would be making a big mistake if he goes ahead with plans to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans this year.</p> <p>Alonso is currently in America having run the Roar before the 24 ahead of his Daytona 24 drive with United Autosports later this month, with the event a precursor to a planned Le Mans attack with Toyota.</p> <p>But Webber, who retired from F1 in 2013 to focus on a full-time World Endurance Championship campaign with Porsche, believes Alonso is underestimating what it takes to prepare and compete at Le Mans, which the Australian doesn&#39;t believe is feasible alongside a full-time Formula 1 drive, particularly if McLaren can start challenging for wins once again.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s a mistake, they are two totally different things,&quot; Webber told Italy&#39;s <em>Automoto</em>&nbsp;when asked for his opinion on Alonso&#39;s endurance outings.&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;They both absorb a very high amount of mental energy. If you do Formula 1 you cannot afford certain distractions. I say this after doing several seasons and racing at Le Mans. If I were Fernando, I wouldn&rsquo;t do it.&quot;</p> <p>When it was posed to him that Nico Hulkenberg managed a full-time F1 race seat alongside winning Le Mans in 2015, Webber replied: &quot;That was with a second-rate team in F1. The pressures are different. He was also with the top Le Mans team and that simplified things a lot.&quot;</p> <p>The former Red Bull driver and 2015 Le Mans runner-up urged Alonso to do it properly, when he&#39;s done with F1, and reckons competing at Daytona will make the Spaniard realise just how much effort and preparation is required.</p> <p>&ldquo;Either he chooses to do Le Mans properly and focuses on it, working on it three weeks in advance with a maniacal focus and forgetting the rest of the year, or he could risk getting hurt.</p> <p>&ldquo;It requires a very strong mental commitment, and to understand if it&rsquo;s all worth it, I think Alonso is right to do Daytona. He&rsquo;ll assess everything and get an understanding of what is needed. And then I&rsquo;m sure he&rsquo;ll take the right decision.&rdquo;</p> Ogier sets his sights on Le Mans 24 Hours after WRCSat, 30 Dec 2017 11:32:02 GMT<p>World Rally Champion S&eacute;bastien Ogier says a Le Mans 24 Hours&nbsp;venture is high up on his wishlist for when he retires from rallying.</p> <p>The Frenchman, who won his fifth WRC title this year and first with the M-Sport outfit, has had a taste for circuit racing having previously tested a Red Bull Formula 1 car as well as competing in&nbsp;two Porsche Supercup races as well as getting behind the wheel of&nbsp;an Audi R8 LMS and&nbsp;Ferrari&nbsp;F430 Scuderia.</p> <p>Speaking about future retirement, which many speculated would happen this year before he signed a new deal with M-Sport, Ogier admitted racing in other categories was something he wanted to try after WRC and pinpointed Le Mans as an option.</p> <p>&quot;When I stop WRC I&rsquo;ll try something else for sure,&quot;&nbsp;said Ogier.</p> <p>&quot;I want to do Le Mans one day, that&rsquo;s clearly something I want to do. But there might also be other things.</p> <p dir="ltr">&quot;I&#39;m sure I&#39;ll find&nbsp;some other option, because staying home when you&#39;re 33&hellip; it&#39;s a bit too early, I think. I get bored very quickly,&quot; he added.</p> <p dir="ltr">&quot;Right now I&#39;m focusing on WRC because it&#39;s already an intense championship, and I want to spend some time as well at home and take some care of my family too.&quot;</p> Racing confirms LMP2 return in 2018-19Thu, 28 Dec 2017 12:47:30 GMT<p>French prototype outfit TDS Racing will return to the World Endurance Championship LMP2 category for the 2018-19 &#39;super season&#39;.</p> <p>The team has confirmed a single ORECA 07-Gibson to be driven by&nbsp;Matthieu Vaxiviere, Fran&ccedil;ois Perrodo and former Audi LMP1 star Lo&iuml;c Duval, who replaces Emmanuel Collard in the all-French lineup.</p> <p>Duval made a one-off appearance at this year&#39;s&nbsp;6 Hours of Bahrain in a G-Drive badged TDS ORECA, but spent most of 2017 racing in DTM with Audi and Formula E with Dragon Racing.</p> <p>During his time with Audi,&nbsp;Duval won six WEC races,&nbsp;including the 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours with Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish.</p> <p>&ldquo;I am very happy to come back to the WEC and the 24 Hours of Le Mans alongside my Audi program, and more over I am very excited about the environment in which I will compete,&quot; said Duval.</p> <p>&quot;TDS Racing is a very professional race team, but with strong family values, not only is this season going to be great fun, I am looking forward to help Francois improve and be Matthieu&rsquo;s wing man.&quot;</p> <p>TDS Racing finished eighth in the 2017 LMP2 standings, while its sister G-Drive Racing entry ended the year sixth.</p> <p>The team stepped up to the WEC this year after six seasons in the European Le Mans Series, which it won outright in 2012.</p> <p>No announcement has been made by G-Drive about its plans for 2018, with only the single TDS-run ORECA confirmed so far.</p> <p>&quot;During the 2017 WEC season, Fran&ccedil;ois and Matthieu have shown continuous improvements in LMP2 racing, they have consolidated their driving skills and race craft in what has proved to be an extremely competitive environment,&quot; said team manager Xavier Combet.</p> <p>&quot;Teamed with Lo&iuml;c Duval, who has&nbsp;very strong experience in endurance [racing], this second season for us promises to be very exciting.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;We can&rsquo;t wait to get back on the World Endurance Championship circuits, and challenge the other LMP2 teams and drivers.&rdquo;</p> <p>The 2018-19 WEC &#39;super season&#39; begins with the 6 Hours of Spa on May 5th.</p> Team Nederland joins WEC LMP2 grid with DallaraThu, 21 Dec 2017 23:52:48 GMT<p>The Racing Team Nederland LMP2 squad will step up to the World Endurance Championship next season.</p> <p>The team made its debut in this year&#39;s European Le Mans Series, finishing 11th, and also competed at the 24 Hours of Le Mans with its Dallara P217-Gibson.</p> <p>It will campaign the same Dallara chassis&nbsp;during the 2018-19 WEC &#39;super season&#39;, with Dutch supermarket magnate and team owner Frits&nbsp;van Eerd the first confirmed driver.</p> <p>&ldquo;I am truly proud that following our debut year we will be making such a significant and ambitious step,&quot; said Van Eerd, who shared driving duties at Le Mans with 1988 winner Jan Lammers and ex-Formula 1 star Rubens Barrichello.</p> <p>&quot;With our participation in the FIA World Endurance Championship, the Netherlands will be represented at the highest level of sportscar racing.&rdquo;</p> <p>Van&nbsp;Eerd is the first non-ORECA entrant to commit to the WEC LMP2 category since the introduction of new class regulations at the start of 2017.</p> <p>The Dallara chassis only saw action in the ELMS during its first season, and achieved&nbsp;its maiden race win at the 4 Hours of Le Castellet in August with SMP Racing.</p> <p>Racing Team Nederland will announce full details of the 2018-19 programme, including&nbsp;the rest of its driver lineup, in the new year.</p> Martin signs with Aston Martin Racing for 2018-19 Super seasonTue, 19 Dec 2017 13:11:26 GMT<p>Former BMW factory asset Maxime Martin will join Aston Martin Racing&rsquo;s GTE-Pro driver lineup in the 2018-19 World Endurance Championship &lsquo;super season&rsquo;.</p> <p>The 2015 Spa 24 Hours winner announced his leave from the BMW works operation last week after a five year spell that included three seasons in DTM with the RMG and RBM squads.</p> <p>The 31-year-old Belgian&nbsp;joins DS Virgin Formula E driver Alex Lynn as the second new addition to Aston Martin&rsquo;s factory roster.</p> <p>The marque&#39;s 2017 driving&nbsp;quartet&nbsp;of Darren Turner, Jonny Adam, Marco Sorensen and Nicki Thiim has been retained, although AMR will confirm the exact partnerships in the new year.</p> <p>&quot;I raced for a lot of different privateer teams, but BMW was my first big manufacturer,&quot; Martin told Motorsport Week.</p> <p>&quot;Coming to Aston Martin Racing after five years with a German manufacturer marks a very different challenge, but I&rsquo;m really excited about it.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;I won a lot of races during my time at BMW, but I think now is the right time for a change, with the arrival of the new Vantage GTE.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;Aston Martin is a fantastic brand in racing and I really want to take this opportunity from scratch. I&#39;ve been in contact with Aston Martin for some time, having raced its cars in GTs, so it&#39;s great to finally be here.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;Now, after three years in DTM, I want to concentrate more on GT racing and Aston Martin gives me the perfect opportunity to do that.&quot;</p> <p>Martin&#39;s exact programme will also be announced in the new year, although he is set to drive in the 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans, marking his fourth appearance at the French enduro.</p> <p>As recently as November, he&nbsp;conducted testing of the BMW M8 GTE that will race against the <a href="">new AMR Vantage</a> in next year&rsquo;s WEC.</p> <p>The son of four-time Spa 24 Hours winnner Jean-Michel&nbsp;is no stranger to Aston Martin machinery, having raced a DRB9 in the 2011 FIA GT1 World Championship.</p> <p>He also made his Le Mans debut in a Lola-AMR LMP1 entered by the Marc VDS squad in the same year.</p> <p>AMR team principal Paul Howarth added: &ldquo;We&rsquo;ve had an eye on Maxime for several years now, so we are delighted to welcome him to Aston Martin Racing.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;He is an exceptionally talented GT driver and he is the perfect addition to our high-calibre driver line-up.&rdquo;</p> <p>Martin will turn his first laps behind the wheel of the Vantage GTE early next year.</p> formally commits to WEC 2018/19 Super SeasonTue, 19 Dec 2017 09:33:44 GMT<p>Toyota has formally confirmed that it will participate in the LMP1 division of the World Endurance Championship&rsquo;s &lsquo;Super Season&rsquo; across 2018/19.</p> <p>Toyota&rsquo;s presence in the series had remained doubtful, accentuated by the exit of rivals Audi (at the end of 2016) and Porsche (at the end of 2017).</p> <p>The Japanese marque, though, has announce it will continue to race its TS050 HYBRIDs in the championship, with its driver line-up, and further details, to be released at a later date.</p> <p>&ldquo;Since 2012, we have taken up the challenge of the FIA World Endurance Championship, including the Le Mans 24 Hours, with race cars equipped with hybrid technologies,&rdquo; said Toyota President Akio Toyoda.</p> <p>&ldquo;Of course, we have always approached this challenge with a desire to drive faster than any other car and to win. Yet our cars carried our desire for more than just that.</p> <p>&ldquo;Not only did we want to heighten environmental performance in terms of fuel efficiency and such, we also had a very strong desire to create hybrid cars that made drivers feel that driving is fun, and that made them want to keep at it and want to let the cars keep on going.</p> <p>&ldquo;This year, I went to Le Mans for the first time and heard people cheering for Toyota. I also heard many people saying that they would like to see Toyota come out with a hybrid sports car like our cars in the race.</p> <p>&ldquo;I, too, would like us to produce just such a car, and I think it would be one that would help make cars fun for the next 100 years.</p> <p>&ldquo;This year, our cars were extremely fast on the roads of Le Mans. But they were not able to combine speed with the strength needed to keep at it for 24 hours.</p> <p>&ldquo;While wanting to provide cars that our customers will want to ride in and drive, I keenly realised that we have a long way to go.</p> <p>&ldquo;It is highly regrettable that our rival in honing technologies on the roads of Le Mans has left.</p> <p>&ldquo;Yet the World Endurance Championship, in which cars of different categories race at the same time, and particularly Le Mans, where the battle goes on for 24 hours, including on public roads, still represent the optimal proving ground for achieving the goal of making cars fun for the next 100 years.</p> <p>&ldquo;The ever-better cars that Toyota pursues are honed and created via the extreme environment of motorsport.</p> <p>&ldquo;That is exactly why we will persistently engage in motorsport, without being swayed by the good and bad of economic times.&rdquo;</p> <p>Toyota claimed five wins from nine events in 2017, courtesy of the No. 8 car.</p> <p>The new WEC season will begin with next May&#39;s 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps.</p> announces factory GT drivers for 2018-19 'super season'Sat, 16 Dec 2017 00:38:54 GMT<p>BMW has announced four full-season factory&nbsp;drivers for its 2018-19 World Endurance Championship campaign with the M8 GTE.</p> <p>Augusto Farfus, Antonio Felix da Costa, Nicky&nbsp;Catsburg and Martin Tomczyk will lead the German manufacturer&#39;s assault on the GTE-Pro category in the WEC and at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.</p> <p>DTM driver Farfus is the only team member with previous Le Mans experience, having raced for BMW Motorsport when it last ran at the French enduro in 2011.</p> <p>Tomczyk moves across from the marque&#39;s GTLM programme in North America, while Da Costa will balance his WEC role with a seat at Andretti in Formula E.</p> <p>Catsburg won the Spa 24 Hours in a BMW Z4 GT3 two years ago, and more recently has raced with success in the World Touring Car Championship with Volvo.</p> <p>The quartet will be joined by Phillip Eng, Alexander Sims and Tom Blomqvist for the longer endurance events at Le Mans and Sebring.</p> <p>&quot;The drivers in our WEC squad have been intensely involved in the development work on the BMW M8 GTE from the outset,&quot; said BMW motorsport director Jens Marquardt.</p> <p>&quot;The combination of GT experience and race talent means we are ideally positioned to achieve good results in our first season in uncharted territory.&rdquo;</p> <p>BMW also revealed the members of its IMSA Sportscar Championship roster, which will consist of two M8 GTEs run by the RLL squad.</p> <p>Connor de Phillippi will join existing driver John Edwards in one car, while Alexander Sims and Jesse Krohn will share the other.</p> <p>Sims previously raced alongside company veteran Bill Auberlen,&nbsp;who has moved into a reduced four-race programme in the North American Endurance Cup alongside De Phillippi and Edwards.</p> <p>Krohn, meanwhile, moves up to the GTLM ranks having raced a Turner Motorsports-entered GT3 version of the BMW M6 in 2017.</p> <p>Farfus, Catsburg and&nbsp;Eng&nbsp;will provide support for the NAEC races, which include the Rolex 24 at Daytona - where the M8 will make its competition debut -&nbsp;and the Sebring 12 Hours.</p> Racing to make LMP1 return in 2018Thu, 14 Dec 2017 02:20:55 GMT<p>Rebellion Racing will return to the LMP1 fold next season with a two-car entry.</p> <p>The Anglo-Swiss squad stepped back from the top category at the end of 2016, before winning the World Endurance Championship LMP2 title this year.</p> <p>It will run a star-studded driver lineup that includes two former Porsche LMP1 stars and Le Mans winners in Andre Lotterer and Neel Jani.</p> <p>Lotterer is set to make his debut with Rebellion having represented Porsche and Audi in previous seasons, while Jani returns to the outfit that gave him his first 24 Hours of Le Mans start in 2009.</p> <p>&ldquo;I am looking forward to coming back where my endurance career started 9 years ago,&quot; said Jani, who left Rebellion to join Porsche&#39;s LMP1 team in 2014.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;With the new regulations, I hope we can reach the overall podium at Le Mans and with a bit of luck, maybe we can even grab some wins during the super season of [the]&nbsp;WEC.&rdquo;</p> <p>Bruno Senna, who was part of the team&#39;s 2017-winning crew, will also feature, as will long-time Rebellion driver Mathias Beche.</p> <p>The roster is completed by 2016 LMP2 champion Gustavo Menezes and 19-year-old Frenchman Thomas Laurent, who helped Jackie Chan DC Racing achieve victory in class at this year&#39;s Le Mans.</p> <p>Menezes drove a Rebellion-entered ORECA-Gibson at the 10-hour Petit Le Mans IMSA enduro in October, in a lineup that also featured WEC regular Beche.</p> <p>Both Menezes and Laurent have been stand-outs in recent WEC LMP2 seasons, with each being selected to sample LMP1 machinery at the annual end of season rookie test.</p> <p>&quot;I look forward to meeting the whole team and other drivers, seeing the car and getting in it for the first time,&quot; said Laurent.</p> <p>&quot;Driving in a LMP1 category championship is a dream come true. I think the team will do everything they can to play at the forefront, so we have to live up to expectations.&quot;</p> <p>Rebellion has been widely rumoured to be gathering a programme with long-time partner ORECA, although no details of its 2018 car and engine package have been released.</p> <p>It will reveal both cars for its WEC &#39;super season&#39;&nbsp;campaign at the Geneva Motor Show in March.</p> announces 2018 factory driver lineups for WEC/IMSASun, 10 Dec 2017 11:18:06 GMT<p>Porsche has confirmed its full-season GT entries for the World Endurance Championship and IMSA Sportscar series next year.</p> <p>The manufacturer announced its plans at an end-of-season gala&nbsp;in Weissach, where it also celebtrated the recent success of the&nbsp;out-going&nbsp;919 LMP1 car.</p> <p>Porsche&#39;s Le Mans effort will combine the two&nbsp;double entries from WEC and IMSA, meaning a record four 911 RSRs will line up at the French enduro next June.</p> <p>Former Ferrari driver Gianmaria Bruni has been moved to the team&#39;s WEC entry, and will share a car with 2015 GTE-Pro champion Richard Lietz.</p> <p>Meanwhile, the sister effort&nbsp;for the 2018-19 &#39;super season&#39; retains its 2017 pairing of&nbsp;Michael Christensen and Kevin Estre.</p> <p>In IMSA, Porsche will run two cars with Le Mans winners and former LMP1 drivers Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber returning to the GT racing fold.</p> <p>The pair will be placed in different cars: Tandy is set to share with Patrick Pilet, while Bamber is listed alongside Laurens Vanthoor, who was signed last year from Audi.</p> <p>Frederic Makowiecki and Bruni will join the two IMSA pairs for the four-round North American Endurance Cup, which begins in January at the Daytona 24 Hours.</p> <p>Frenchman Makowiecki is also down as an additional driver at Le Mans, joining the Bruni/Lietz car, while Vanthoor will assist with the other full-season WEC effort.</p> <p>Vanthoor&#39;s placing in the WEC machine means the three other IMSA full-time drivers - Tandy, Bamber and Pilet - will share a single car, while factory assets Timo Bernhard, Romain Dumas and Sven Muller complete the fourth entry.</p> <p>Other news from the gala included the signing of IMSA GTD champion Christina Nielsen to Porsche as a &#39;Selected Driver&#39; for 2018.</p> <p>Nielsen won the competitive GT3 competition with Ferrari team-mate Alessandro Balzan, backing up pair&#39;s 2016 title.</p> <p>Additionally, Porsche Cup drivers Dennis Olsen and Matthew Campbell were confirmed as &#39;Young Professionals&#39;, joining Mathieu Jaminet and Matteo Cairoli in the factory-backed scheme.</p> Endurance Championship confirms sporting reg changes for 2018-19 'super season'Wed, 06 Dec 2017 23:54:24 GMT<p>Three headline changes to the World Endurance Championship sporting regulations have been approved by the FIA World Motor Sport Council, ahead of the 2018-19 &#39;super season&#39;.</p> <p>Starting next year, teams will be permitted to undertake refuelling and tyre changes at the same time during pit stops.</p> <p>The ruling is intended to make pit stops more exciting, and to create&nbsp;an additional strategic opportunity for teams.</p> <p>Adjustments to the number of points awarded for winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans were also passed through, meaning teams will earn 1.5x the rate distributed at the regular six-hour rounds.</p> <p>Using the new system, next year&#39;s Le Mans winners will receive 37.5 points - considerably less than the 50 awarded on previous occasions.</p> <p>Additionally, points for the 1,500-mile/12-hour&nbsp;race at Sebring in 2019 will be inflated by 1.25 times the six-hour amount.</p> <p>The third&nbsp;change is the introduction of an LMP1 teams&#39; world championship, which has replaced the manufacturers&#39; world title that Porsche won for the third consecutive time this year.</p> <p>Porsche&#39;s exit from the class at the end of 2017 left Toyota as the only OEM manufacturer, and prompted the WEC to merge the hybrid and non-hybrid privateer &#39;sub-categories&#39; together.</p> <p>The leading car of each team at each race will be eligible to score points for the new championship, which joins the LMP1 drivers&#39;, GT drivers&#39; and GT manufacturers&#39; crowns as&nbsp;FIA-sanctioned world titles.</p> <p>&ldquo;Together with the FIA we have drawn up regulations that can best be qualified as stimulating,&quot; said ACO sporting director Vincent Beaumesnil.</p> <p>&quot;They are&nbsp;going to give LMP1 a new dynamic boost, which will lead to a different race strategy for all the categories as tyre changes and refuelling can be carried out simultaneously.&quot;</p> <p>Left out of the announcement were details of&nbsp;a new set of LMP1 regulations for 2020, which had been expected following the WEC&#39;s decision to revise its <a href="">intended rules set </a>in the wake of Porsche&#39;s exit from the top category.</p> <p>&rdquo;While we wait for the very encouraging 2020 regulations, these new regulations, together with the positive feedback we have had from teams about the Super Season, will guarantee an incredible level of competition in LMP1,&quot; said WEC CEO Gerard Neveu.</p> <p>&quot;With no fewer than five GT manufacturers in LMGTE Pro, and increased interest at this stage from gentleman drivers in LMP2 and LMGTE Am, things are looking good for fans of endurance racing in particular, and motorsport in general.&nbsp;We can&rsquo;t wait for 2018.&rdquo;</p> Racing on course for LMP1 return in 2018-19Fri, 24 Nov 2017 12:55:28 GMT<p>Privateer LMP1 outfit ByKolles Racing is set to return to the top category of the World Endurance Championship in the 2018-19 &#39;super season&#39;.</p> <p>The Austrian squad recently concluded an intensive three-day test at the Aragon circuit in Spain with its Nissan-powered Enso CLM P1/01 prototype.</p> <p>Former Venturi Formula E driver Tom Dillmann was one of five drivers involved in the dry run, which also included ByKolles regulars Oliver Webb and James Rossiter.</p> <p>Recently crowned European Lamborghini Super Trofeo champion Mikael Grenier and 2016 GT Asia champion Edoardo Liberati completed the lineup.</p> <p>While a ByKolles entry is yet to be confirmed for the 2018-19 &#39;super season&#39;, the team has stated its intention to continue developing the CLM chassis, which made its debut under the Lotus banner in 2014.</p> <p>&quot;We are pleased with the progresses made on both reliability and performance&quot; said&nbsp;Boris Bermes, director of racing operations at ByKolles.</p> <p>&quot;All drivers did a solid job and our team is happy to attract such young and competitive drivers.&quot;</p> <p>ByKolles will resume testing in the second week of December, with the location yet to be confirmed.</p> Martin unveils new Vantage GTE racerTue, 21 Nov 2017 20:23:56 GMT<p>Aston Martin Racing has taken the wraps off the car&nbsp;it will campaign in the World Endurance Championship GTE category next season.</p> <p>The new Vantage GTE is powered by a&nbsp;four-litre twin-turbo V6 engine developed by AMR engineers, replacing&nbsp;the previous model&nbsp;that won the GTE-Pro drivers&#39; title in 2016.</p> <p>It was formally unveiled at an event in London on Tuesday, coinciding with the release of the new Aston Martin Vantage road car.</p> <p>&quot;Designing and developing this new car has been an extremely satisfying process,&quot; said Aston Martin Racing technical director Dan Sayers, who led the development of both Vantage GTEs.</p> <p>&quot;We&rsquo;ve collaborated closely with Aston Martin&rsquo;s Gaydon headquarters to develop the road and race cars in parallel.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;Attention to detail has been a priority at every step of this process and we&rsquo;ve made big improvements in each area of the car. We&rsquo;ve spent every second optimising the design right until the build of our test car, which has paid dividends during our current testing schedule.&quot;</p> <p>The Vantage entered the development phase in February, and has since logged 13,000km in testing.</p> <p>It has already completed a 30-hour endurance&nbsp;test in Spain, as well as a &#39;rigorous durability programme&#39; at Sebring in the United States.</p> <p>Seven members of Aston Martin&#39;s 2018 driver lineup were present at the launch, including former Williams F1 development driver Alex Lynn, who will make his debut with the marque next season.</p> <p>2016 GTE-Pro champions Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen have been retained, as have defending Le Mans winners Jonny Adam and Darren Turner.</p> <p>Recently crowned WEC GTE-Am champions Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda were also on hand to reveal the car.</p> <p>&quot;It&rsquo;s terrific to be involved in this exciting new chapter for Aston Martin Racing,&quot; said AMR managing director John Gaw.</p> <p>&quot;The increasingly tough competition in the GTE class and the prospect of two visits to Le Mans and a return to Sebring within the 2018/19 super-season is thoroughly tantalising.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;To conduct the development process of this car so closely with Aston Martin&rsquo;s design and engineering teams was essential for both road and race car to retain the same underlying DNA.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;We believe the Vantage GTE will bring further success worldwide to Aston Martin Racing in the coming years&rdquo;.</p>'Sadness and relief' after Porsche LMP1 exit - Fritz EnzingerSun, 19 Nov 2017 14:50:40 GMT<p>Porsche LMP1 vice president Fritz Enzinger said there were mixed emotions of sadness and relief as the manufacturer pulled the curtain on its prototype racing programme in Bahrain.</p> <p>The two Porsche 919 Hybrids finished second and third after encountering on-track drama during the race, but the #2 crew of Brendon Hartley, Timo Bernhard and Earl Bamber had already wrapped up the drivers&#39; titles at the previous round.</p> <p>Enzinger, who has spearheaded&nbsp;the Porsche LMP1 project after joining the company in 2011, helped orchestrate the development of the 919 with its innovative lithium ion hybrid system and 2.0 litre V4 engine.</p> <p>&ldquo;It was a feeling of sadness on the one hand,&quot; he said,&nbsp;&quot;But on the other hand, I felt a great sense of relief that the project was so successful.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;With three Le Mans victories and six world championship titles in the last three years, we got as much out of it as we could.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;The success of such a project depends entirely on the people. Creating the prerequisites such as infrastructure and budget was my job, but the implementation, the creation of a team spirit and the passion that requires everyone always wanting to be even better in their area &ndash; that lies with each individual team member from various departments.&quot;</p> <p>The first rendition of the 919 Hybrid suffered from teething issues during its inaugural season, and Enzinger admitted that the 2014 edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans - the car&#39;s third race - came too soon.</p> <p>However, 12 months later, Porsche returned to victory lane at the Circuit de la Sarthe for the first time in 17 years with Nick Tandy, Earl Bamber and F1 driver Nico Hulkenberg, and won twice more in 2016 and 2017.</p> <p>&quot;That&nbsp;[first] race came far too early for us,&quot; said Enzinger.</p> <p>&quot;We had only done a single simulation test, and with that we never managed more than six or seven hours. The whole test operation only really worked correctly from December [2014], after we had suppressed the vibrations.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;We had just two six-hour races behind us, and even those had not gone smoothly. The fact that we were in the lead at Le Mans after 20 hours raised hopes in the short term that were not reasonable, and the power train and the transmission defects did not come as a surprise.&rdquo;</p> <p>&quot;Everybody assumed that the 17th overall victory in Le Mans was a certainty.&nbsp;At the time there was neither the infrastructure nor the experience at the level of the new LMP1 hybrid class.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;So that first Le Mans victory [in 2015] was definitely the best, because of how convincingly we won. We were only in our second season and were performing with such superiority.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;The focus has always been clear at Le Mans. Without victory at the 24 Hours, a world championship is only worth half as much. As early as the roll-out in December, we were always asking the decisive question: Is our package good enough for Le Mans? If the car could win there, it could also win [any]&nbsp;six-hour race.&quot;</p> <p>Enzinger put the team&#39;s rapid rise&nbsp;down to the determined work of the engineers and back-room staff, and the maintenance of an effective working environment.</p> <p>During times of need, the team adopted an &quot;aggressive approach&quot; to get the 919s up to the desired pace.</p> <p>&quot;I still remember our fourth race very well [at Austin 2014],&quot; he said.&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;We were not fast enough, there was a downpour and, most importantly, a loss of power in one car, so we did not get a place on the podium.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;But in our team, we never yelled and we did away with pointless allocation of blame back in the development phase.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;We&nbsp;were all able to carry forward our development philosophy together: In cases of doubt, we always opted for the more aggressive approach with the goal of making the 919 quick first of all and stable in the end. If the car finishes a race the first time, then it is also capable of winning &ndash; this was our credo.&rdquo;</p> <p>Porsche will continue to have a factory presence in the GTE world championship, but in 2018 Toyota will be the only hybrid manufacturer left in the LMP1 category.</p> <p>After the Bahrain season finale, the Porsche 919 Hybrid&#39;s record stands at 17 wins from 34 races, 11 pole positions and five fastest laps, making it one of the most prolific prototype racers of all time.</p> <p>&quot;Today a very successful era comes to an end and this is the right time to say thank you,&quot; concluded Enzinger.</p> <p>&quot;Thanks to all our drivers who took every chance and delivered the highest performance - all ten LMP1 drivers have greatly impressed me many times over, regardless of the result. Also, thanks to everybody in the team for their relentless work and euphoria for the project.&quot;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Alonso completes LMP1 test in BahrainSun, 19 Nov 2017 14:35:22 GMT<p>Fernando Alonso completed his maiden World Endurance Championship test on Sunday, getting behind the wheel of Toyota&rsquo;s LMP1 car.</p> <p>After S&eacute;bastien Buemi gave the #8 TS050 HYBRID a brief shakedown, Alonso took to the Sakhir circuit in Bahrain and amassed 37 laps before the lunch break.</p> <p>Alonso continued in the afternoon session, adding another 76 laps, to bring his total to 113 laps, his best time a 1:43.013.</p> <p>His effort was 2.769s slower than the initial benchmark logged by Porsche&rsquo;s Timo Bernhard, who turned a few laps in the 919 Hybrid before handing over to Pietro Fittipaldi.</p> <p>Alonso revelled in the test, as he continues to explore the possibility of competing for victory at Le Mans next year, as part of his quest for the Triple Crown.</p> <p>&ldquo;It was a great day,&rdquo; said Alonso, after his first experience of the machinery.</p> <p>&ldquo;Testing an LMP1 car is always a nice thing for any racing driver because these cars are amazing to drive.</p> <p>&ldquo;They are very consistent throughout a stint which is a positive thing.</p> <p>&ldquo;I have wanted to test a car like this for a long time now and today I could achieve that so I am happy.&rdquo;</p> <p>Alonso will continue to race for McLaren in Formula 1 next season, with the outfit having severed its relationship with Honda after a three-year period characterised by reliability and performance issues.</p> wins 2017 finale as Rebellion takes LMP2 titleSat, 18 Nov 2017 19:37:35 GMT<p>Toyota drivers Anthony Davidson, Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima claimed their third consecutive World Endurance Championship victory at the Bahrain finale.</p> <p>Problems for the LMP1 competition aided the cause of the #8 TS050, which won by over a minute from the #2 Porsche driven by Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Earl Bamber.</p> <p>Toyota&rsquo;s pole-sitting #7 car had its challenge ended by an incident between Kamui Kobayashi and the GTE-Pro Porsche of Michael Christensen just before halfway.</p> <p>The two Porsches also encountered trouble, although Toyota still had the superior pace around the 3.4-mile circuit.</p> <p><a href=""><strong>RESULTS: Final classification from the 6 Hours of Bahrain</strong></a></p> <p>Bernhard lost a lap early on when a bollard became stuck in his 919&rsquo;s undercarriage, while the sister Porsche also spent extra time in the pits after Nick Tandy struck the Gulf Racing 911 RSR.</p> <p>Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado confirmed themselves as GT world champions with victory in their Ferrari 488.</p> <p>The AF Corse pair received support from the pole-sitting sister Ferrari of Sam Bird and Davide Rigon, which finished two seconds down the road.</p> <p>GTE-Am honours went to the #98 Aston Martin crew of Pedro Lamy, Paul Dalla Lana and Mathias Lauda, which was enough to hand the championship to the British marque.</p> leads at halfway point in BahrainSat, 18 Nov 2017 16:24:43 GMT<p>Toyota led Porsche as the Bahrain round of the World Endurance Championship reached its midway point.</p> <p>The third hour ended under full course yellow conditions, after Kamui Kobayashi&rsquo;s third-placed Toyota came to blows with the second-placed GTE-Pro Porsche at the turn two left-hander.</p> <p>Kazuki Nakajima led the field as the race moved into its second half, following the completion of the fourth set of stops for the LMP1 field.</p> <p>The Japanese driver held a 22s advantage over Jose Maria Lopez in the sister Toyota TS050 before the pit calls, during which Lopez dropped behind Nick Tandy&rsquo;s Porsche.</p> <p>Kobayashi assumed the controls of the Toyota and was set to regain second at the next stop before his incident.</p> <p>The #7 elected to run a different strategy to the other two LMP1 contenders by taking new rubber at its first stop, while the #1 Porsche and #8 Toyota double-stinted their opening sets of tyres.</p> <p>However, the third-hour clash effectively eliminated the #7 car from contention.</p> <p>Porsche&rsquo;s second 919 Hybrid lost time at the start after a bollard became wedged underneath the car&rsquo;s bodywork.</p> <p>Nakajima overtook Brendon Hartley during the third hour to put the championship-winning machine a lap down, before the Kobayashi incident promoted the Porsche to third.</p> <p><strong><a href="">RESULTS: Classification after three hours</a></strong></p> <p>In LMP2, Jackie Chan DC Racing led the pack and, as things stand, will win the class championship if the order maintains itself.</p> <p>Thomas Laurent, Ho-Pin Tung and Oliver Jarvis ended the first half narrowly ahead of the Vaillante Rebellion crew of Bruno Senna, Julien Canal and Nicolas Prost, which served a 5s penalty for contact with the #24 Manor ORECA.</p> <p>Senna and Canal lead the Jota-run Jackie Chan crew in the standings by four points.</p> <p>The #66 Ford GT led at the three-hour mark in GTE-Pro, although the order had been shuffled considerably following a dash to the pits in the wake of Christensen&rsquo;s incident.</p> <p>Ferrari&rsquo;s Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado ran second in their Ferrari, while the #67 Ford of Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell sat third.</p> <p>Tincknell moved up to second at the start with an overtake on the #97 Aston Martin, before Priaulx closed in on pole-sitter Sam Bird during the next stint.</p> <p>The Ford took the lead when Priaulx made a smart overtake at turn one during the second hour, but lost the lead himself shortly after when Kevin Estre snuck past in the now-damaged Porsche 911 RSR.</p> <p>Christensen dropped to second at the next round of driver changes, before the Dane&rsquo;s contact with the Kobayashi Toyota.</p> <p>The leader at halfway in GTE-Am was the #98 Pedro Lamy/Paul Dalla Lana/Mathias Lauda Aston Martin.</p> claims pole for 919's final race in BahrainFri, 17 Nov 2017 15:50:00 GMT<p>Nick Tandy and Neel Jani put the Porsche 919 Hybrid on pole position for its final World Endurance Championship outing in Bahrain.</p> <p>Tandy came from behind to deny Toyota&rsquo;s Jose Maria Lopez and Mike Conway from taking the top spot during a close-fought 20-minute evening session.</p> <p>A mistake by Tandy on his first attempt put the Toyota crew ahead initially, with Conway&rsquo;s time of 1:39.517s setting the bar after the first set of runs.</p> <p>Jani then posted the fastest lap of anyone (1:59.084s) midway through the session, but Porsche needed to seat Tandy back in the car if it was going to secure the top spot.</p> <p>The German manufacturer had decided to send both its cars out at the first opportunity, meaning there was enough time for Tandy to string together a final attempt.</p> <p>The Briton&rsquo;s improvement to a 1:39.683s squeezed between the times set by Conway and Lopez, and when combined with Jani&rsquo;s purple figure brought the #1 car&rsquo;s average below the Toyota by 0.263s.</p> <p>Recently crowned world champions Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard qualified third in the sister 919, seven tenths down on the pole figure.</p> <p>The Fuji and Shanghai-winning Toyota finished fourth after both Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima failed to breach the 1m 40s barrier.</p> <p>In LMP2, Signatech Alpine claimed its third pole of the year with Andre Negrao and Gustavo Menezes.</p> <p>Watched on by team-mate Nicolas Lapierre, the Signatech duo combined to form an average of 1:47.227s that eclipsed the next-best time by three tenths.</p> <p>Thomas Laurent&rsquo;s late flyer promoted the Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA onto the front row, one place ahead of the championship-leading Rebellion crew.</p> <p>The Jackie Chan and Rebellion squads are in a direct fight for the LMP2 championship this weekend, with Bruno Senna and Julien Canal leading the Laurent/Oliver Jarvis/Ho-Pin Tung trio by four points.</p> <p>GTE-Pro pole position went to Ferrari, as Sam Bird and Davide Rigon chalked up their fourth pole together in 2017.</p> <p>Rigon set the benchmark during the first runs with a time of 1:56.021s, before Bird consolidated with a 1:56.046s.</p> <p>That established a gap of two tenths back to the second-placed Aston Martin Vantage driven by Darren Turner and Jonny Adam.</p> <p>Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell completed the eclectic top three in their Ford (+0.430), while the sister Ferrari of Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado assumed fourth (+0.848).</p> <p>The second Ford GT will start from the back of the class pack after Stefan Mucke had two laps deleted for violating track limits.</p> <p>GTE-Am pole position went the way of Aston Martin&rsquo;s Pedro Lamy and Paul Dalla Lana for the seventh time this season.</p> leads both Thursday sessions for 6 Hours of BahrainThu, 16 Nov 2017 18:23:21 GMT<p>Toyota set the bar with a one-two on the opening day of practice for the World Endurance Championship finale in Bahrain.</p> <p>Kazuki Nakajima submitted the fastest time outright behind the wheel of the #8 TS050 Hybrid, after Mike Conway put the Japanese manufacturer&#39;s sister car on top during FP1.</p> <p>The #8 crew of Nakajima, Anthony Davidson and Sebastien Buemi&nbsp;are aiming to record their third consecutive victory of the season this weekend, following their wins at Fuji and Shanghai.</p> <p>Nakajima delivered his table-topping run of 1:40.095s at the start of FP2, out-pacing&nbsp;Jose Maria Lopez by half a second.</p> <p>Lopez&#39;s effort was quicker than Conway&#39;s earlier marker, as times tumbled in the cooler evening conditions.</p> <p>Porsche finished third and fourth in both sessions, with the 919 Hybrids running six and nine tenths off the pace by the end of the day.</p> <p>Recently confirmed world champions Earl Bamber, Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard ran third quickest, ahead of the sister 919 driven by Neel Jani, Andre Lotterer and Nick Tandy.</p> <p>The opening session was delayed by 45 minutes when Harry Tincknell&#39;s Ford GT leaked fluid around the 3.4-mile circuit, prompting&nbsp;race officials to extend the session by half an hour.</p> <p><a href="">RESULT: 6 Hours of Bahrain FP1</a></p> <p>RESULT: 6 Hours of Bahrain FP2</p> <p>Vaillante Rebellion claimed first and second in the LMP2 timesheets, with Bruno Senna setting the class pace during the twilight session.</p> <p>Senna&#39;s time of 1:47.664s bridged the sister car&#39;s best attempt by half a second, while the championship-chasing Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA sat third in the hands of Thomas Laurent.</p> <p>Senna and Julien Canal moved to the top of the LMP2 standings with victory in China two weeks ago, overturning the long-standing advantage held by the Le Mans-winning Jackie Chan crew.</p> <p>Laurent, Oliver Jarvis and Ho-Pin Tung need to win or finish two places ahead of the Rebellion crew in Bahrain to secure the title.</p> <p>In GTE-Pro, Aston Martin staged a one-two of its own as the British marque&#39;s pair of Vantages topped the order ahead of their final race appearance in the category.</p> <p>Darren Turner&#39;s 1:57.014s benchmark led Marco Sorensen&nbsp;by four tenths, as the pair of AF Corse-run Ferrari 488s filled out the next two positions.</p> <p>AMR trailed Ferrari&#39;s championship leaders James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi in the opening session, but overturned the advantage during FP2.</p> <p>Thursday&#39;s fastest GTE-Am lap came courtesy of Matt Griffin in the Clearwater Racing Ferrari.</p> <p>Qualifying for the 6 Hours of Bahrain takes place tomorrow (Friday, November 17th) at 17:00&nbsp;local/14:00 UK time.</p> wins 6 Hours of Shanghai as Porsche seals WEC drivers' titlesSun, 05 Nov 2017 09:34:20 GMT<p>Toyota won the Shanghai round of the World Endurance Championship as Porsche&#39;s Brendon Hartley, Earl Bamber and Timo Bernhard secured the drivers&#39; title one round early.</p> <p>Second place was enough to confirm the Porsche crew as champions, while Sebasien Buemi, Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima scored Toyota&#39;s fourth victory of the season.</p> <p>Toyota was on course for a comfortable one-two finish when leader Jose Maria Lopez crashed out in the final hour.</p> <p>The three-time World Touring Car champion tagged a GT Porsche whilst negotiating the long turn 13 right-hander, which damaged the left side of the TS050.</p> <p>Lopez then lost seven laps in the pits as Buemi picked up the pieces to claim victory by a lap from Bernhard.</p> <p>Toyota needed a one-two to keep the manufacturers&#39; title race open until the final round in Bahrain later this month, but instead the crown went to Porsche for the third year in a row.</p> <p>Despite securing all available WEC titles,&nbsp;Porsche&#39;s pair of 919 Hybrids struggled to match the Toyotas all afternoon.</p> <p>The Japanese manufacturer was running a series of aerodynamic upgrades in a bid to out-score its counterpart in race wins this season, which translated into superior pace around the 3.4-mile Shanghai circuit.</p> <p>The title-winning Porsche dropped off the lead lap during the fourth hour, while the sister 919 finished a distant third after challenging for the lead early on.</p> <p>Nick Tandy was running second&nbsp;when he encountered a sensor issue that reduced the #1 machine to a crawl along the back straight, and despite being able to fix it himself the British driver dropped off the lead lap.</p> <p><a href="">RESULT: WEC 6 Hours of Shanghai</a></p> <p>In LMP2, Vaillante Rebellion&#39;s Bruno Senna and Julien Canal superseded Jackie Chan DC Racing&#39;s Thomas Laurent, Oliver Jarvis and Ho-Pin Tung in the standings with one round remaining.</p> <p>The Rebellion pair, joined in China by Nicolas Prost, dominated the six-hour contest to chalk up their third win in four races.</p> <p>The Jota Sport-run Jackie Chan squad, meanwhile, finished down in --- after needing a late splash for fuel.</p> <p>Watched on by team co-founder Jackie Chan, the #38 ORECA also suffered two spins during the race following contact with other LMP2 cars.</p> <p>GTE-Pro honours went to the Ganassi Ford GT driven by Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell.</p> <p>The British pair emerged victorious from a duel with the Porsche 911 RSR of Richard Lietz and Frederic Makowiecki during the second half of the race.</p> <p>Priaulx overtook Lietz early in the fourth hour before pulling away, although a late splash of fuel brought the Ford back into the Porsche&#39;s sights.</p> <p>Lietz&#39;s incident with Lopez near the end put paid to a final flurry of racing, leaving Priaulx to take the chequered flag by a margin of 11 seconds.</p> <p>The opening three hours were a contest between Ford and Porsche&#39;s other entries, although an engine failure for the Kevin Estre/Michael Christensen 911 and a loose door fitting for the Olivier Pla/Stefan Mucke Ford switched the direction of the fight.</p> <p>Pla and Mucke recovered from their technical glitch and finished fourth behind the AF Corse Ferrari of James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi.</p> <p>The Ferrari duo are now tied on points with Lietz and Makowiecki heading into the 6 Hours of Bahrain finale.</p> <p>Honours in GTE-Am went the way of Aston Martin Racing&#39;s Pedro Lamy, Paul Dalla Lana and Mathias Lauda, who reclaimed the lead of the championship from the Dempsey Proton Porsche crew.</p> leads 6 Hours of Shanghai at halfwaySun, 05 Nov 2017 06:21:37 GMT<p>Toyota held a commanding lead over Porsche as the Shanghai round of the World Endurance Championship reached its halfway point.</p> <p>Anthony Davidson led Mike Conway by 13.2&nbsp;seconds after three hours, with the TS050 Hybrids&nbsp;firmly in the ascendancy.</p> <p>Conway&#39;s team-mate Jose Maria Lopez controlled the field in the early&nbsp;stages, but the Argentinian fell to third when he spun following contact with the G-Drive Racing LMP2 ORECA.</p> <p>Moments later, Lopez moved up to second behind Sebastien Buemi in the sister Toyota when Porsche&#39;s #1 car dropped of the lead lap with a brief sensor issue that was fixed on-track by Nick Tandy.</p> <p>The Toyotas switched around at the end of the second hour when Buemi pitted, before Davidson got back ahead of the #7 car early in the third with an pass on Kobayashi at turn one.</p> <p>Porsche&#39;s #2 car ran a distant third at the halfway point having struggled to match the pace of the Toyotas during the opening three hours.</p> <p>As it stands, Brendon Hartley, Timo Bernhard and Earl Bamber will still wrap up the drivers&#39; world championship with a podium finish.</p> <p>In LMP2, Vaillante Rebellion staged its own one-two on three hours.</p> <p>Bruno Senna&#39;s dominant opening stint built&nbsp;an advantage that was maintained through the second stint by silver-rated driver Julien Canal, with the team&#39;s sisiter car running tail-gunner in second.</p> <p>G-Drive Racing ran third despite a first-lap spin for WEC debutant Nico Muller, while the championship-leading Jackie Chan DC Racing sat fourth.</p> <p><a href="">6 Hours of Shanghai after 3 hours</a></p> <p>While Porsche&#39;s LMP1 team played catch up in the overall race, the German manufacturer led at halfway in GTE-Pro despite losing one of its cars.</p> <p>Michael Christensen and Kevin Estre had led much of the contest after Estre overtook pole-sitter Nicki Thiim at the start, but the #92 car pulled of during the third hour with engine failure.</p> <p>That would have promoted the #66 Ford GT - which also got past the Aston during the opening stint - into the lead, but Olivier Pla was forced to make an extra stop when the car&#39;s door became stuck open.</p> <p>Consequently, the sister Porsche driven by Fred Makowiecki was promoted to the front of the pack, while Pla recovered in second.</p> <p>Andy Priaulx sat third in the sister Ford GT at the close of the third hour.</p> <p>Aston Martin also lost its pole at the start in GTE-Am, but an incident for the Spirit of Race Ferrari with an LMP2 car promoted the #98 Vantage back to the front.</p> Kobayashi flies to 6H Shanghai pole for ToyotaSat, 04 Nov 2017 07:33:54 GMT<p>Kamui Kobayashi gave Toyota its fourth World Endurance Championship pole of the season at Shanghai International Circuit.</p> <p>The Japanese driver set the fastest lap of the 20-minute, two driver qualifying session after team-mate Mike Conway recorded the third-best time during the opening set of runs.</p> <p>Porsche held a provisional front-row lockout at the driver changes with Nick Tandy and Brendon Hartley leading the way, but later issues for both 919 Hybrids played into the hands of the TS050.</p> <p>Tandy&#39;s team-mate Andre Lotterer had a lap deleted for exceeding track limits, while Earl Bamber spun the sister car at the esses.</p> <p>That paved the way for Kobayashi to leap to the top of the order with a time of 1:42.526s,&nbsp;bringing the #7 Toyota&#39;s average down to&nbsp;1:42.832s.</p> <p>Kobayashi&nbsp;has been involved in all four of Toyota&#39;s poles this year in the car he shares with Conway and Jose Maria Lopez.</p> <p>Lotterer, having been forced onto an extra lap following his misdemeanour, came through on a 1:43.579s which was slower than the efforts from both #7 drivers.</p> <p>That put the second-placed Porsche four tenths of a second down on the pole-sitting Toyota at the end of the session.</p> <p>Toyota&#39;s championship-chasing car qualified third ahead of the points-leading Porsche driven by Brendon Hartley, Timo Bernhard and Earl Bamber.</p> <p><a href="">RESULT: 6 Hours of Shanghai qualifying</a></p> <p>Vaillante Rebellion reduced the gap to Jackie Chan DC Racing in the LMP2 standings to nine points with pole for Julien Canal and Bruno Senna.</p> <p>The #31 ORECA claimed an average time of 1:49.217s to pip the G-Drive Racing entry of Roman Rusinov and WEC debutant Leo Roussel by three tenths.</p> <p>Jackie Chan DC&#39;s ORECA will start fourth after being qualified by Thomas Laurent and Oliver Jarvis, while the second Rebellion entry slotted into third.</p> <p>In GTE-Pro, Aston Martin took pole for the second time in 2017 as Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen beat the Porsche of Michael Christensen and Kevin Estre.</p> <p>Christensen&#39;s initial lap aboard the 911 RSR was the quickest of the opening drivers by three tenths, but Thiim&#39;s lap during the second set of runs was faster than Estre by over half a second.</p> <p>That put the Aston up by two tenths on average, while the James Calado/Davide Rigon Ferrari finished fourth.</p> <p>GTE-Am pole honours also went to the British marque, as Pedro Lamy and Paul Dalla Lana scooped their sixth pole in eight races.</p> leads Friday practice for 6 Hours of ShanghaiFri, 03 Nov 2017 11:16:16 GMT<p>Toyota opened its account for the Shanghai round of the World Endurance Championship with the two quickest times during Friday practice.</p> <p>Brits Mike Conway and Anthony Davidson led the field in the pair of TS050s, while the nearest Porsche 919 driven by Brendon Hartley sat half a second off the pace.</p> <p>Conway&#39;s time of 1:44.741s came during the second of two 90-minute practice sessions, with Davidson slotting behind on a 1:45.131.</p> <p>The top time in FP1 was also set by Conway, who edged out Nick Tandy&#39;s Porsche but went on to improve his time during the afternoon.</p> <p>Hartley, Timo Bernhard and Earl Bamber can wrap up the drivers&#39; world championship this weekend with a podium, regardless of the result for the Davidson/Sebastien Buemi/Kazuki Nakajima Toyota.</p> <p>In LMP2, Nelson Piquet Jr lifted Vaillante Rebellion to the top of the charts with a time of 1:52.533s.</p> <p>The Brazilian ended the day three-tenths up on Thomas Laurent in the points-leading Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA, while Julien Canal finished third in the sister Rebellion that won last time out at Fuji.</p> <p>Canal and team-mate Bruno Senna are now 10 points off the Jackie Chan crew of Laurent, Oliver Jarvis and Ho-Pin Tung with two rounds remaining.</p> <p>Fastest in GTE-Pro by six tenths of a second was James Calado in the #51 AF Corse-entered Ferrari, ahead of Richard Leitz&#39;s Porsche 911 RSR.</p> <p>Porsche bounced back with the quickest time in the GTE-Am category, as factory junior Matteo Cairoli topped the timesheets in the Dempsey-Proton Racing entry.</p> <p>Qualifying for the 6 Hours of Shanghai takes place tomorrow (Saturday, November 4th) at 14:00 local time/06:00 UK time.</p> <p><a href="">RESULT: WEC Shanghai FP1</a></p> <p><a href="">RESULT: WEC Shanghai FP2</a></p> confirms WEC LMP1 entry with GinettaWed, 01 Nov 2017 11:25:47 GMT<p>Manor will step up to the LMP1 category of the World Endurance Championship next year with the new Ginetta prototype.</p> <p>The British outfit, run by John Booth and Graeme Lowdon,&nbsp;has committed to the 2018-19 WEC &#39;super season&#39;, which includes the next two editions of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.</p> <p>Manor has not confirmed how many Ginetta LMP1s it will campaign, while the engine partner is also yet to be announced.</p> <p>&ldquo;We are very happy to be entering the LMP1 category of the FIA World Endurance Championship,&quot; said Booth.</p> <p>&quot;We have been learning this championship for the last two years and we are confident that the time is now right for us to step-up to the LMP1 category.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;We have known the people at Ginetta for many years and we believe that, working together, we will be able to develop a competitive LMP1 package.&rdquo;</p> <p>Manor has spent the last two seasons in the LMP2 category of the WEC, continuing the name of Booth and Lowdon&#39;s Formula 1 venture.</p> <p>The team currently runs a pair of ORECA 07s and scored its first podium at this year&#39;s 6 Hours of Mexico.</p> <p>It will continue to receive support from Chinese firm TRS during its transition to the LMP1 ranks.</p> <p>&ldquo;I think that the LMP1 category provides a fantastic challenge for us but we can rely on a lot of experience gained over the years,&quot; said Lowdon, &quot;In particular those spent in Formula 1&nbsp;relating to the management of the design, research, testing and development processes that are so important for a successful LMP1 team.&rdquo;</p> <p>In October Ginetta confirmed it had <a href="">sold three chassis</a>, including one spare, to a customer for next season, although the identity of the team has not yet been revealed.</p> to join LMP1 ranks in 2018Tue, 31 Oct 2017 16:25:22 GMT<p>European Le Mans Series-winning outfit DragonSpeed will move up to the LMP1 category of the World Endurance Championship next year.</p> <p>The team, run by former F3 driver Elton Julian, announced plans to contest the 2018-19 &#39;super season&#39; with an unstated LMP1 prototype.</p> <p>Former Renault development driver <a href="">Ben Hanley</a> and DragonSpeed patron Henrik Hedman have been confirmed as the first two drivers for the new venture.</p> <p>DragonSpeed recently won the European Le Mans Series LMP2 championship with a crew running under the G-Drive Racing banner.</p> <p>&ldquo;The whole team is thrilled and up for the challenge,&quot; said Julian.</p> <p>&quot;Having won sportscar titles in GT3 and LMP2, the natural progression for our highly talented and motivated crew is to move up to LMP1.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;We&rsquo;re carefully studying potential partners who can help us put together a programme which will deliver the progress and success we want for DragonSpeed.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;Everyone is on the same page in terms of the package and approach we need, and we can&rsquo;t wait to get started.&rdquo;</p> <p>The team said in a statement that it is &quot;evaluating a range of chassis, engine, and third driver options&quot; for the single entry.</p> <p>Unlike the LMP2 category, which DragonSpeed currently races in with two ORECA 07s, LMP1 is open to any chassis and engine builder.</p> <p>Ginetta and BR Engineering are the two main companies with LMP1 projects set to debut in 2018.</p> <p>Next year&#39;s WEC will bring the hybrid manufacturers and non-hybrid privateer entries closer together as part of&nbsp;<a href="">changes to the regulations.</a></p> <p>Julien added that he hoped the new rules, which are to be fully released in December, will enable close competition between the two LMP1 sub-divisions.</p> <p>&ldquo;I look back to 2005, when I first drove at Le Mans [with Racing for Holland],&quot; he said, &ldquo;Where you had a single works team with Audi plus a great supporting cast of privateers running six different chassis and four different engines,&quot; said Julien.</p> <p>&quot;In fact, the pole went to one of the privateers. If Toyota continues &ndash; and we all hope they will &ndash; I think over the next couple of years we can bring back that variety and tradition of privateers being genuinely competitive in the top class.&rdquo;</p> Laurent to test Toyota LMP1 car in BahrainWed, 25 Oct 2017 22:22:15 GMT<p>19-year-old French racer Thomas Laurent will drive a Toyota TS050 Hybrid at the the World Endurance Championship LMP1 rookie test in Bahrain next month.</p> <p>Laurent, a winner of this year&#39;s LMP2 category at the 24 Hours of Le Mans,&nbsp;is the first driver&nbsp;to be confirmed for the annual day of running after the 6 Hours of Bahrain season closer.</p> <p>The 2016 Road to Le Mans champion currently leads the WEC LMP2 points standings in his first campaign with Jackie Chan DC Racing team-mates Oliver Jarvis and Ho-Pin Tung.</p> <p>&ldquo;This test in the Toyota TS050 HYBRID, a prototype from the top category of endurance racing, is a great reward for the brilliant progress Thomas Laurent has made in his career,&quot; said ACO president Pierre Fillon.</p> <p>&quot;After beginning in karting in 2005, at 19 years of age Thomas Laurent &ndash; who finished second overall at this year&rsquo;s 24 Hours of Le Mans, winning the LMP2 category &ndash; is climbing up the stairway of endurance racing put in place by the ACO and demonstrating its effectiveness.&nbsp;Well done to Thomas for having been awarded this rookie test!&rdquo;</p> <p>The remaining spots on the test will be granted to the top three finishers in this year&#39;s Formula V8 3.5 series, which supports the WEC bill.</p> <p>The champion will drive a Porsche 919 Hybrid, the runner up an ORECA 07 LMP2, and the third-placed driver the GTE-Pro car that wins this year&#39;s world championship.</p> <p>Each &#39;rookie&#39; will complete 30 laps of the Bahrain International Circuit, and will be joined by other WEC teams as part of a five-hour&nbsp;open session.</p> hits back at LMP2 upgrade plans for 2018Mon, 16 Oct 2017 14:33:55 GMT<p>French LMP2 chassis constructor ORECA has expressed its concern at plans to allow rival manufacturers to upgrade their cars next season.</p> <p>An FIA/ACO statement <a href="">published on Saturday </a>confirmed that Riley, Ligier and Dallara will be permitted&nbsp;to develop their machines to bring them closer to the ORECA 07 (pictured)&nbsp;which filled out the top three places at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.</p> <p>ORECA is the only manufacturer with customers in the World Endurance Championship, and currently leads the European Le Mans Series against entries from Ligier and Dallara.</p> <p>The 2017 LMP2 regulations limited the number of LMP2 chassis manufacturers to four, with all cars powered by the same naturally-aspirated Gibson V8 engine.</p> <p>ORECA released a follow-up statement on Monday, in which it argues that it has been &quot;unjustly penalised&quot; by the category organisers, and that LMP2 is veering towards becoming&nbsp;a &quot;balance of performance&quot; formula.</p> <p>&quot;The ORECA Group takes note of the decisions of the ACO and the FIA, and if we have been informed, we can not talk about concerted action, we do not accept the decisions taken,&rdquo; the statement said.</p> <p>&ldquo;Only the European Le Mans Series was considered, initially in four rounds and then in five. The races of the American IMSA championship, however, were not.&nbsp;These decisions on performance adjustments are not based on data measuring performance deficits contrary to what is provided for in the technical regulation.</p> <p>&quot;ORECA, being the only manufacturer not authorized to develop its car, is today unjustly penalised, as are the teams that have trusted us and who have successfully entered the ORECA 07.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;We are showing them our utmost support. At the beginning of the project, all LMP2 players agreed on the&nbsp;concept of open competition between four chassis manufacturers working on the same regulatory basis and using the same engine. After less than a year of existence, we are heading towards a balance of performance system that does not correspond to the original concept.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;In the spirit, the performance evolutions were clearly intended not to leave on the roadside a builder who would be in difficulty.&quot;</p> <p>The extent of the upgrades granted to the Riley Mk.30, Ligier JSP217 and Dallara P217 have not been released, but they are believed to also affect the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship, which uses the global-spec LMP2 cars as a baseline for the DPi formula.</p> <p>Acura will enter the championship with the&nbsp;ORECA chassis next season, while Mazda (Riley), Nissan (Ligier) and Cadillac (Dallara) also compete.</p> win shortened 6 Hours of FujiSun, 15 Oct 2017 08:24:33 GMT<p>Toyota drivers Kazuki Nakajima, Sebastien Buemi and Anthony Davidson won the&nbsp;Fuji round of the World Endurance Championship after the race was cut short by adverse weather conditions.</p> <p>Heavy fog caused by rain earlier in the day made the 2.8-mile circuit unsafe for racing, prompting officials to bring out the red flags with an hour and a half left on the clock.</p> <p>An earlier red flag period was established <a href="">during the second hour for the same reason</a>.</p> <p>The #7 TS050 shared by Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez was ahead until the end of the fourth hour, when the team elected to bring its leading car into the pits.</p> <p>Nakajima was instructed to stay out in the #8 machine, but the worsening conditions meant the Japanese driver never had the chance to make his own scheduled stop.</p> <p>That allowed Nakajima, Buemi and Davidson (who didn&#39;t race because of the red flags)&nbsp;to&nbsp;claim their third win of the season and Toyota&#39;s first since the 6 Hours of Spa in May.</p> <p>Conway brought the #7 car home second to complete the one-two, and was classified 1.4s behind the #8.</p> <p>Porsche&#39;s #1 car driven by Neel Jani, Andre Lotterer and Nick Tandy finished third after recovering from an incident with the winning Toyota at the start.</p> <p>Lotterer lost pieces of front bodywork when he touched the rear of Buemi&#39;s car, but the crew managed to recover through a string of&nbsp;safety car interventions.</p> <p>Each of those stoppages&nbsp;were called on the grounds of poor visibility, bar the fourth which came out when Mathias Beche&#39;s Rebellion ORECA&nbsp;LMP2 hit the wall at turn six after tangling with Jean-Eric Vergne&#39;s Manor ORECA during hour four.</p> <p>Porsche&#39;s sister car completed the LMP1 order, but lost a lap when the team got caught by the first red flag period.</p> <p>After leading early on from pole, Earl Bamber was the only driver in the top class not to pit during the break in play, so when the race returned to green the New Zealander was forced to come in for a service.</p> <p>Timo Bernhard took over the controls, but was lapped shortly after by a hard-charging Nakajima.</p> <p>Bamber, Bernhard and recently announced Toro Rosso F1 stand-in Brendon Hartley never recovered the lost ground, and subsequently saw their four-race win streak come to a halt.</p> <p>The result closes the gap between the #8 Toyota and #2 Porsche crews in the drivers&#39; championship to 39 points with two six-hour events remaining.</p> <p>In LMP2, Vaillante Rebellion drivers Bruno Senna, Nicolas Prost and Julien Canal picked up their second win of the year.</p> <p>The #31 ORECA 07-Gibson commanded much of the contest after assuming the lead from the team&#39;s pole-sitting car, which spun at the start before Beche&#39;s incident.</p> <p>The Rebellion finished ahead of the Nicolas Lapierre/Gustavo Menezes/Andre Negrao Signatech Alpine entry, while the championship-leading Oliver Jarvis/Thomas Laurent/Ho-Pin Tung ORECA run by Jackie Chan DC Racing took third.</p> <p>GTE-Pro honours went to the AF Corse Ferrari squad for the third time this season.</p> <p>James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi assumed the lead of the GT drivers&#39; world championship with their second win, after problems befell the Ford GT driven by Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell.</p> <p>A penalty for a pit infringment during the opening half bumped the Ford off the lead lap, before Priaulx made contact with the barriers at turn one.</p> <p>The three-time World Touring Car champion lost control after picking up damage one lap earlier through contact with Kevin Estre&#39;s Porsche 911 RSR.</p> <p>Both Porsches looked strong at the front during the first three hours, but that incident allowed the winning Ferrari to split the pair.</p> <p>Pier Guidi took the lead during the final safety car period that developed into the red flag, leaving Porsche&#39;s Richard Leitz and Frederic Makowiecki to take second.</p> <p>The sister 911 recovered to finish third, while Ford&#39;s sister car claimed fourth place.</p> <p>Victory in GTE-Am went to the Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 shared by Miguel Molina, Francesco Castellacci and Thomas Flohr, marking the Swiss outfit&#39;s first win of the campaign.</p> <p><a href="">RESULT: WEC 6 Hours of Fuji</a></p> leads rain-soaked 6 Hours of Fuji at halfwaySun, 15 Oct 2017 05:08:17 GMT<p>Toyota&#39;s Kazuki Nakajima led a wet Fuji round of the World Endurance Championship at the three hour mark.</p> <p>Heavy rain and fog around the 2.8-mile Fuji Speedway forced the race to start under safety car conditions, before the red flags were brought out for 30 minutes during the second hour.</p> <p>Another safety car period during the third hour greatly reduced the amount of&nbsp;sustained green flag running during the opening half.</p> <p>Nakajima took the lead shortly after the withdrawal of the red flags, when Porsche opted to pit&nbsp;the #2 919 Hybrid.</p> <p>Earl Bamber had stayed out during the stoppage, but needed to come in to re-stock his car with fuel and change over to Timo Bernhard.</p> <p>That promoted Nakajima to the front, with the Japanese driver putting Bernhard a lap down with an overtake early in the third hour.</p> <p>At halfway, Toyota&#39;s #8 car held a 45s&nbsp;lead over Nick Tandy in the sister Porsche, which dropped to fourth early on when the two cars clashed during the opening burst of green flag running.</p> <p>Andre Lotterer lost part of the Porsche&#39;s front bodywork following contact with Sebastien Buemi, but the #1 Porsche crew jumped back up to second when the #7 Toyota spent an extra minute in the pits for a steering wheel change.</p> <p>Lopez managed to restore the #7 machine&#39;s&nbsp;lost time during the second safety car intervention to sit less than a second behind Tandy at the close of the third hour.</p> <p>In LMP2, TDS Racing held a one-two at the head of the class, with Pierre Thiriet leading Emmanuel Collard.</p> <p>Thiriet&#39;s G-Drive car was due a pit stop when halfway fell, but the race had been commanded largely by Bruno Senna in the #31 Rebellion ORECA.</p> <p>Before pitting just before halfway, Senna&#39;s cause was aided by a spin for Nicolas Lapierre, who had charged ahead of both Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECAs to sit second in the Signatech Alpine entry.</p> <p>Ferrari ran one-two in GTE-Pro with Alessandro Pier Guidi leading Davide Rigon by seven seconds, while the pole-sitting Porsche 911 RSR sat fifth.</p> <p>The championship-leading Ford driven by Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell was a force early on, but dropped off the lead lap when Priaulx picked up a penalty for running the red light at the end of the pit lane.</p> <p>GTE-Am continues&nbsp;to be led by the Clearwater Racing Ferrari that started from pole.</p> <p><a href="">As it stands: WEC 6 Hours of Fuji</a></p> grants upgrades to three LMP2 constructors for 2018Sat, 14 Oct 2017 18:06:50 GMT<p>Three of the four licensed LMP2 constructors will be allowed to run upgraded chassis in global sportscar competitions&nbsp;next season.</p> <p>Riley, Ligier and Dallara have all been granted dispensation to enhance their cars in an attempt to close the gap between them and the chassis produced by ORECA (pictured) which won its class and finished second overall at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.</p> <p>The ORECA 07 will not be allowed to upgrade, based on its performances at Le Mans and in the European Le Mans Series, which it leads through customer outfit G-Drive Racing.</p> <p>Changes will not apply to the World Endurance Championship, because only teams running the ORECA option committed to the full 2017 campaign.</p> <p>The current regulations, established at the start of 2017, limited the number of LMP2 constructors to four&nbsp;in a bid to cut running costs for teams.</p> <p>It also implemented the rule that each car must use the same&nbsp;naturally-aspirated Gibson V8 engine.</p> <p>The extent of the upgrades granted to the Riley Mk. 30, Ligier JSP217 and Dallara P217 have not been released by the ACO, but a statement issued by the Le Mans organiser promised a level of performance on par with that of&nbsp;the ORECA.</p> <p>The statement said:</p> <p>&quot;The ACO and the FIA have made clear to the different protagonists the rules and objectives of these modifications: namely, to maintain the competitiveness of the three constructors in relation to Oreca in 2018 without, however, these modifications giving one of them a consistent advantage compared to the benchmark car.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;The ultimate aim is to ensure that LMP2 remains a category in which variety and hotly-contested racing prevail.&quot;</p> <p>The changes will also apply to the IMSA Sportscar Championship&#39;s DPi category, which uses the global-spec LMP2s as a baseline for manufacturer-badged cars.</p> <p>Mazda uses the Riley for its North American model, while Nissan uses the Ligier and Cadillac the Dallara.</p>'s Brendon Hartley and Earl Bamber claim 6 Hours of Fuji poleSat, 14 Oct 2017 06:01:10 GMT<p>Brendon Hartley and Earl Bamber gave Porsche its third consecutive pole of this year&#39;s World Endurance Championship at Fuji Speedway.</p> <p>The New Zealand-born&nbsp;pair out-qualified Andre Lotterer and Nick Tandy in the sister 919 Hybrid, as the German marque also chalked up its third front-row lockout of the season.</p> <p>Bamber put the championship-leading car on a good footing with an opening time of 1:35.225s, before Hartley backed up his team-mate&#39;s effort with a 1:35.096.</p> <p>Although Tandy&#39;s time of 1:35.068s was the fastest of the 20-minute session, Lotterer&#39;s attempt fell short of Hartley by three tenths, giving the #2 Porsche the edge on average.</p> <p>Lotterer tried to improve his figure in the final stages, but made a mistake exiting the final corner in wet conditions.</p> <p>Toyota will start its home WEC race from third and fourth, as Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima narrowly missed out on splitting the Porsches in their TS050 Hybrid.</p> <p>The pair&#39;s average of 1:35.355s fell 0.195 seconds short of pole, while the Japanese manufacturer&#39;s&nbsp;other car, qualified by Jose Maria Lopez and Kamui Kobayashi, was a distant fourth.</p> <p>In LMP2, Vaillante Rebellion staged its own front-row lockout, with David Heinemeier Hansson and Nelson Piquet Jr&nbsp;putting their ORECA 07-Gibson on pole for the first time in 2017.</p> <p>Beche and Heinemeier Hansson combined to form an average of 1:44.196s, which established a cushion of eight tenths to Bruno Senna and Julien Canal in the team&#39;s title-chasing car.</p> <p>Senna and Canal are 20 points behind the championship leading Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA, which qualified third in the hands of Thomas Laurent and Ho-Pin Tung.</p> <p>GTE-Pro pole went to the Porsche 911 RSR driven by Frederic Makowiecki and Richard Lietz, which came out best in a duel with the Ford GT of Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell.</p> <p>Tincknell briefly elevated the #66 Ford to the top of the order at the start of the second set of runs, but a quick response from Lietz put the Porsche four tenths ahead on average.</p> <p>Priaulx tried to improve his score by returning to the wheel late on, but couldn&#39;t find the extra pace with rain coming down around the 2.8-mile circuit.</p> <p>The Olivier Pla/Stefan Mucke Ford will start third tomorrow, ahead of the #71 AF Corse-run Ferrari 488.</p> <p>Pole in GTE-Am went the way of the Clearwater Racing Ferrari squad for the first time this year.</p> <p>The 6 Hours of Fuji is scheduled to get underway tomorrow (Sunday, October 15th) at 11:00 local time (03:00 UK).</p> <p><a href=";%20LMP2/03_Classification_QP_ByClass_Qualifying%20LMP1%20&amp;%20LMP2.PDF">Result: WEC 6 Hours of Fuji prototype qualifying</a></p> <p><a href=";%20LMGTE%20Am/03_Classification_QP_ByClass_Qualifying%20LMGTE%20Pro%20&amp;%20LMGTE%20Am.PDF">Result: WEC 6 Hours of Fuji GT qualifying</a></p> leads wet Friday practice at Fuji SpeedwayFri, 13 Oct 2017 08:44:09 GMT<p>Porsche&#39;s Andre Lotterer set the quickest time on the opening day of free practice for the Fuji round of the World Endurance Championship.</p> <p>Lotterer, driving the #1 Porsche 919 Hybrid, turned in a time of 1:25.527s during the first of two 90-minute runs that were each affected by adverse weather.</p> <p>Toyota led the second session through Jose Maria Lopez, but the Japanese driver could only muster a 1:39.202s lap as conditions worsened around the 2.8-mile circuit.</p> <p>That meant the times from the morning counted as the top figures of the day, with Porsche recording a one-two as Earl Bamber backed up Lotterer&#39;s benchmark in the championship-leading 919.</p> <p>Lopez finished four tenths off the pace in the #7 TS050 Hybrid, marginally ahead of the sister Toyota driven by Sebastien Buemi.</p> <p>Victory at Fuji would secure Porsche&#39;s third consecutive WEC manufacturers&#39; title, while Bamber, Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard only need to beat the Buemi/Anthony Davidson/Kazuki Nakajima Toyota to clinch the drivers&#39; crown with two rounds to spare.</p> <p>In LMP2, Jackie Chan DC Racing topped the timesheets in both sessions.</p> <p>Series leaders Thomas Laurent, Oliver Jarvis and Ho-Pin Tung had their championship lead reduced to 20 points with finishes outside the top three in Mexico and the&nbsp;United States, but were back on top in FP2 at Fuji.</p> <p>Thomas Laurent clocked in at 1:47.437s during the afternoon, although that time fell five seconds short of the marker set earlier in the day by Alex Brundle, behind the wheel of the sister ORECA 07.</p> <p>TDS Racing set the second-quickest time of the day courtesy of Mathieu Vaxiviere.</p> <p>The French team&#39;s ORECA&nbsp;was then involved in an incident during second practice, when former grand prix driver Vitaly Petrov spun into the barriers to bring out the day&#39;s only red flag.</p> <p>As in the top category, Porsche&#39;s factory squad provided the best two times in GTE-Pro.</p> <p>Michael Christensen recorded a 1:47.365s run during FP1, supported by a 1:47.617 from Richard Lietz in the other 911 RSR.</p> <p>The Porsches were edged out in second practice, however, as Olivier Pla set the quickest lap in his Ford GT.</p> <p>DTM expat Miguel Molina led the way in GTE-Am, driving the Spirit of Race&nbsp;Ferrari 488.</p> <p>Qualifying for round six of the World Endurance Championship is scheduled to take place on Saturday, October 14th at 14:00 local time (06:00 UK).</p> <p><a href="">Results: 6 Hours of Fuji FP1</a></p> <p><a href="">Results: 6 Hours of Fuji FP2</a></p> unlikely to make LMP1 return after World Rallycross decisionThu, 05 Oct 2017 00:35:34 GMT<p>Rumours of Peugeot making a return to the LMP1 category have been dealt a blow, after the French manufactuer announced its commitment to World Rallycross in 2018 and beyond.</p> <p>Peugeot will continue to compete with Hansen Motorsports in WRX next year with nine-time World Rally champion Sebastien Loeb.</p> <p>The&nbsp;company also pledged to support the growth of electrified rallycross in line with its global business interests.</p> <p>The winner of the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1992, 1993 and 2009&nbsp;had been mooted for an entry to the World Endurance Championship&nbsp;following <a href="">Porsche&#39;s exit at the end of this year</a>&nbsp;that left Toyota as the only manufacturer.</p> <p>&quot;The brand wants to be involved in a new challenge with the idea of accompanying its own energy transition but also to create a strong and unique link with new customers and the new generation,&quot; said Peugeot brand chief executive Jean-Philippe Imperato.</p> <p>&quot;The brand is ready to support the evolutions in E-WRX as part of its technological plan, which aims to offer 80% of the models in electrified version by 2023.&quot;</p> <p>Peugeot&#39;s display of commitment to the future of rallycross prompted an immediate&nbsp;reply from Le Mans organiser the Autobomile Club de l&#39;Ouest, which had included company bosses in talks to create the new set of LMP1 regulations for 2020.</p> <p>An ACO statement said: &ldquo;The Automobile Club de l&rsquo;Ouest has learned of Peugeot&rsquo;s decision to intensify its programme in a series other than endurance.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;We can only accept it and fix an appointment with them in the years to come to prove to them the interest of our branch of motor sport, and the validity of the direction taken in endurance in the areas of cost capping and technology, which other manufacturers and other teams working alongside us will prove to them.&quot;</p> <p>Toyota is yet to officially confirm its LMP1 presence next season, but the Japanese constructor&nbsp;previously made a verbal agreement to run until the end of 2019.</p> <p>Next year&#39;s WEC could be helped by a rise in privateer entries, with <a href="">Ginetta announcing its first three chassis sales </a>and the <a href="">ByKolles</a> and <a href="">BR Engineering</a> projects being spotted testing recently.</p> confirms three LMP1 chassis salesTue, 03 Oct 2017 16:19:58 GMT<p>Ginetta has confirmed the sale of three LMP1 chassis, putting the Yorkshire-based company on track for a presence in next year&#39;s World Endurance Championship.</p> <p>Orders and deposits have been taken for two examples of the non-hybrid car, plus one spare,&nbsp;from an as-yet-unknown customer which&nbsp;intends&nbsp;to run a two-car program in the 2018-19 WEC&nbsp;&#39;super season&#39;.</p> <p>&quot;This is a big step forward for the programme, and will be great news too for the FIA WEC and the ACO who have placed a lot of faith in their new LMP1 regulations,&quot; said Ginetta Cars chairman Lawrence Tomlinson.</p> <p>&quot;For now you&rsquo;ll have to wait for our customer to make their own announcement on this programme.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;The signs are that they will soon be joined by more Ginetta customers in the top LMP1 class, and that a car conceived in our Yorkshire factory will soon be contesting overall wins in the World Endurance Championship, including at the world&rsquo;s biggest race, the Le Mans 24 Hours.&rdquo;</p> <p>Ginetta has committed&nbsp;to building 10 chassis, with a view to having three privateer teams on the grid for the WEC and 24 Hours of Le Mans.</p> <p>Each team will run two cars plus one reserve, while the extra chassis&nbsp;will be kept as a development model.</p> <p>The Ginetta LMP1, soon to be given an official name, is being built at the team&#39;s Garforth base&nbsp;with support from parties including Williams Advanced Engineering, former IndyCar manufacturer Adrian Reynard, and Paolo Catone, designer of the Russian BR01 LMP2 racer.</p> to be 1,500-mile event; LMP1 tweaked for 2018Thu, 21 Sep 2017 20:43:58 GMT<p>The FIA&#39;s World Motorsport Council has confirmed that Sebring&#39;s return to the World Endurance Championship calendar will be a 1,500-mile&nbsp;event, rather than a timed race due to concerns it would detract from IMSA&#39;s Sebring 12 Hours.</p> <p>The two events are due to take place on the same weekend, with IMSA&nbsp;running from 10am to 10pm on Saturday, whilst WEC is due to start at midnight, ending on Sunday afternoon.</p> <p>WEC last raced at Sebring in 2012 when it was incorporated into the Sebring 12 Hours. The leading LMP1 car completed 325 laps, suggesting the race may last longer than 12 hours. However with the increase in speed between then and now, it&#39;s likely the 1,500 miles, or 402 laps, will be completed in roughly the same time.</p> <h2>LMP1 tweaks confirmed</h2> <p>A number of tweaks to the leading LMP1 series have also been confirmed following the loss of Porsche and Audi in recent years, leaving only Toyota as the sole manufacturer outfit in the LMP1-H (hybrid) class.</p> <p>From 2018, both LMP1-H and LMP1-L (non-hybrid) cars will be combined into a&nbsp;single classification.</p> <p>It&#39;s been proposed that, to equalise the lap performances of the best LMP1-L&nbsp;and LMP1-H cars, non-hybrid cars will be allowed to use more fuel, bringing their performance closer. Meanwhile a&nbsp;fuel range advantage for hybrid cars (one extra lap at Le Mans) will continue to be enforced.</p> <p>The advantage given to turbocharged engines, introduced in 2014, will be lifted to encourage new privateer entrants.</p> <p>From 2019, a ban on fluidic switches and energy brought to the general aerodynamics of the car &ndash; this is in anticipation of potential complex and expensive developments in this area.</p> Mans winner Nick Tandy to drive Porsche LMP1 car at Brands HatchTue, 19 Sep 2017 15:32:54 GMT<p>Nick Tandy will demonstrate a Le Mans-winning Porsche 919 Hybrid at the Brands Hatch round of the British Touring Car Championship.</p> <p>Tandy, who won the French endurance classic in 2015 with Nico Hulkenberg and Earl Bamber, will be part of a run showcasing an array of Porsche production and racing machinery from over the years.</p> <p>The special demonstration on September 30th-October&nbsp;1st&nbsp;will mark the first time in over 20 years that a contemporary top-level sportscar has lapped the 2.4-mile Kent circuit.</p> <p>Porsche won the Brands Hatch 1000km sportscar race nine times between 1969 and 1986, most famously in 1970 when&nbsp;Pedro Rodriguez and Leo Kinnunen raced a 917 to victory in appalling conditions.</p> <p>Also on parade at the weekend&nbsp;will be a selection of the company&#39;s latest road-going models, including the 918 hypercar and the new Panamera Turbo S E-Hybrid.</p> <p>&quot;Brands Hatch is a circuit where I won in both a 911 GT3 Cup and a 911 GT3-R on my way to becoming a factory driver,&rdquo; said Tandy.</p> <p>&ldquo;Porsche has a lot of history at the circuit too, so it&#39;s very special to be able to demonstrate the 919 Hybrid there.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;The passion and enthusiasm [of BTCC] is always incredible, and hopefully we&#39;ll be able to show this impressive piece of engineering to a lot of fans who wouldn&#39;t otherwise get to see it.&quot;</p> <p>Tandy&rsquo;s own race team, JTR, will be in action at the same weekend in the Porsche Carrera Cup, where team driver Dino Zamparelli is in contention for the title.</p> <p>The demonstration will also include the new 911 GT3-Cup model that will be used in the championship next season.</p> <p>&quot;When we knew there was an opportunity to bring the 919 Hybrid to Brands Hatch we had to make it happen,&rdquo; added Ragnar Schulte, head of marketing and motorsport at Porsche Cars Great Britain.</p> <p>&ldquo;Brands Hatch and Porsche have so much history, not least of all from the days when the 956 and 962 were so successful here in Group C.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;Both those cars represent such a large part of the heritage the 919 Hybrid has had to live up to.&rdquo;</p> extends WEC points lead with 1-2 at COTASat, 16 Sep 2017 23:48:03 GMT<p><strong>Porsche drivers Timo Bernhard, Earl Bamber and Brendon Hartley extended their World Endurance Championship points lead with victory at the Circuit of the Americas.</strong></p> <p>A team orders decision from Porsche management saw Bamber move ahead of Nick Tandy in the sister 919 Hybrid during the final 10 minutes, sealing the fourth consecutive win for the #2 crew.</p> <p>Bamber crossed the line 0.276 seconds ahead of Tandy, who led much of the six-hour contest with team-mates Andre Lotterer and Neel Jani.</p> <p>The #1 Porsche made the best start with Jani settling into a 10 second lead from pole, while Bernhard fell behind the pair of much-improved Toyota TS050 Hybrids.</p> <p>A fourth hour safety car - called to repair the turn 12 barriers after Michael Wainwright crashed his GT Porsche - saw the leading trio&#39;s advantage slashed to less than a second from Mike Conway in the #7 Toyota, although the gap stretched back out again when Porsche opted to forgo tyres at its next pit stop.</p> <p>That strategy elevated the #2 car back into second, while more crucially the #1 machine maintained the gap to the Toyotas despite running an older set of Michelins.</p> <p>The Porsches superficially switched places during the fifth hour, but the #1 reinstated itself at the head of the field during the final visit to the pits with half an hour remaining.</p> <p>Toyota, meanwhile, saw both its cars stay within touch of the Porsches as the Japanese manufacturer focused on a low-drag setup for its high-downforce aero kit.</p> <p>Sebastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and stand-in Stephane Sarrazin finished 21 seconds shy of the winner, while the sister car of Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez came through a further 24 seconds back.</p> <p>The result boosts Bernhard, Bamber and Hartley&#39;s championship advantage to 51 points over Buemi and Nakajima&nbsp;with three rounds left in the season.</p> <p>In LMP2, Signatech Alpine&nbsp;survived a late pit scare to beat the pair of Vaillante Rebellion ORECAS.</p> <p>Gustavo Menezes, Andre Negrao and Nicolas Lapierre controlled much of the contest in their Alpine A470, but a late stewards&#39; call to bring the car into the pits to replace a faulty tail light threatened to hand victory to Nelson Piquet Jr, David Heinemeier Hansson and Mathias Beche.</p> <p>However, the Signatech squad had built enough of a lead during the six hours to keep Menezes out in front, with the American crossing the line 30 seconds ahead of Piquet Jr.</p> <p>Bruno Senna, Julien Canal and Nicolas Prost completed the podium in the second Rebellion, reducing the gap to championship leaders Thomas Laurent, Oliver Jarvis and Ho-Pin Tung to 20 points.</p> <p><strong>Ferrari survives late GTE drama</strong></p> <p>AF Corse drivers Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado came through to win a thrilling GTE-Pro class tussle in their Ferrari.</p> <p>The pair were on course to take a dominant victory when Pier Guidi picked up a front-left puncture with less than 10 minutes to go, but like the Signatech squad the Italian had enough of a lead to come out ahead of Michael Christensen in the chasing Porsche 911 RSR.</p> <p>After a poor qualifying session, Christensen and Kevin Estre made strides through the field until Estre overtook Davide Rigon&#39;s Ferrari for the lead in the fourth hour.</p> <p>When Rigon started struggling with his tyres, Calado was brought through to pick up the chase, with the Briton finding a way past Estre&nbsp;on the inside at turn two.</p> <p>Ferrari&#39;s pit strategy later elevated the Davide Rigon/Sam Bird car ahead of the Porsche, but&nbsp;Christensen soon closed back in before passing&nbsp;Bird for second&nbsp;while Pier Guidi ran at the front.</p> <p>Aston Martin Racing&nbsp;claimed fourth and fifth, while the sister Porsche finished sixth after picking up a drive through for violating track limits.</p> <p>Aston&#39;s GTE-Am squad fared better in the secondary GT category, as Pedro Lamy, Paul Dalla Lana and Mathias Lauda chalked up their first win since the 6 Hours of Spa in May.</p> <p>The trio recovered from an early spin for Dalla Lana to beat the Clearwater Racing Ferrari 488 of Matt Griffin/Keita Sawa/Mok Wen Sung by 50 seconds.</p> to feature on 2018-19 World Endurance Championship calendarSat, 16 Sep 2017 02:29:53 GMT<p><strong>Silverstone has been reinstated as a round on the World Endurance Championship calendar, with an August date set for 2018.</strong></p> <p>The FIA and Automobile Club de l&rsquo;Ouest left the Northamptonshire circuit out of the original schedule two weeks ago, but have since reversed their decision &ldquo;in response to competitors and fans&rdquo;.</p> <p>Silverstone&rsquo;s return will be moved later in the year to August 19<sup>th</sup>, and replaces the &lsquo;TBC&rsquo; date in February that featured on the provisional calendar.</p> <p>The circuit has been the traditional season opener for the WEC since 2013, with its April date marking a key step towards the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.</p> <p>It featured as an August stop during the inaugural campaign in 2012, and previously hosted summer rounds of the Le Mans Series.</p> <p>Next year&#39;s Silverstone event will once again receive support from the European Le Mans Series, which is set to announce its final calendar&nbsp;at Spa next weekend.</p> <p>Furthermore, the 2018&nbsp;WEC races at Fuji and Shanghai have each been moved forward a week, to avoid clashing with the IMSA Sportscar Championship finale at Petit Le Mans in October.</p> <p>The Fuji round was originally planned for October 14th, but successful negotiations between Fuji Speedway and IMSA officials have resulted in a repositioning to the 21st.</p> <p>Consequently, Shanghai will jump forward from November 4th to November 18th, to allow enough time for equipment to transport from Japan to China.</p> locks out 6H COTA front rowSat, 16 Sep 2017 02:05:18 GMT<p><strong>Nick Tandy and Neel Jani led Porsche&rsquo;s second consecutive front row lockout of the 2017 World Endurance Championship at Austin.</strong></p> <p>The pair out-qualified Timo Bernhard&nbsp;and Earl Bamber&nbsp;in the sister 919 Hybrid by two tenths of a second, marking the second&nbsp;pole for the #1 crew this season.</p> <p>Jani&nbsp;had gone quickest out the initial drivers, but Tandy was forced to retake his flying lap near the end of the session after his intended effort was deleted for a breach of track limits.</p> <p>After pitting for fuel, the Briton responded with a time that matched his team-mate to keep&nbsp;the #1 Porsche ahead of the championship-leading #2 car at the close of play.</p> <p>Toyota qualified third and fourth for the second race in a row, as the TS050 Hybrids once again struggled to match the pace of the 919s.</p> <p>Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima qualified the #8&nbsp;car ahead of the #7 driven by Kamui Kobayashi and Mike Conway.</p> <p>Kobayashi had the edge over Buemi before the driver changes, but Nakajima&#39;s gap to Conway, who lost time stuck behind an LMP2 car,&nbsp;was greater during the second half of the shootout.</p> <p>The #7&nbsp;finished 1.6 seconds down on the pole-sitting Porsche, while the #7 ran a further seven&nbsp;tenths adrift.</p> <p>In LMP2, Signatech Alpine topped&nbsp;a close session that saw the top five cars separated by just over half a second.</p> <p>Andre Negrao and Nicolas Lapierre pipped Mathias Beche and David Heinemeier Hansson in the Vaillante Rebellion ORECA by two tenths, despite Negrao&#39;s time being one of the slowest of the opening runners.</p> <p>Bruno Senna held provisional pole at the driver changes in the sister Rebellion entry, but a&nbsp;1:53.675s effort from Lapierre during the second set of runs turned the order on its head.</p> <p>Lapierre&#39;s&nbsp;time was nine tenths quicker than any other second driver, lifting the Signatech crew to the top of the timesheets.</p> <p>Senna and team-mate Julien Canal settled for fourth, ahead of the G-Drive Racing ORECA squad.</p> <p>GTE-Pro pole position went to Ferrari&#39;s Sam Bird and Davide Rigon, who posted an average of 2:03.057s.</p> <p>Rigon was the only driver to dip under the two-minute 02s threshold, before Bird turned in a low 2m 03s to confirm the pair&#39;s advantage over Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell in their Ford GT.</p> <p>Mexico City winners Marco Sorensen and Nicki Thiim qualified third for Aston Martin, while James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi came fourth in the second Ferrari.</p> <p>Porsche struggled for pace on Saturday, meanwhile, as the 911 RSRs propped up the field with average times over a second shy of the class pace.</p> <p>Pedro Lamy and Paul Dalla Lana hit the mark for Aston Martin in GTE-Am, as the #98 Vantage scooped its fifth pole of the campaign.</p> doubles up during 6 Hours of COTA Thursday practiceFri, 15 Sep 2017 00:01:06 GMT<p><strong>Porsche topped&nbsp;the timesheets during Thursday practice for this weekend&#39;s Austin round of the World Endurance Championship.</strong></p> <p>Earl Bamber and Nick Tandy posted the quickest times of each 919 Hybrid during the opening 90-minute session at Circuit of the Americas, before Neel Jani came through to take the overall top spot in the afternoon.</p> <p>Jani, who shares the #1 Porsche with Tandy and Andre Lotterer, posted a time of 1:45.860s to give that car the edge heading into Saturday&#39;s qualifying run.</p> <p>Bamber went on to improve on his morning marker with a 1:46.401s lap to back up Jani, which put both Porsches ahead of the rival Toyota TS050 Hybrids.</p> <p>Toyota&#39;s nearest challenge came courtesy of Kamui Kobayashi, who finished 0.959 seconds shy of Jani&#39;s benchmark in the #7 machine.</p> <p>Sebastien Buemi lapped fourth quickest in the&nbsp;sister car, more than two seconds adrift.</p> <p><a href="">RESULT: 6 Hours of COTA FP1</a></p> <p><a href="">RESULT: 6 Hours of COTA FP2</a></p> <p>In the LMP2 category, Vaillante Rebellion echoed Porsche with a one-two of its own, orchestrated by Bruno Senna and Mathias Beche.</p> <p>Senna, driving the 6 Hours of Mexico-winning ORECA co-driven with Nicolas Prost and Julien Canal, registered a best lap of 1:54.601s to pip his stable-mate in the other car by a tenth.</p> <p>Alex Lynn went third fastest for G-Drive Racing, while Nicolas Lapierre lapped fourth in the Singnatech Alpine entry.</p> <p>Friday practice in GTE-Pro was led by the #95 Aston Martin, which had Nicki Thiim behind the wheel for its table-topping 2:04.023s effort.</p> <p>That was enough to marginally out-pace the pairs of Fords, Porsches and Ferraris, which occupied second through to seventh.</p> <p>Aston Martin also led the way in GTE-Am, as Pedro Lamy topped the field by 1.4 seconds.</p> <p>Qualifying for round six of the World Endurance Championship takes place on Friday, September 15th at 15:05 Central Time.</p> reveals 2018 GTE challengerTue, 12 Sep 2017 20:55:32 GMT<p><strong>BMW has officially unveiled the car it will run in&nbsp;next year&#39;s World Endurance Championship GTE-Pro category.</strong></p> <p>Powered by a four-litre V8 engine, the new M8 will be eligible to compete in both the WEC (including the 24 Hours of Le Mans) and the North American IMSA Sportscar Championship.</p> <p>&ldquo;The BMW M8 GTE is our new GT flagship and will go head to head with the strong opposition in this sector,&rdquo; said BMW Motorsport director Jens Marquardt during the car&#39;s launch at Frankfurt Auto Show on Tuesday.</p> <p>&quot;We are bringing cutting-edge technology to the top international class of GT racing, whilst at the same time tying in with our tradition at Le Mans.&quot;</p> <p>&ldquo;The FIA WEC and the IMSA series in North America are a top competitive environment for our new challenger.&nbsp;The development of the BMW M8 GTE is on schedule, and we can hardly wait to see the car challenging for victories in 2018.&quot;</p> <p>The M8 marks the manufacturer&#39;s first entry at Le Mans since 2011, when a factory-run M3 GT2 finished third in class.</p> <p>BMW is yet to confirm its WEC and IMSA driver lineups for next season, although several current factory assets including Martin Tomczyk, Phillipp Eng, Bruno Spengler and Maxime Martin have been spotted behind the wheel during private tests.</p> <p>The M8 will make its race debut in the GTLM category at the Daytona 24 Hours in January.</p> replaces Anthony Davidson for 6 Hours of COTAMon, 11 Sep 2017 14:02:55 GMT<p><strong>Toyota factory LMP1 driver Anthony Davidson will not contest this weekend&#39;s Austin round of the World Endurance Championship.</strong></p> <p>The 2014 world champion is unable to join team-mates Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima at the Circuit of the Americas&nbsp;for &quot;personal reasons&quot;.</p> <p>Davidson&#39;s seat will be filled by Toyota reserve Stephane Sarrazin, who raced at Spa and Le Mans this year in the manufacturer&#39;s third car.</p> <p>The sister lineup of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez remains unchanged.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s a surprise to be racing the TS050 Hybrid again this season but I am excited to be back and I&rsquo;m looking forward to racing with S&eacute;bastien, Kazuki and the whole team,&quot; said Sarrazin, who won three WEC races as a full-season&nbsp;Toyota driver between 2013 and 2016.</p> <p>&quot;I know the Circuit of the Americas well and it&rsquo;s an impressive circuit, with some great corners. I will give my all to score as many points for the team as possible.&rdquo;</p> <p>Davidson, Buemi and Nakajima are Toyota&#39;s leading crew in the world drivers&#39; championship, although the trio face a 41-point gap to Porsche&#39;s Timo Bernhard, Earl Bamber and Brendon Hartley.</p> <p>Toyota struggled for pace at last weekend&#39;s event in Mexico, which saw Porsche claim a dominant one-two for the first time this season.</p> <p>&ldquo;Anthony will not be with us this weekend but he has our full support and we look forward to seeing him behind the wheel again,&quot; said Toyota team president Histake&nbsp;Murata.</p> <p>&quot;We are happy that Austin comes so soon after Mexico, which was not a positive race for us.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;Everyone is pushing to get a better result this week. The drivers are very motivated to get both cars on the podium and win races again; they fought hard in Mexico and never gave up.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;The whole team has this fighting spirit so we go to Austin with big hopes.&rdquo;</p> <p>The 6 Hours of COTA takes place on Saturday, September 16th.</p> drivers hail 'awesome' team effort in MexicoMon, 04 Sep 2017 10:03:57 GMT<p>Porsche took a <a href="">commanding 1-2 victory at the 6 Hours of Mexico</a> on Sunday to extend their championship lead over Toyota&nbsp;and the winning trio in the #2 919 Hybrid hailed the &quot;awesome&quot; team effort&nbsp;to deliver the victory.</p> <p>Brendon Hartley said the car felt &quot;incredible&quot; from the very start of the weekend, which made him&nbsp;and his team-mates lives easy during the weekend.</p> <p>&quot;It was an awesome race by the Porsche team and I said it after qualifying that the first time we turned a wheel the car felt incredible and we just did small tweaks,&quot; said the New Zealander.&nbsp;&quot;Porsche really made our life as drivers easy and it was a pretty smooth race.&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;It is great for the championship and Timo [Bernhard]&nbsp;and Earl [Bamber]&nbsp;and the rest of the team have been great all weekend, so we are very happy to be extending the lead.&quot;</p> <p>Bamber added: &quot;As soon as the car rolled off the plane this week it has been great.</p> <p>&quot;The guys in the team did a lot of hard work especially with the high altitude. It is a true credit to the Porsche team and Brendon did a fantastic stint to hand the car over to me.</p> <p>&quot;It was a shame the No.1 car got a drive through penalty. We had to change a fuel-flow meter and we lost about 10 or 12 seconds with that. But apart from this it was all pretty smooth sailing.&quot;</p> <p>Bernhard warned that it&#39;s all still to play for as the series heads into its second half with four rounds remaining.</p> <p>&quot;First of all it was a fantastic day for Porsche. Brendon did a perfect opening stint and Earl took over and did a great job too,&quot; he added.</p> <p>&quot;We have four races left which is 100 points plus the four points for pole so the championship is far from over and we know that Toyota can come back strong. So for sure we will keep on concentrating but tonight we will enjoy this fabulous weekend.&quot;</p>, Aston Martin claim 6 Hours of Mexico victoriesMon, 04 Sep 2017 01:40:50 GMT<p><strong>Porsche extended its advantage in the World Endurance Championship drivers&#39; and manufacturers&#39; stakes with a commanding one-two result at the 6 Hours of Mexico.</strong></p> <p>Brendon Hartley, Earl Bamber and Timo Bernhard commanded the fifth round of the season to claim their third consecutive victory, as Toyota struggled for pace.</p> <p>Hartley led away from pole with Nick Tandy close behind in the sister car, but a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pit lane enabled the #2 919 Hybrid to steal a march at the front.</p> <p>After double stints from Hartley and Bamber, Bernhard rode through a pair of full course yellow periods during the fifth hour&nbsp;to take victory by seven seconds from Neel Jani in the recovering #1 machine.</p> <p>The first FCY occurred when a baseball found its way onto the circuit at turn four, while the second was called for car-related debris on the racing line.</p> <p>Toyota finished third and fourth, with the Sebastien Buemi/Kazuki Nakajima/Anthony Davidson TS050 claiming the final podium spot.</p> <p>Despite challenging Porsche during qualifying, the Toyotas never had the outright pace to match their LMP1 rivals, with both finishing off the lead lap.</p> <p>The second Toyota completed the top four as each of the top category&#39;s runners avoided mechanical problems and on-track incidents.</p> <p>The result means Hartley, Bamber and Bernhard extend their lead in the drivers&#39; championship to 41 points over Buemi, Nakajima and Davidson with four races remaining.</p> <p>In LMP2, Vaillante Rebellion drivers Bruno Senna, Nicolas Prost and Julien Canal secured the first victory for the Anglo-Swiss squad since its transition from the LMP1 category at the end of last season.</p> <p>Senna led the field early on after surging through from the second row of the grid, before handing over to Prost at the first opportunity.</p> <p>Canal put in a solid middle stint, although during the second half of the race the lead switched between the Rebellion crew and the Manor ORECA of Jean-Eric Vergne, Ben Hanley and Matt Rao, which ran a different strategy.</p> <p>A strong double stint from Senna helped establish a gap between the two entries, while Hanley battled for second with the Signatech Alpine A470 co-driven by Nicolas Lapierre, Gustavo Menezes and Andre Negrao.</p> <p>An unforced error from Hanley at the Foro Sol stadium section allowed Lapierre to slip past, although the Manor driver managed to preserve the final podium spot ahead of the G-Drive Racing ORECA and the sister Rebellion.</p> <figure class="image" style="float:left"><img alt="" height="220" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/WEC/jm1702se482(1).jpg" width="400" /> <figcaption>Sorensen/Thiim won in Pro</figcaption> </figure> <p><a href="">RESULT: 6 Hours of Mexico</a></p> <p><strong>Penalty hands GT win to Aston</strong></p> <p>Aston Martin clinched the top spot in the GTE-Pro category, after the leading Ferrari 488 was dealt a 10 second time penalty during the final hour.</p> <p>Davide Rigon was leading Nicki Thiim narrowly when the AF Corse Ferrari driver picked up the violation for speeding during a full course yellow.</p> <p>The two crews had diced relentlessly since the start of the contest, with Marco Sorensen making a pass on Rigon&#39;s team-mate Sam Bird during the second hour, before Rigon returned the favour in hour five.</p> <p>The result marked the first win of the season for the defending class champions, who had not finished on the podium in 2017 until this weekend.</p> <p>Aston Martin&#39;s sister car, meanwhile, retired early with a braking issue.</p> <p>Porsche took third in GTE-Pro with Frederic Makowiecki and Richard Lietz, while points leaders Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell settled for fourth in their Ford.</p> <p>GTE-Am honours went to the Proton Competition Porsche squad for the second race in a row.</p> leads 6 Hours of Mexico at halfwaySun, 03 Sep 2017 20:06:33 GMT<p><strong>Earl Bamber led the way for Porsche as the Mexico round of the World Endurance Championship hit the three-hour mark.</strong></p> <p>Driving the championship-leading 919 Hybrid shared with Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard, Bamber held a 20.324 second lead over Andre Lotterer in the sister Porsche shortly after the third round of pit stops.</p> <p>Hartley consolidated his pole position with a double stint before handing over to the New Zealander just before the two hour mark.</p> <p>At times during the first half the two Porsches were less than a second apart, but the margin increased when the #1 car picked up a drive through penalty for speeding in the pit lane.</p> <p>Toyota&#39;s TS050s ran a distant third and fourth at halfway, with the #8 car of Kazuki Nakajima running ahead of the #7 driven by Jose Maria Lopez.</p> <p>In LMP2, Vaillante Rebellion led G-Drive Racing by 27&nbsp;seconds following an impressive opening stint by Bruno Senna.</p> <p>The fast-starting Brazilian moved into the lead from third on the grid before working&nbsp;into a comfortable advantage, before handing the #31 ORECA-Gibson over to team-mate Nicolas Prost.</p> <p>Prost then consolidated the advantage, while the G-Drive&nbsp;ORECA and Signatech Alpine A470 continue to fight for second behind.</p> <p>An eventful opening half in GTE-Pro culminated with Ferrari&#39;s Sam Bird leading Nicki Thiim in the best-placed Aston Martin by seven seconds.</p> <p>Bird lost his pole position to Thiim&#39;s co-driver Marco Sorensen at the start of the second hour, before the&nbsp;Ferrari moved back ahead during the first round of stops.</p> <p>So far, GTE-Pro has been the most eventful category, with each manufacturer having one car involved in incidents.</p> <p>Aston Martin&#39;s #97 Vantage dropped out of contention early on with a braking issue, shortly before the #92 Porsche lost ground when Michael Christensen spun following contact with a GTE-Am runner.</p> <p>The most notable incident of the first three hours was a collision between the #66 Ford of Olivier Pla and #51 Ferrari of James Calado, which forced both to make emergency repairs.</p> <p>The pair touched whilst battling through&nbsp;the stadium section during the third hour, leaving the Ferrari with a left-rear puncture and the Ford with damage to its right-rear side.</p> <p>Following a quick service, the Ferrari managed to continue in third, ahead of the #91 Porsche, while the Ford dropped to seventh in class.</p> <p>GTE-Am was headed by the Proton Competition Porsche 911 RSR, which lost its lead at the start before Matteo Cairoli restored the original order with an overtake on Mathias Lauda&#39;s Aston Martin midway through hour three.</p> locks out front row for 6 Hours of MexicoSat, 02 Sep 2017 23:51:41 GMT<p><strong>LMP1 points leaders Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley will start the Mexico round of the World Endurance Championship from pole position, as Porsche claimed a front-row lockout at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.</strong></p> <p>With team-mate Earl Bamber watching on from the garage, Bernhard and Hartley set an average time of 1:24.564s to secure the #2 919 Hybrid&#39;s first pole of the campaign.</p> <p>Nick Tandy and Andre Lotterer finished 0.148 seconds off the pace in the sister Porsche, confirming the German manufacturer&#39;s first qualifying one-two since last year&#39;s 24 Hours of Le Mans.</p> <p>Toyota&#39;s TS050 Hybrids will start third and fourth, with the #7 car coming close to splitting the 919s during the 20-minute session.</p> <p>Mike Conway&#39;s initial lap was a tenth of a second quicker than Tandy&#39;s run, but Jose Maria Lopez fell two tenths short of Lotterer&#39;s marker, handing Porsche the edge on average.</p> <p>Lopez went out for a last-ditch&nbsp;run&nbsp;in the final two minutes, but by that point light rain had started to pepper the 2.6-mile circuit, thus preventing an improvement from the three-time touring car world champion.</p> <p>The sister Toyota qualified eight tenths off the overall pace.</p> <p>In LMP2, Andre Negrao and Nicolas Lapierre gave Signatech Alpine its first pole position start of 2017.</p> <p>Driving the Alpine A470-Gibson shared with Gustavo Menezes, the pair registered an average of 1:32.809s - three tenths better than the second-placed #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA.</p> <p>Vaillante Rebellion&#39;s #31 squad&nbsp;submitted the third-quickest time, ahead of the G-Drive Racing crew which had claimed three out of four WEC poles prior to&nbsp;the Mexico round.</p> <p>Pole position in GTE-Pro went to the AF Corse Ferrari squad for the second time this season.</p> <p>Davide Rigon and Sam Bird&nbsp;combined to form an average of 1:39.425s, nudging out the Aston Martin of Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen by a tenth.</p> <p>The pair of Ford GTs held a provisional one-two after the first set of runs, but a resurgent run from Bird helped push the Ferrari ahead after Rigon locked up at turn four.</p> <p>Aston Martin reverted to its initial drivers near the end of the session in a late bid to change the order, but Sorensen was unable to meet the target time.</p> <p>The British marque also lost out marginally in GTE-Am, as Abu Dhabi Proton Racing&rsquo;s Christian Ried and Matteo Cairoli ended Pedro Lamy and Paul Dalla Lana&rsquo;s 100% pole rate in 2017.</p> <p>Round five of the World Endurance Championship gets underway on Sunday, August 3rd at 12:00 local time (18:00 UK).</p> sweeps top places in 6 Hours of Mexico FP2Sat, 02 Sep 2017 16:38:47 GMT<p><strong>Porsche continued to set the pace&nbsp;at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriquez, as the German manufacturer once again swept the top two places during second practice for the 6 Hours of Mexico.</strong></p> <p>Brendon Hartley submitted the quickest time behind the wheel of the #2 919 Hybrid, which the New Zealander shares with Timo Bernhard and Earl Bamber.</p> <p>Hartley&#39;s 1:25.007s effort pipped Nick Tandy in the sister Porsche by half a second, whilst beating <a href="">Friday&#39;s best by two seconds</a>.</p> <p>For the second session in a row, the pair of Toyota TS050 Hybrids struggled for performance.</p> <p>Jose Maria Lopez registered the fastest lap for the Japanese constructor, although that was 1.674 seconds shy of the leading Porsche.</p> <p>In LMP2, Ho-Pin Tung led the way for the championship-leading Jackie Chan DC Racing squad.</p> <p>Tung&#39;s time of 1:33.390s aboard the #37 ORECA-Gibson put the Jota Sport-run outfit three tenths up on G-Drive Racing&#39;s Alex Lynn.</p> <p>With three victories from the opening four races, Tung, Oliver Jarvis and Thomas Laurent currently lead the class by 46 points over Vaillante Rebellion drivers Julien Canal and Bruno Senna, who lapped third in FP2.</p> <p>Fastest lap in GTE-Pro went the way of Aston Martin, as the pair of V8 Vantages swept the top two positions.</p> <p>The British marque settled for second in GTE-Am, however, as the Dempsey Proton Racing Porsche led for the second session in a row.</p> <p>Qualifying for the 6 Hours of Mexico is scheduled for later today (Saturday, August 2nd) at 17:50 local time (23:50 UK).</p> <p><strong>&nbsp;<a href="">RESULT: 6 Hours of Mexico FP2</a></strong></p> confirm changes to 2018 LMP1 regulationsSat, 02 Sep 2017 11:43:44 GMT<p><strong>Changes have been made to the LMP1 rulebook for the 2018 season, in a bid to make the category more attractive to potential manufacturers.</strong></p> <p>From next year, hybrid and non-hybrid cars will be aligned using the World Endurance Championship&#39;s Equivalence of Technology system, which controls the amount of energy each car is allowed to use per lap.</p> <p>Following Porsche&#39;s exit, Toyota remains the only hybrid manufacturer with an LMP1 entry, while Ginetta and SMP/Dallara have each committed to privately-run projects using non-hybrid machinery.</p> <p>The measure is intended to rein in the different types of power unit, although the hybrids would still hold a slight advantage in terms of fuel consumption.</p> <p>As a result of the change, the&nbsp;system of scoring LMP1 hybrids and non-hybrids in separate sub-classes will be axed.</p> <p>Furthermore, the proposed 2020 regulations which called for the <a href="">introduction of rapid charging plug-in hybrids</a> will be drastically altered.</p> <p>The rule stating that cars must complete the first kilometre out of the pits on electric power is set to be scrapped.</p> <p>A statement from the FIA and ACO said that &quot;more details on the technical regulations will be presented over the coming weeks&quot;, with cost-cutting believed to be at the heart of the planning.</p> <p>The WEC hopes that lower costs will result in renewed interest from manufacturers including Peugeot, which was involved in the creation of the 2020 ruleset.</p> <p>ACO president Pierre Fillon said: &ldquo;With all these decisions, we are confident of seeing a full and very competitive grid next season.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;We are already discussing with several manufacturers and privateer teams who are investigating very seriously entrance from 2018/2019 season in LMP1, taking into consideration that the LMP2 and GTE grids are already strong with a high level of commitment for the future.&rdquo;</p> leads 6 Hours of Mexico first practice with 1-2Sat, 02 Sep 2017 01:32:00 GMT<p><strong>Porsche swept the top two positions during Friday practice for the Mexico round of the World Endurance Championship.</strong></p> <p>Andre Lotterer set the fastest lap behind the wheel of the #1 919 Hybrid, while Earl Bamber followed up in the points-leading car at a wet Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.</p> <p>Lotterer&#39;s time of 1:27.026s forged a gap of 0.649 seconds between the two Porsches, while the nearest Toyota finished a second off the pace.</p> <p>Mike Conway turned in a 1:28.029s run to lead the sister TS050 by a further second.</p> <p>In LMP2, Nicolas Lapierre led the way for Signatech Alpine with a time of 1:34.556s.</p> <p>The French squad is running a revised lineup in Mexico following the withdrawal of its second Alpine A470-Gibson, and during practice all three drivers set times that would have been good enough to top the class.</p> <p>Beyond Lapierre, Andre Negrao and Gustavo Menezes also fell under the 1 minute 35s barrier.</p> <p>The only other LMP2 driver to achieve that number was Mathias Beche, driving the #13 Vaillante Rebellion ORECA 07.</p> <p>Bruno Senna took fourth in the second Rebellion, ahead of Roman Rusinov in the 6 Hours of Spa-winning G-Drive Racing ORECA.</p> <p>Fastest lap in GTE-Pro went to Ferrari&#39;s James Calado, as three different marques filled the top three places.</p> <p>Driving the turbocharged 488 shared with Alessandro Pier Guidi, Calado submitted a time of 1:41.101s.</p> <p>That was enough to edge out the Porsche of Fred Makowiecki by seven hundredths of a second, while Nicki Thiim lapped a further tenth down in the #95 Aston Martin.</p> <p>Porsche junior Matteo Cairoli set the pace in GTE-Am for the Dempsey Proton Racing squad.</p> <p>Second practice for round five of the World Endurance Championship takes place on Saturday, August 2nd at 17:15 local time.</p> <p><strong><a href="">RESULT: WEC 6 Hours of Mexico FP1</a></strong></p> Endurance Championship to run winter calendar next yearFri, 01 Sep 2017 22:01:11 GMT<p><strong>The World Endurance Championship will switch to a winter schedule next season, as part of a major calendar reshuffle.</strong></p> <p>Series CEO Gerard Neveu and ACO president Pierre Fillon&nbsp;unveiled the new-look format ahead of this weekend&#39;s race in Mexico, which could be&nbsp;the last in the&nbsp;country in light of the announcement.</p> <p>Since 2013&nbsp;the WEC has run an April to November schedule, but from next season races will straddle the two calendar years.</p> <p>To facilitate the transition from summer to winter programmes, next year&#39;s WEC - dubbed the&nbsp;&#39;Super Season&#39; - will last 18 months and include the 24 Hours of Le Mans twice.</p> <p>The 2019-2020 season will be held over seven races,&nbsp;which the FIA and ACO hope will set the &#39;cruising speed&#39; going forward in a bid to reduce costs.</p> <p>Another major change&nbsp;to the calendar is the return of the 12 Hours of Sebring, which featured as a round in the&nbsp;inaugural WEC season.</p> <p>The American endurance classic will be shared with the IMSA Sportscar Championship, although the two championships will run separate races on different days.</p> <p>IMSA&nbsp;will run its event on the Saturday of the weekend from 10 am to 10 pm, while the WEC version will take place on the Sunday from 12:00 midnight to 12:00 pm.</p> <p>Furthermore, there will be no British round of the championship next year with Silverstone taken off the calendar.</p> <p>With its contract due to expire at the end of this year,&nbsp;the traditional season-opener will not run in 2018, while COTA, Mexico City, the Nurburgring and Bahrain are also missing from the proposed schedule.</p> <p>Additionally, the Prologue test&nbsp;will move back to Paul Ricard after relocating to Monza in 2017.</p> <p><strong>2018-19 World Endurance Championship provisional calendar</strong></p> <table border="0" cellpadding="0" cellspacing="0" width="100%"> <tbody> <tr> <td>Date</td> <td>Event</td> </tr> <tr> <td>April 5-6</td> <td>Prologue Test, Circuit Paul Ricard (FRA)</td> </tr> <tr> <td>May 4-5</td> <td>WEC 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (BEL)</td> </tr> <tr> <td>June 16-17</td> <td>24 Hours of Le Mans (FRA)</td> </tr> <tr> <td>October 13-14</td> <td>6 Hours of Fuji (JPN)</td> </tr> <tr> <td>November 3-4</td> <td>6 Hours of Shanghai (CHN)</td> </tr> <tr> <td>February 2019</td> <td>Place and event TBC</td> </tr> <tr> <td>March 15-16</td> <td>12 Hours of Sebring (USA)</td> </tr> <tr> <td>May 3-4</td> <td>WEC 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (BEL)</td> </tr> <tr> <td>June 15-16</td> <td>24 Hours of Le Mans (FRA)</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <p>Calendar awaiting validation from the World Motorsport Council</p> Hanley, Matt Rao confirmed at Manor for 6 Hours of MexicoFri, 18 Aug 2017 13:06:12 GMT<p><strong>British sportscar racers Ben Hanley and Matt Rao have been added to the Manor WEC team&#39;s driver lineup for the 6 Hours of Mexico next month.</strong></p> <p>Hanley, 32, and Rao, 23, will co-drive an ORECA 07-Gibson with ex-Formula 1 competitor Jean-Eric Vergne at round five of the World Endurance Championship.</p> <p>Former Renault F1 development driver Hanley has made several one-off apperances in the WEC this season, starting with TDS Racing at the 6 Hours of Spa.</p> <p>After representing his parent DragonSpeed squad at Le Mans, Hanley returned to the TDS fold at the Nurburgring in a car run under the G-Drive Racing banner.</p> <p>The Mexico City event will mark his fourth drive in a different LMP2 entry this year.</p> <p>Rao, meanwhile, started the WEC LMP2 season with Signatech Alpine, but was left without a drive after the French team cancelled one of its entries and moved Andre Negrao into Rao&#39;s seat in the existing car.</p> <p>Rao started his sportscar career with Manor in 2016, when the team made its debut in the WEC.</p> <p>The two Brits will replace Jonathan Hirschi and Tor Graves in the car with Vergne, while the sister ORECA&#39;s lineup of Simon Trummer, Roberto Gonzalez and Vitaly Petrov remains unchanged.</p> <p>The 6 Hours of Mexico takes place on September 3rd at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City,</p> appoints new LMP1 team presidentFri, 04 Aug 2017 19:38:17 GMT<p><strong>The senior developer of Toyota&#39;s racing hybrids&nbsp;has been promoted to the role of LMP1 and motorsport team president, with immediate effect.</strong></p> <p>Hisatake Murata, the overseer of Toyota&#39;s hybrid racing powertrains since 2006, has replaced Toshio Sato at the helm of the Japanese manufacturer&#39;s motorsport program, covering both its World Endurance and World Rally Championship efforts.</p> <p>As part of a reshuffling within the senior management, Sato will be reassigned to a new role as head of the Toyota Motor Company&#39;s power train division having been in charge of racing operations since 2015.</p> <p>Murata&#39;s role at the motorsport team&#39;s Cologne HQ will also include responsibility for research and development&nbsp;projects, third party services and customer motorsport.</p> <p>&ldquo;I am proud to take this new role at TMG,&quot; said Murata.</p> <p>&quot;Since the beginning of our hybrid LMP1 project, I have built up a strong relationship with TMG members so I am looking forward to working together even more closely as we push to succeed in all areas.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;I would like to sincerely thank Sato for his leadership of TMG since 2015 and wish him all the best in his new position.&rdquo;</p> <p>Murata, 53, is one of Toyota&#39;s longest serving members of motorsport staff, having worked with the company since 1987.</p> <p>His&nbsp;roles have varied over the years, with stints on Toyota&#39;s Champ Car, Group C, Super GT and Super Formula projects, before being tasked with developing hybrid powertrains for the WEC and Le Mans.</p> <p>Murata&#39;s appointment to a new role comes against a backdrop of speculation regarding the WEC&#39;s future, following the confirmation that Porsche will withdraw from the LMP1 ranks at the end of the 2017 season.</p> <p>Toyota has pledged to stay on until the end of 2018, although doubts have been raised over the vitality of the championship with the prospect of only one hybrid manufacturer competing&nbsp;in the top category.</p> <p>Murata&#39;s first endurance race as team president will be the 6 Hours of Mexico on September 3rd.</p> calls Porsche's decision to pull out of LMP1 'precipitous'Fri, 28 Jul 2017 08:26:59 GMT<p>The World Endurance Championship has called Porsche&#39;s announcement that it will&nbsp;exit the series as an LMP1 manufacturer &quot;precipitous&quot; and said the Automobile Club de l&rsquo;Ouest (ACO) regretted the &quot;abruptness of the decision&quot;.</p> <p>Porsche confirmed on Friday that it would cancel its LMP1 programme to instead focus on a new Formula E venture, joining the all-electric racing series in Season 6 &ndash; the same season Mercedes will join, bolstering the grid which will include at least six manufacturer teams.</p> <p>In a statement, the WEC and ACO insisted its status hasn&#39;t been threatened by the depature of Porsche and Audi, leaving Toyota as the sole LMP1 manufacturer, and said it would &quot;immediately set to work to put forward to everyone involved in endurance racing the outline of the 2018 season&quot; which it promises to be &quot;quite exceptional thanks to the introduction of new innovations&quot;.</p> <p>The statement added: &quot;Clearly, the reduction of costs and stability, but also inventiveness and audacity, will be vital in making it possible to stage an increasingly spectacular and attractive championship with the sport of endurance racing at the forefront.&nbsp;</p> <p align="justify">&quot;This unprecedented 2018 World Championship will, without doubt, excite and enthuse competitors, partners and fans of endurance racing alike.&quot;</p> <p align="justify">It&#39;s expected that the LMP1 manufacturers&#39; standings will now be downgraded to cup status, with&nbsp;WEC boss Gerard Neveu previously stating that the series needed a minimum of two manufacturer LMP1 teams to&nbsp;qualify for full world championship status.</p> sportscar talent Ben Hanley looking to build on WEC one-offsWed, 19 Jul 2017 15:41:00 GMT<p><strong>Former Renault Formula 1 development driver Ben Hanley is hoping to turn his sporadic World Endurance Championship appearances into a more regular engagement following a successful start to 2017.</strong></p> <p>Hanley, 32, made his sportscar debut with European Le Mans Series LMP2 outfit DragonSpeed last year, but has also raced in the WEC as a guest driver.</p> <p>In May, the Brit joined TDS Racing for the 6 Hours of Spa, before making his 24 Hours of Le Mans debut with DragonSpeed.</p> <p>Last weekend&#39;s 6 Hours of the Nurburgring marked his&nbsp;third WEC appearance of the season with a return to the TDS fold, replacing Formula E-tied Alex Lynn behind the wheel of the team&rsquo;s G-Drive Racing sponsored ORECA 07-Gibson.</p> <p>Having reverted to karting when his single seater career stalled for financial reasons, Hanley is now looking to push for a full-time career in sportscars.</p> <p>&quot;Last year I got picked up to do the ELMS, and those performances have helped get me here in the WEC, so it&rsquo;s been a great 12 to 16 months,&rdquo; Hanley told <em>Motorsport</em>.</p> <p>&quot;With my ELMS campaign, plus Le Mans and Daytona,&nbsp;I&rsquo;ve had quite a lot of time in the ORECA.&rdquo;</p> <p>&quot;I feel very familiar with the car. I&rsquo;m comfortable with its details and the whole sportscar scene. This car seems to suit me better than last year&rsquo;s car [ORECA 05], so I&#39;m feeling really positive.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;Of course, it would be good to get a full-time drive. Last year was my first year in sportscars and endurance racing.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;This year&rsquo;s been going well and I&rsquo;ve already had some brilliant opportunities so it&rsquo;ll be good to continue that form.&quot;</p> <p>&ldquo;With 90% of the [WEC LMP2] teams choosing ORECA, it&rsquo;s practically a single-make category. You really do have to be at the top of your game to get the results.&rdquo;</p> <figure class="image" style="float:right"><img alt="" height="220" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/WEC/jm1714ju32.jpg" width="400" /> <figcaption>Sportscar switch led to a Le Mans drive with DragonSpeed.</figcaption> </figure> <p>So far, those results have made for good reading.</p> <p>In a dozen sportscar races, Hanley has accrued five ELMS podiums including one victory, and was one of&nbsp;the&nbsp;quickest drivers at the Nurburgring in a field that included the likes of Nicolas Lapierre, Oliver Jarvis and Bruno Senna.</p> <p>He even took pole at the German circuit, although a technical infringement meant he and team-mates Roman Rusinov and Pierre Thiriet had to recover from the back of the pack. With an additional three-minute penalty, the trio finished a respectable sixth.</p> <p><strong>An unconventional career</strong></p> <p>Hanley has taken an unusual route to sportscars.</p> <p>While most drivers seek a transition as soon as&nbsp;the Formula 1 dream becomes untenable, the Manchester native reverted to karting - typically the first step for any budding driver - as a way of continuing his motorsport career.</p> <p>After success in Formula Renault 2.0 and 3.5, Hanley reached as far as GP2 in 2008 before losing his backing from the Renault Driver Development scheme.</p> <p>After trying other open wheel&nbsp;championships including Superleague Formula and the F3000 Euroseries, he decided to abandon his plans and pursue the karting route with plenty of success.</p> <p>In 2013 he finished second in the CIK-FIA World KF Championship, before winning the European title two years later.</p> <p>The time away from the car racing cockpit meant his FIA driver rating had dropped to silver, but with none of his talent lost he became an ideal target for sportscar teams looking to fill the void for a lower-rated driver.</p> <p>&quot;Car racing is my priority, but I still love karting and I&rsquo;m still doing it,&quot; Hanley said.</p> <p>&quot;I&rsquo;m still learning all the time,&nbsp;even now. Despite competing for so long I still need to be open and willing to learn new things.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;Whether that&rsquo;s through racing, tyres, or a new car, the principle can be applied to all different types of racing and different styles of driving.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;I&rsquo;m probably one of the few people to still do both competitively: not many people look at doing karting alongside a car racing career.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;Physically it&rsquo;s really tough, and in terms of race craft it&rsquo;s really useful. Kart races are always super close with cars separated by a tenth or two, so it&rsquo;s not easy. It&rsquo;s very good for keeping me&nbsp;alert and busy.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;It&#39;s been a while since I raced at some of these [WEC and ELMS] tracks, but the corners and the lines are the same so it only takes a couple of laps to get back into the swing of things.&quot;</p> <p>In terms of where Hanley (now gold-rated) wants to be in the future, the book is open.</p> <p>LMP1 is a big target for many sportscar drivers despite being one of the most exclusive categories in motorsport, but GT racing has also piqued&nbsp;his&nbsp;interest.</p> <p>&quot;Anything can happen at the moment, and I&rsquo;d love to be in the LMP1 class, and tied to a manufacturer if possible,&rdquo; he said.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m just continuing to work away and get the maximum every time in the car, to see where the work takes me.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;I&rsquo;d be interested in doing some GT racing, too,&nbsp;especially at&nbsp;races like the Spa 24 Hours.&nbsp;It&rsquo;s an event that every driver in endurance racing wants to do, and if I had the opportunity then I would definitely do it. I&rsquo;m not there next weekend, though!&rdquo;</p> <p>Hanley still has four ELMS races to run this year, plus a dozen or so karting events, but has no immediate plans to return to the WEC.</p> <p>However, strong performances to round out the season will only serve to raise his rapidly growing stock, and potentially lead to a permanent home in the world&#39;s premier sportscar series.</p> <p>For now, though, Hanley is maintaining a pragmatic stance until the right opportunity arrives.</p> <p>&quot;I don&rsquo;t think it&rsquo;s right to put too much pressure on a certain event or drive, because then you start to put too much pressure on yourself and mistakes are made,&quot; he said.</p> <p>&quot;I just need to keep my head down and keep pushing, and hopefully something will come along.&quot;</p> <p><em>Hanley&#39;s next race with DragonSpeed is the 4 Hours of the Red Bull Ring, on July 23rd.</em></p> reveals cause of #7 car trouble at 6H NurburgringTue, 18 Jul 2017 08:33:44 GMT<p><strong>Toyota has revealed that damage to the #7 car&#39;s aerodynamic profile led to a drop in pace for Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez and Mike Conway&nbsp;at the 6 Hours of the Nurburgring.</strong></p> <p>After leading the first two hours, the pole-sitting&nbsp;TS050 Hybrid lost around 20 seconds to the pair of Porsche 919s during the double-stints.</p> <p>That gap multiplied over the remaining four hours, with the Toyota crew&nbsp;finishing third and over a minute behind the winning #2 Porsche of Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Earl Bamber.</p> <p>The sister Toyota finished five laps down following a fuel pump malfunction on the formation lap, on a weekend that saw Porsche extend its World Endurance Championship points lead in both the drivers&#39; and manufacturers&#39; stakes.</p> <p>After a post-race evaluation, the Toyota team found that the #7 car had suffered from an issue with &quot;aerodynamic balance migration.&quot;</p> <p>A statement issued by the team confirmed that the upset in balance was caused by damage to the underfloor of the TS050.</p> <p>&quot;Post-race investigation has revealed significant damage to the underfloor of the #7 car as well as a hole in the rear wing, which caused cracks in the main plane during the race,&quot; it said.</p> <p>&quot;The team believes this damage was caused by kerb riding for the underfloor and by unidentified flying debris which struck the leading edge of the rear wing main plane.&quot;</p> <p>Kobayashi, Lopez and Conway left the Nurburgring fifth in the WEC drivers&#39; championship, 71.5 points off the Bernhard/Hartley/Bamber Porsche crew.</p> <p>The sister Toyota, driven by Sebastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima, sits second in the table and 30 points adrift following its recovery drive to fourth place on Sunday.</p> lands 1-2 at 6 Hours of NurburgringSun, 16 Jul 2017 17:06:10 GMT<p><strong>Porsche extended its lead in the World Endurance drivers&#39; and manufacturers&#39; championships with a one-two result at the 6 Hours of the Nurburgring.</strong></p> <p>Earl Bamber, Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley beat the identical 919 Hybrid&nbsp;driven by Andre Lotterer, Nick Tandy and Neel Jani&nbsp;by a margin of 1.606 seocnds.</p> <p>The pair of Porsches dominated round four of the WEC, with the nearest Toyota TS050 Hybrid finishing over a minute back on the lead lap.</p> <p>Hartley took the lead from Jose Maria Lopez in the pole-sitting #7 Toyota during the second hour with a well-timed lunge down the inside at turn one, before Jani slipped into second shortly after.</p> <p>From there, the German manufacturer never looked back, extending its lead with superior outright pace throughout the contest.</p> <p>The two Porsches briefly switched positions when Earl Bamber overtook Nick Tandy on lap 111, but reverted to their long-standing order when Bamber needed to take avoiding action against a spinning LMP2 car at the chicane.</p> <p>With the #1 car placed higher in the championship than the #2, Porsche took the decision to switch the two at the final round of pit stops with 15 minutes to go, sealing a result that&nbsp;marks the extension of Bernhard, Bamber and Hartley&#39;s points lead over the #8 Toyota crew from 17 to 30&nbsp;points.</p> <p>It also signaled the first one-two for Porsche since the 6 Hours of Shanghai in 2015.</p> <p>Toyota&#39;s lead car finished third, 1m 4.768 seconds down, while the team&#39;s siter car&nbsp;came through in fourth and six laps adrift after suffering a fuel pump failure on the formation lap.</p> <p>LMP2 class honours went to the Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA-Gibson that finished second overall at the 24 Hours of Le Mans last month.</p> <p>Oliver Jarvis, Ho-Pin Tung and Thomas Laurent resisted an early challenge from the pair of Vaillante Rebellion ORECAs to increase their championship lead with a third win of the year.</p> <p>Jarvis dropped behind the two Rebellions at the start, but reclaimed second place in the pits before overtaking Bruno Senna for the lead in the second hour.</p> <p>The Jackie Chan crew held the lead from that point onward, with Tung taking the chequered flag one lap&nbsp;clear&nbsp;of Senna&#39;s #31 co-driven by Julien Canal and David Heienemeier Hansson.</p> <p>Signatech Alpine pipped the other Rebellion to third after a thrilling race-long battle between the two crews, as Nicolas Lapierre found four seconds of daylight to shut out Mathias Beche.</p> <p>Rounding out the top five in class was the #37 Jackie Chan DC Racing entry, piloted by Alex Brundle, David Cheng and Tristan Gommendy.</p> <p>In GTE-Pro, Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado gave the AF Corse Ferrari squad its second victory of the campaign, and the first for the #51 488 Italia.</p> <p>After a tight opening stint involving all four manufacturers, the Ferrari emerged on top through a combination of outright pace and an ability to run longer on its Michelin tyres.</p> <p>Pier Guidi crossed the line with 49 seconds between himself and the second-placed Porsche of Richard Lietz and Frederic Makowiecki, which Calado passed for the lead at the start of the fourth hour.</p> <p>Kevin Estre and Michael Christensen completed the podium in their pole-sitting 911 RSR, while Aston Martin&#39;s Nicki Thiim held off Harry Tincknell (who recovered from a spin induced by one of the LMP1 Porsches) in the battle for fourth.</p> <p>GTE-Am victory went the way of the Proton Competition Porsche 911 RSR driven by Christian Ried, Marvin Dienst and factory junior Matteo Cairoli.</p> leads 6 Hours of Nurburgring at halfwaySun, 16 Jul 2017 14:16:50 GMT<p><strong>Porsche held first and second place at the Nurburgring as the fourth round of the World Endurance Championship reached its three-hour point.</strong></p> <p>Having just completed the third round of LMP1 pit stops, Nick Tandy held a 5.796s&nbsp;advantage over Earl Bamber in the sister 919 Hybrid.</p> <p>The pair recently took over from Neel Jani and Brendon Hartley respectively, who battled for the lead during the second hour.</p> <p>Jani overtook Hartley on lap 69 following the second round of stops, breaking the order of the two cars that had stood since the start of the race.</p> <p>Jose Maria Lopez led in the pole-sitting Toyota until lap 41, when Hartley made a clean lunge down the inside at the sharp first corner.</p> <p>Lopez, who took over from the #7 car&#39;s starting driver&nbsp;Kamui Kobayashi, then fell back to third behind the now-leading Porsche before handing over to Mike Conway.</p> <p>At the close of hour three, Conway was 27 seconds off the lead.</p> <p>The sister Toyota, started by Sebastien Buemi, had a nightmarish start when it suffered a fuel pressure problem on the formation lap.</p> <p>Buemi managed to nurse the car back to the pits but lost six laps in repairs, before recovering through the LMP2 field.</p> <p>Anthony Davidson was at the helm as the halfway mark passed, with the #8 car circulating four laps adrift.</p> <p><a href="">Result: 6 Hours of Nurburgring after three hours</a></p> <p>In LMP2, Ho-Pin Tung led for the Jackie Chan DC Racing outfit with a 50 second lead to the sister car driven by Tristan Gommendy.</p> <p>Despite losing the lead to the pair of Vaillante Rebellion ORECAs at the start, Tung&#39;s team-mate Oliver Jarvis recovered to pass Mathias Beche (#13) in the pits and Bruno Senna (#31) on the run down to the final chicane during hour two.</p> <p>Gommendy emerged at the front of a terrific battle between his #38 Jackie Chan car, the #36 Signatech Alpine, and the pair of Rebellions, which partly allowed Tung to build such a large gap.</p> <p>Porsche&#39;s pole-sitting 911 RSR of Kevin Estre and Michael Christensen led the GTE-Pro race into its second half, with the #51 Ferrari close behind.</p> <p>Aston Martin fronted the class field initially after Christensen locked up at the first corner, allowing Marco Sorensen to move ahead, but waning grip levels on the AMR Vantage&#39;s tyres enabled the Porsche crew to regain the ascendancy.</p> <p>Porsche also held sway in GTE-Am, after Matteo Cairoli (Proton Competition 911 RSR) overtook Mathias Lauda in the #98 Aston Martin that had commanded the race since the start.</p> Estre predicting 'very open' GTE fight despite Porsche paceSun, 16 Jul 2017 09:02:07 GMT<p><strong>Porsche GT factory driver Kevin Estre believes there is no way of predicting the GTE-Pro battle at this weekend&#39;s Nurburgring round of the World Endurance Championship, despite scoring pole for the German manufacturer.</strong></p> <p>Estre and team-mate Michael Christensen gave the new-for-2017 Porsche 911 RSR its maiden WEC pole position on Saturday afternoon, beating the #95 Aston Martin Vantage of Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen by three tenths of a second.</p> <p>The sister Porsche will start from the row behind, after Richard Lietz and Frederic Makowiecki qualified third.</p> <p>However, Estre is refusing to believe that the qualifying result can tell anything about how Sunday afternoon&#39;s six-hour contest will pan out.</p> <p>&quot;We knew we would be quick and challenging for pole, but we didn&rsquo;t do any runs on low fuel on new tyres, so we didn&rsquo;t know what our grip level would be,&quot; Estre told <em>Motorsport</em>.</p> <p>&quot;The circuit grip improved for qualifying, but it was still a big question mark if we could get pole so we&rsquo;re really happy because it&rsquo;s something we&rsquo;ve been waiting for.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;In qualifying they [Aston] were strong, but in the race it&rsquo;s going to be different because they have Dunlop tyres rather than the rest who run on Michelins.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;It&rsquo;s a little easier to know how Ford and Ferrari will do because we know about their tyres and can try to match what they are doing.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;Aston has been quite far off in WEC so far &ndash; they did well at Le Mans because of the specific sets of tyres that are used there &ndash; so it&rsquo;s difficult to know where they will be on the long runs.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;In practice we can&rsquo;t tell what tyres other teams are using. I think it&rsquo;s going to be very open, and tyre management will be a big key because we don&rsquo;t really know how the Dunlops are going to react to the conditions.&quot;</p> <p>Pole position at the Nurburgring was Estre and Christensen&#39;s best result of 2017, following a fruitless start to the year that included a sixth-place finish at Spa sandwiched by retirements at Silverstone and Le Mans.</p> <p>The pair currently sit 12th in the GT Drivers&#39; World Championship, behind two GTE-Am crews, so a good result at the Nurburgring is required to re-inject some purpose into their full-season campaign.</p> <p>&quot;We&rsquo;re not in the top half of the points, so for us we can&rsquo;t say that the championship is over but it would be really tough to come back,&quot; said Estre.</p> <p>&quot;The sister car isn&rsquo;t in a great position either but they are slightly higher in the points so I think they can still achieve something if they have a really strong second half of the season. &quot;</p> <p>&quot;At the moment there are no team orders or anything&hellip;everyone is just trying to do their job and trying to get the best result out of the performance we have.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;In our car, we are not thinking aboout the championship &ndash; we are doing it race by race, and that means we can risk it a little bit more because we have a bigger gap to bridge than the others.&quot;</p> <p>Porsche&#39;s latest 911 RSR program revolves around a car with the engine positioned slightly behind the driver, rather than the typical rear-engine setup.</p> <p>Variations of&nbsp;the car run in both&nbsp;the WEC and the North American IMSA championship, where the US-based Porsche team claimed its first global global position last week at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park.</p> <p>Estre took part in the first three races of the IMSA season before handing his seat to Gianmaria Bruni, so has been involved in the development of the package on both sides of the Atlantic.</p> <p>&quot;We had a good base for the first race at Daytona where we competitive and had one car finish second,&quot; he said.</p> <p>&quot;We have shown from the start of both seasons that our race pace is good, but we have seen lots of good progression in our qualifying results.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;It&rsquo;s great to have both the US and WEC cars doing well at the same time. We can benefit from what the IMSA team learn and vice versa. They&rsquo;ve had more testing time in the US because we have had to take lots of time to focus on Le Mans.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;We have a really close connection between both teams in the US and here, so that helps us a lot. To have two poles in a row is great, but they couldn&rsquo;t manage to get the victory last week&nbsp;so we are hoping to get it here.&quot;</p> <p>Round four of the World Endurance Championship is set to get underway at 13:00 (CEST) on Sunday, July 16th.</p> Racing loses 6H Nurburgring LMP2 poleSat, 15 Jul 2017 18:11:37 GMT<p><strong>The G-Drive Racing ORECA-Gibson that clinched pole position for the Nurburgring round of the World Endurance Championship has been demoted to the back of the prototype grid, following a scrutineering decision.</strong></p> <p>Referring to article 3.5.6 d of the LMP2 technical regulations, the car&#39;s front skid block deflected more than the maximum 5mm allowance.</p> <p>Ben Hanley and Pierre Thiriet had put the #26 car on pole position with an average time of 1:45.001s, but the infringement means all their laps have been deleted.</p> <p>That promotes the championship-leading #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA-Gibson of Oliver Jarvis, Thomas Laurent and Ho-Pin Tung&nbsp;to the front spot on the class grid.</p> <p>The pair of Vaillante Rebellion ORECAs move up to second and third, whilst the #35 Signatech Alpine slots into fourth place.</p> <p>The stewards&#39; decision marks another major blow for the G-Drive Racing team, which must observe a three-minute stop and hold penalty during the race in reparation for a crash caused by Roman Rusinov at last month&#39;s 24 Hours of Le Mans.</p> 'surprised' by Porsche's high-downforce performanceSat, 15 Jul 2017 16:59:05 GMT<p><strong>Porsche LMP1 driver Nick Tandy says he is pleasantly surprised at the showing of the team&#39;s new high-downforce aero configuration, which makes its World Endurance Championship debut at the Nurburgring this weekend.</strong></p> <p>Tandy, who co-drives the #1 Porsche 919 Hybrid with Andre Lotterer and Neel Jani, reckons the car will be stronger in the&nbsp;low-speed corner combinations than previously expected.</p> <p>Porsche led Friday practice for the fourth round of the WEC, before Toyota snatched pole position on Saturday afternoon, although the 919s have been closer to their TS050 rivals than they were at the opening two rounds.</p> <p>The German manufacturer opted to use its Le Mans-style low-downforce aero kit at Silverstone and Spa, to maximise&nbsp;the development time of the high-downforce kit which is traditionally reserved for the six-hour contests.</p> <p>Having tested the new bodywork for the first time on Friday, Tandy believes the delay was worth the step up in performance.</p> <p>&quot;I&rsquo;m surprised how much of a step it is.&quot; Tandy told <em>Motorsport</em>.</p> <p>&quot;Normally you&rsquo;d expect to really feel the aerodynamics in the high-speed corners, but what we&rsquo;re seeing is that it&rsquo;s actually working really well in the medium and slow speed ones.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;That&rsquo;s where we&rsquo;re gaining extra lap times at the moment. It&#39;s a real positive, because attaining the top-end speed figures&nbsp;in the faster corners is one thing, but to get &lsquo;usable&rsquo; aero in the slow-speed zones is probably more important. So it&rsquo;s good, it&rsquo;s working well.&quot;</p> <p>The high-downforce kit was tested for the first time at the Circuit de Catalunya shortly after Le Mans, although none of the #1 car&nbsp;drivers were present.</p> <p>Nevertheless, Tandy and his team-mates have been closely monitoring the process of development, and have noticed substantial improvements in the wind tunnel readings leading up to the Nurburgring event.</p> <p>&quot;At the first test of the high-downforce kit the results weren&rsquo;t quite correlating, so they went back to the tunnel and did a bit more work, and what&rsquo;s come out this time is actually quite well simulated,&quot; said Tandy.</p> <figure class="image" style="float:right"><img alt="" height="220" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/WEC/M17_3516_fine.jpg" width="400" /> <figcaption>Early signs indicate the new-look Porsche will be strong. (Porsche)</figcaption> </figure> <p>&quot;The information that&#39;s been&nbsp;simulated in the wind tunnel is being accurately reflected on the track.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;That&rsquo;s a positive because when you&rsquo;re trying to develop things in the tunnel, you want to be able to change things in the same way that you&rsquo;d hope to change them out on the circuit.&quot;</p> <p>With its high-downforce aero kit locked in for the remainder of the nine-race WEC season, Porsche has the final tool it will use to fight for a third consecutive World Manufacturers&#39; Championship.</p> <p>However, with the variations in circuit layouts over the remaining six events, the team is wary that its performance will be highly dependent on how the high-downforce kit is set up at each round.</p> <p>&quot;There will be some variation between circuits,&quot; said Tandy.</p> <p>&quot;The obvious downside is drag. Places like Fuji and Mexico&nbsp;have big, long straights, so how we work our aero package against the competition is going to be one of the keys on each weekend.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;Here it&rsquo;s a bit more simple because the straights are so short and the corners are so dominant that you just pile on as much downforce as you can get.&quot;</p> <p>Porsche will start second and third at the Nurburgring, following a close-knit qualifying session.</p> <p>Both 919 Hybrids opted to use two sets of tyres during the shootout, although the team doesn&#39;t expect that decision to affect its durability during the race.</p> <p>As Tandy explains, tyre management will be paramount to putting in a winning performance, even if it means taking on an extra set during the timed runs.</p> <p>&quot;[Changing tyres in qualifying] conditions the tyres for the longer runs, but I think we see the starting position as more important than saving a lap on the tyres during the race,&quot; he explained.</p> <p>&quot;I think a stint is going to be around 36 laps or so, so if you&rsquo;re double stinting that&rsquo;s nearly 70 laps or one hour and 40 minutes on a single set of tyres, which is crucial.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;As we found out at Silverstone and Spa, if you can&rsquo;t keep your pace up in the double stint, you win or lose races.&quot;</p> clinches pole for 6 Hours of NurburgringSat, 15 Jul 2017 14:17:24 GMT<p><strong>Toyota will start tomorrow&#39;s Nurburgring round&nbsp;of the World Endurance Championship from pole position, following a close-knit qualifying session.</strong></p> <p>Jose Maria Lopez and Kamui Kobayashi set the fastest average time during the 15-minute run, pipping the best-placed Porsche 919 Hybrid by 0.154 seconds.</p> <p>After holding the top-spot during the early stages, Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard settled for second with both Porsche drivers lapping a fraction slower than the pole-sitters.</p> <p>Despite setting the fastest outright lap through Andre Lotterer, the #1&nbsp;Porsche finished third with a slower average.</p> <p>Lotterer&#39;s time of 1:37.886s was complemented by a 1:38.671&nbsp;from team-mate Neel Jani, which slotted the duo ahead of the #8 Toyota.</p> <p>The result marked Toyota&#39;s third pole position of 2017, and the first with both manufacturers&nbsp;pitting their high-downforce aero configurations against each other.</p> <p>In LMP2, G-Drive Racing continued its 100% pole position streak as Ben Hanley and Pierre Thiriet commanded the class in the #26 ORECA-Gibson.</p> <p>On his first start in the TDS-entered, G-Drive branded car, Hanley reeled off a low 1m 43 before silver-rated Thiriet backed that up with a mid-1m 45 effort.</p> <p>Although Thiriet&#39;s attempt was two tenths slower than Oliver Jarvis in the #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA, Hanley&#39;s run was over half a second better than Thomas Laurent, who started the Jota Sport-run car.</p> <p>Row two of the LMP2 grid will be occupied by the pair of Vaillante Rebellion ORECAs, while the #35 Signatech Alpine completes the top five.</p> <p>The G-Drive Racing crew will be required to take a three-minute stop and hold penalty during Sunday&#39;s race, as reparation for an incident caused by Roman Rusinov at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.</p> <p>Porsche took its first WEC pole with the new&nbsp;911 RSR as Kevin Estre and Michael Christensen paced the GTE-Pro field.</p> <p>After securing the car&#39;s first global pole at last week&#39;s IMSA round in Canada, Porsche got off the mark in the GT world championship with a comprehensive performance at the 3.2 mile circuit.</p> <p>Christensen&#39;s early 1:53.779 marker stood as the best time afternoon, while Estre&#39;s 1:54.235&nbsp;was enough to put the #92 car on top by three tenths of a second&nbsp;from the #95 Aston Martin Vantage piloted by Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen.</p> <p>Third was the sister Porsche driven by Frederic Makowiecki and Richard Lietz, ahead of the best Ford GT of Stefan Mucke and Olivier Pla.</p> <p>GTE-Am pole went to the #98 Aston Martin driven by Paul Dalla Lana and Pedro Lamy.</p> <p>Several cars had incidents in both the GT and Prototype sessions, with Dominik Kraihamer (ByKolles LMP1) and Julien Canal (Rebellion LMP2) suffering spins.</p> <p>In GT, the Spirit of Race Ferrari dropped to the foot of the order after Thomas Flohr rotated into the gravel at turn&nbsp;one.</p> <p>With qualifying complete, attention turns to the 6 Hours of the Nurburgring itself, with the race set to begin at 13:00 local time (CEST).</p> responds to Porsche in 6H Nurburgring warm upSat, 15 Jul 2017 09:11:58 GMT<p><strong>Toyota swept the top two times during Saturday morning&#39;s qualifying warm up for the 6 Hours of the Nurburgring.</strong></p> <p>Having lost out to the Porsche 919 Hybrids on Friday, the TS050s responsed by going over a second quicker than their LMP1 rivals.</p> <p>Jose Maria Lopez led the way with a time of 1:38.969s behind the wheel of the #7 car, with Kazuki Nakajima slotting 0.427 seconds behind.</p> <p>The fastest Porsche, driven by Timo Bernhard, could only muster a 1:40.635s marker, although the team still holds the fastest lap of the weekend thanks to <a href="">Brendon Hartley&#39;s Friday afternoon run</a>.</p> <p>Toyota is aiming for its third pole position of 2017, after clinching the top spot at Silverstone and Le Mans.</p> <p>In LMP2, Vaillante Rebellion topped the timesheets thanks to a 1:46.017s time from Bruno Senna.</p> <p>The Brazilian finished two tenths up on Nelson Panciatici in the #35 Signatech Alpine, and a further tenth up on Oliver Jarvis in <a href="">the Le Mans class-winning Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA</a>.</p> <p>Fastest in GTE-Pro was the #66 Ford GT of Stefan Mucke, which posted a 1:54.875.</p> <p>That turned out to be 2.6 seconds under the previous best time of the weekend, set by the #91 Porsche.</p> <p>Ferrari followed Ford in the FP3 order, although the Italian team ran into trouble late in the session when its #71 488 Italia stopped on track.</p> <p>Toni Vilander, who is replacing the Formula E-bound Sam Bird this weekend,&nbsp;was due to hand the car over to team-mate Davide Rigon for the final two laps, but the Finn spun at the final corner meaning he was unable to enter the pits. That caused the Ferrari to run out of fuel on its extra lap around the 3.4 mile GP circuit, resulting in local yellow flags.</p> <p>Vilander still managed to record a 1:56.221, which stood as the second-best time behind Mucke.</p> <p>Qualifying for the 6 Hours of the Nurburgring is set to take place later today (Saturday, July 15th) at 14:55 local time (CEST).</p> <p><a href="">RESULT: 6 Hours of the Nurburgring FP3</a></p> Chan DC Racing eyeing potential Daytona 24 entrySat, 15 Jul 2017 07:19:09 GMT<p><strong>LMP2 outfit Jackie Chan DC Racing is looking at the possibility of entering the Daytona 24 Hours, according to team owner David Cheng.</strong></p> <p>After winning its class and finishing second and third overall at the 24 Hours of Le Mans last month, the DC Racing team, run by Jota Sport, is toying with the idea of expanding beyond the World Endurance Championship.</p> <p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve done all our homework, and we&rsquo;ve done our legwork, which is establishing a very good team with a great group of guys, and now from the commercial side with Jackie and all the opportunities in China,&rdquo; Cheng told <em>Motorsport Week.</em></p> <p>&ldquo;With some foresight and preparation, we&rsquo;ll be ready for a few different scenarios, including North America.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;Sebring has been checked off [in 2013 with PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports], and now the achievement of Le Mans has been checked off&hellip; but Daytona is missing for me&nbsp;still.&rdquo;</p> <p>Cheng, who co-founded&nbsp;the DC Racing operation with Hollywood superstar and racing enthusiast Jackie Chan last year, believes a North American venture is possible, but only with stability in the regulations.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s very interesting what&rsquo;s developing out there with the DPi and LMP2 formulas,&rdquo; he said.</p> <p>&ldquo;Even this month, there have been a lot of fluctuations about whether Prototype should become a split class or if LMP2 should be left integrated, and from my point of view, there&rsquo;s no reason to split DPi and LMP2 because it&rsquo;s starting to become very close.&quot;</p> <p>&ldquo;I think it would be a little premature to do anything drastic&nbsp;with the regulations [under evaluation].&quot;</p> <p>&quot;There are things that I think we can bring to the table over in America, but few people have taken the opportunity because it&rsquo;s still very early and these are all new cars to everyone, so we need to make sure we don&rsquo;t bite off more than we can chew.&nbsp;The opportunities it creates are very interesting, though.&quot;</p> <p>&ldquo;For us, if we were to go and do anything on the American side, we would want to be fighting for overall victory.&quot;</p> <p>Part of the reason Cheng has been looking at Daytona, and other North American endurance contests such as the 12 Hours of Sebring, is that the team has &quot;done the legwork&quot;&nbsp;in creating a mandate for support.</p> <p>Since the success of Le Mans, Cheng and his fellow drivers have been travelling back and forth to China to spread the word about their programme to a burgeoning regional market.</p> <p>With growing interest from home, and from the WEC community, the possibility of Jackie Chan DC Racing expanding its global presence has been given a significant boost. Now, according to Cheng, it is a simple case of waiting&nbsp;for the ideal opportunity to arise.</p> <p>&ldquo;Le Mans gave us a boost in our reputation as a team, and it also brought the sport alive back home,&quot; he said.</p> <p>&quot;It opened a market for endurance racing there.&nbsp;There&rsquo;s a lot of ambition on the table.&quot;</p> <p>&ldquo;With all those opportunities, we know what may happen and what may come to us, but all I can say is that I can&rsquo;t control what I can&rsquo;t control.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;I can go there [to China], do the speeches and give all the reasons why, but now it&rsquo;s almost like fishing: we just need to wait patiently to see what opportunities will be brought to us.&rdquo;</p> <p>&quot;From our side, it&rsquo;s one of those things where we build the team to be ready for expansion. My whole theory is like Noah&#39;s Ark: if you build it, they will come.&quot;</p> dealt seven-minute stop-go penalty for 6 Hours of NurburgringFri, 14 Jul 2017 19:24:22 GMT<p><strong>The #24 CEFC Manor TRS Racing LMP2 car&nbsp;will observe a seven-minute stop and go penalty during Sunday&#39;s World Endurance Championship contest at the Nurburgring, following an illegal overtake in free practice.</strong></p> <p>Jonathan Hirschi was driving the Manor ORECA&nbsp;when he overtook Olivier Pla&#39;s Ford GT whilst the red flags were out for an incident involving a German photographer.</p> <p>The photographer was situated in an illegal &#39;red zone&#39; at&nbsp;Ford corner, prompting a stoppage that affected the entire circuit.</p> <p>According to a stewards&#39; report Hirschi failed to slow down sufficiently, before colliding with Pla and spinning.</p> <p>&quot;The stewards considered that this incident was a serious fault from driver of car number 24,&quot; the report stated.</p> <p>&quot;His explanations to check his speed limiter are not excusing his behaviour.&quot;</p> <p>Additionally, the car will be required to take a further seven-minute stop and go penalty if it is found guilty of causing any red flag event during the next three races, which are held in&nbsp;the United States, Mexico and Japan.</p> <p>Hirschi is joined at the Nurburgring&nbsp;by&nbsp;regular Manor team-mate&nbsp;Tor Graves,&nbsp;and Roberto Merhi who is filling in for the Formula E-bound Jean-Eric Vergne.</p> tumble at the Nurburgring as Porsche leads second practiceFri, 14 Jul 2017 16:08:27 GMT<p><strong>Porsche finished one second ahead of LMP1 rival Toyota during the second practice session for round four of the World Endurance Championship at the Nurburgring.</strong></p> <p>An early 1:38.663s marker from Brendon Hartley put the championship-leading 919 Hybrid 1.110 seconds up on the nearest TS050, driven by Anthony Davidson.</p> <p>It marked a drastic improvement to times set previously at the 3.2 mile GP Strecke, with the leading Porsche going three seconds quicker than it did during the morning and one second faster than last year&#39;s qualifying average.</p> <p>Porsche ended Friday practice with the two quickest cars, as Andre Lotterer backed Hartley&#39;s time up with a 1:39.629 that dipped slightly under Davidson&#39;s attempt.</p> <p>All the top numbers were posted in the 90-minute afternoon session, which started under clear skies but ended with light rain around the circuit.</p> <p>The Friday result&nbsp;marked the first time Porsche has led a practice session for a six-hour WEC race this year, after Toyota dominated at Silverstone and Spa.</p> <p>The German manufacturer is running its brand-new high-downforce aero configuration - designed to improve cornering speeds - for the first time this weekend.</p> <p>Toyota debuted its high-drag setup at Silverstone, with Porsche deciding to delay rolling out its bodywork until after Le Mans to maximise its development time.</p> <p><a href="">RESULT: 6 Hours of the Nurburgring FP1</a></p> <p><a href="">RESULT: 6 Hours of the Nurburgring FP2</a></p> <p>Friday&#39;s fastest lap in LMP2 came courtesy of Ben Hanley, driving the G-Drive backed ORECA-Gibson run by TDS Racing.</p> <p>Hanley is guesting at G-Drive Racing&nbsp;following a late call-up to replace team regular Alex Lynn, who is contesting the&nbsp;New York Formula E round this weekend.</p> <p>The Brit reeled off a time of 1:47.188s to put the G-Drive car three tenths up on Mathias Beche&nbsp;in the #13 Rebellion ORECA, with the pair of Signatech Alpine A470s sitting third and fourth.</p> <p>In GTE-Pro, four different manufacturers occupied the top four places with Fred Makowiecki leading the way for Porsche.</p> <p>Driving the #91 911 RSR, the Frenchman clocked in a&nbsp;1:56.244 effort, which edged out Nicki Thiim&#39;s #97 Aston Martin by just under a tenth.</p> <p>A further four tenths down was Alessandro Pier Guidi in the best of the Ferraris, followed by Stefan Muecke&#39;s Ford GT.</p> <p>Friday bragging rights in GTE-Am went the way of Miguel Molina, who is back with the Spirit of Race Ferrari squad following an outing with the Italian manufacturer&#39;s factory Pro team at Le Mans last month.</p> <p>The former DTM star posted a time of 1:57.592s, which was enough to place him comfortably within the Pro-class mid-pack.</p> <p>Two-driver qualifying for the 6 Hours of the Nurburgring is set to take place tomorrow (Saturday, July 15th) at 14:55 local time (13:55 UK).</p> Porsche leads Nurburgring FP1Fri, 14 Jul 2017 11:40:56 GMT<p>Porsche led the way during opening practice for the Nurburgring round of the World Endurance Championship as it applied the new high-downforce aero configuration to its car.</p> <p>Timo Bernhard turned in a time of 1:41.612s behind the wheel of the Le Mans-winning 919 Hybrid, which sports a different front profile to the one that competed in the opening three events of 2017.</p> <p>Bernhard&#39;s time, set near the end of the 90-minute run, pipped the second-placed Toyota TS050 of Sebastien Buemi by 0.204 seconds.</p> <p>The sister Porsche completed the top three, ahead of the #7 Toyota, as the four LMP1 entries fell under a 0.367 second blanket.</p> <p>The session was brought to a premature halt with four minutes remaining when the #31 Rebellion LMP2 of Julien Canal and the #77 Proton Competition Porsche of Marvin Dienst collided into the Turn 5 gravel.</p> <p>Both cars led the way in their respective classes, with Bruno Senna&#39;s time of 1:47.717s topping LMP2 by six tenths from the G-Drive Racing ORECA, and Matteo Cairoli leading GTE-Am.</p> <p>Ferrari led Porsche in GTE-Pro, with the 488 Italia of Davide Rigon lapping fastest on a 1:57.170.</p> <p>Rigon&#39;s time was marginally quicker than Michael Christensen in the #92 Porsche 911 RSR, who in turn edged out the second Ferrari.</p> <p>The pair of Aston Martin Vantages ran at the foot of the class despite receiving a 20kg weight break from the new &#39;automatic&#39; Balance of Performance system, which takes into account data from the last six-hour race at Spa.</p> <p>A second 90-minute free practice session is bookmarked for 16:15 local time (15:15 UK), ahead of qualifying on Saturday afternoon.</p> LMP1 team confident ahead of high-downforce aero debutTue, 11 Jul 2017 10:11:29 GMT<p><strong>Porsche belives its high-downforce aerodynamics&nbsp;package is &quot;looking good&quot; ahead of its debut at the 6 Hours of the Nurburgring this weekend.</strong></p> <p>The German LMP1 manufacturer opted to delay rolling out its high-drag configuration until round four of the World Endurance Championship to maximise its development period.</p> <p>A Le Mans-style downforce kit was used at Silverstone and Spa, compromising the cornering speeds of the 919 Hybrids and resulting in two Toyota victories.</p> <p>Toyota took the more conventional approach of using high-downforce at those&nbsp;opening two races, before reverting to its low-downforce setup for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, although that&nbsp;effectively meant the Porsche 919 Hybrids will arrive in Germany&nbsp;with three months&#39; extra preparation.</p> <p>&ldquo;For the 2017 WEC, we have once again extended the limits of what is technically possible and Toyota did the same,&quot; said team principal Andreas Seidl.</p> <p>&quot;Despite comprehensive new restrictions from the regulations, lap times have improved. But also reliability issues of both manufacturers at Le Mans showed that we all went to the limits.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;After winning Le Mans, we went straight to a very positive three-day performance test in Barcelona [covering 1,800km]. We feel well prepared for the six-hour race at the N&uuml;rburgring. The 919 Hybrid will appear with a new front and a changed rear section.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;Our new high downforce aero looks good. Now it has to prove its performance on the race track.&rdquo;</p> <p>Porsche&nbsp;drivers Earl Bamber, Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard currently lead the world drivers&#39; championship on 83 points, 17 ahead of the leading Toyota crew of Anthony Davidson, Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima.</p> <p>Crucial podiums at Silverstone and Spa,&nbsp;despite running the &#39;wrong&#39; downforce setup, mean&nbsp;Porsche holds the advantage going into the second half of the nine-race season, with predominantly high-drag circuits left on the calendar.</p> <p>&quot;The situation could hardly be any nicer&rdquo;, said Fritz Enzinger, Porsche LMP1 vice president.</p> <p>&ldquo;The 24 Hours of Le Mans was endurance racing full of highs and lows. In the Eifel mountains we target a clean six-hour race and we certainly would love to win there for a third consecutive time as well.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;Our new aerodynamics package for higher downforce worked well at a recent test. Now our mission of defending both the World Championship titles, for manufacturers and drivers, is in full swing.&rdquo;</p> <p>Track action for the 6 Hours of the Nurburgring commences on Friday, July 14th, while the race itself is due to get underway on Sunday at 13:00 local time (CEST).</p> Merhi to race for Manor at 6 Hours of NurburgringWed, 28 Jun 2017 13:28:07 GMT<p>Former Formula 1 driver Roberto Merhi will return to the FIA World Endurance Championship at the 6 Hours of Nurburgring with the Manor LMP2 team.</p> <p>The Spaniard will replace Jean-Eric Vergne in the No.24 car alongside Tor Graves and Jonathan Hirschi.</p> <p>Vergne is unable to race at the Nurburgring as it clashes with the first Formula E race weekend in New York.</p> <p>The outing will mark Merhi&rsquo;s first time competing in the FIA WEC since last year&rsquo;s finale in Bahrain, having competed in most of the 2016 season with Manor.</p> <p>He missed the Mexico and Shanghai rounds, but scored one podium when his car finished third in the LMP2 class at Spa.</p> <p>Merhi, who raced for Manor in F1 for most of 2015, has had a limited 2017 campaign so far with a one-off Formula 2 outing for Campos.</p> <p>He drove at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya but finished both races outside of the points, before being replaced by Robert Visoiu.</p> Vilander to replace cup-tied Sam Bird at 6H NurburgringTue, 27 Jun 2017 22:23:19 GMT<p><strong>Toni Vilander will return to Ferrari&#39;s World Endurance Championship driver lineup for a one-off appearance at the 6 Hours of the N&uuml;</strong><strong>rburgring on July 16.</strong></p> <p>The Finn, 36, will replace AF Corse regular Sam Bird, who is taking part in the New York round of the Formula E championship on the same weekend.</p> <p>Bird&#39;s commitments with Virgin DS Racing - which also employs Toyota LMP1 driver Jos&eacute; Mar&iacute;a L&oacute;pez - left a vacant seat in the No. 71 Ferrari 488 next to Davide Rigon.</p> <p>Rigon and Bird currently sit third in the GTE world championship, following a victory at Spa and a top-four points result at Le Mans.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m happy to be able to return to the FIA WEC with the 488 GTE of AF Corse team&rdquo;, said Vilander, who spent three full seasons with Ferrari in the WEC from 2012-15.</p> <p>&quot;Car number 71 is in the top places of the championship standings, and I will give all I have to achieve the best possible result at N&uuml;rburgring, to help Ferrari in the Manufacturers&rsquo; Championship and Davide Rigon in the Drivers&rsquo; ranking&rdquo;.</p> <p>Vilander last raced for Ferrari&#39;s WEC team in 2015, having made his debut in 2012.</p> <p>During that time, he won nine GTE-Pro races, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2012 and 2014, and also clinched the drivers&#39; championship in &#39;14 with Gianmaria Bruni.</p> <p>Since moving away from the WEC, Vilander has plied his trade with the&nbsp;factory-assisted Risi Competizione squad, which competes in the North American IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship.</p> <p>The team also raced at Le Mans as a guest entry, although the Ferrari retired early with crash damage.</p> <p>Vilander has stated that the&nbsp;N&uuml;rburgring round will give him his &quot;chance to cancel the disappointment of the 24 Hours of Le Mans as soon as possible.&quot;</p> <p>Although the&nbsp;N&uuml;rburgring replacement is understood to be a one-off, it could harm Bird&#39;s position in the GTE standings heading into the second half&nbsp;of the season.</p> accepts Vincent Capillaire apology for Le Mans incidentThu, 22 Jun 2017 15:27:53 GMT<p><strong>Toyota has released a statement accepting an apology from LMP2 driver Vincent Capillaire, who indirectly influenced the retirement of the team&#39;s leading car at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.</strong></p> <p>Toyota driver Kamui Kobayashi was leading by over a minute when his TS050 Hybrid&nbsp;experienced clutch problems during a safety car period in the 10th hour.</p> <p>After the race, it emerged Capillaire had <a href="">given Kobayashi a &#39;thumbs up&#39; sporting&nbsp;gesture </a>whilst the Toyota was sat at pit exit, prompting the Toyota driver to lurch forward before stamping on the brakes when his team realised the exit was closed.</p> <p>Capillaire&#39;s orange overalls - which represent the Algarve Pro Racing team - were mistakenly interpreted by Kobayashi as those of a pit-lane marshal.</p> <p>Consequently, the Toyota&#39;s clutch gave in at the restart, causing damage that led to its retirement.</p> <p>Toyota&#39;s other cars also encountered technical issues, leaving Porsche to claim its third successive overall victory at the French endurance classic.</p> <p>Toyota has since received a private&nbsp;apology from Capillaire, which the Japanese manufacturer says has been accepted. The statement in full:</p> <p><strong>TOYOTA GAZOO RACING STATEMENT: LE MANS 24 HOURS</strong></p> <p>Thursday 22 June 2017</p> <p>&quot;Toyota Gazoo Racing can confirm it has received an apology from Vincent Capillaire regarding his actions during the Le Mans 24 Hours. We have fully accepted his apology and acknowledge that his sporting gesture was never intended to cause any negative consequences for our #7 car. We remain on good terms with Vincent and we consider the matter is now closed.&quot;</p> a thumbs up potentially cost Toyota its maiden Le Mans victoryTue, 20 Jun 2017 17:20:48 GMT<p>Toyota was comfortably&nbsp;leading the 85th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans when a clutch failure handed what would have been its maiden victory at the event to rivals Porsche.</p> <p>It turns out that a simple thumbs up from a rival driver&nbsp;and a misunderstanding&nbsp;during a pitstop for #7&nbsp;driver Kamui Kobayashi&nbsp;was behind the clutch failing &ndash; and the end to Toyota&#39;s Le Mans dream for at least another year.</p> <p>How did a thumbs up cause a clutch to fail? It turns out that&nbsp;Vincent Capillaire, of the&nbsp;Algarve Pro Racing team, wore a race suit very similar to that of a marshal &ndash; both are orange with a black stripe running across the stomach &ndash; and he rushed across to give Kobayashi an &#39;encouraging&#39; thumbs up whilst the Japanese driver was stopped in the pitlane. [<a href="">Watch the video here</a>].</p> <p>Kobayashi took that as permission to exit the pitlane, before being told by his team to stop. Some confusion ensued and Kobayashi ended up starting and stopping a couple of times. Of course that wouldn&#39;t be enough to burn out the clutch on a regular car, by Toyota&#39;s hybrid TS050 isn&#39;t a regular car.</p> <p>The TS050 uses its electrical-power to get going, before the combustion engine kicks in. This reduces wear on the clutch &ndash; and reduces the size of the clutch, saving weight &ndash; but due to the confusion, Kobayashi was in the wrong mode and used the clutch and combustion engine to get going, which then caused the clutch to fail.</p> <p>Speaking to&nbsp;<em>SportsCar365, </em>technical director&nbsp;Pascal Vasselon explained:&nbsp;&quot;In this case he has seen a marshal telling him to go, [so] he went. From our side, we told him stop because the safety car queue was coming, and it was not possible [to exit].</p> <p>&quot;There has been, as you can imagine, some confusion. Start, stop, start, stop,&quot; added&nbsp;Vasselon.</p> <p>&quot;The clutch is not made at all to do that. The clutch is to start the combustion engine when the car is at speed; it&rsquo;s not to start the complete car.</p> <p>&quot;So he had burned the clutch because he has been thrown into a situation which should not exist.&quot;</p> <p>So that&#39;s how an innocent thumbs up led to Toyota&#39;s Le Mans hopes going up in smoke &ndash;&nbsp;Capillaire, the well-wisher, was later fined for his actions and issued the following statement.</p> <p>&quot;Saturday evening, during the race, I was waiting for my relay, helmet on [my] head at my box,&quot; he explained.</p> <p>&quot;I wanted to show my encouragement to the leader car [which was] stopped at a red light a few meters in front of my box.</p> <p>&quot;It was a spontaneous encouragement mark as it happens between pilots,&quot; he said, adding: &quot;I was fined by Stewards for this gesture and I admit it was inopportune. I regret that.&quot;</p> Rebellion disqualified from 24 Hours of Le MansMon, 19 Jun 2017 20:01:30 GMT<p><strong>The Rebellion Racing ORECA LMP2 that finished third overall in the 24 Hours of Le Mans has had its podium stripped following a post-race scrutineering decision.</strong></p> <p>Nelson Piquet Jr, Mathias Beche and David Heinemeier Hansson rose to the top three after most of the LMP1 field encountered problems, eventually finishing three laps down.</p> <p>However, an opening in the bodywork on the right-hand side of the engine cover was found to be in breach of Article 3 of the technical regulations, which state &quot;No bodywork variation is permitted&quot; bar front flaps and gurneys.</p> <p>The opening gave Rebellion&#39;s mechanics easy access to the starter motor during pit stops, after the #13 car experienced problems getting underway in the pit lane.</p> <p>Rather than removing the entire engine cover, an instrument was used to tap the starter motor into life at each service.</p> <p>However, teams are forbidden from&nbsp;modifdying&nbsp;homologated parts of the car and using them during tne 24-hours.</p> <p>Consequently, Rebellion lost what would have been its maiden podium finish at Le Mans, with the #37 Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA driven by Tristan Gommendy, David Cheng and Alex Brundle inheriting third.</p> <p>That meant both Jackie Chan cars - run by British outfit Jota Sport - placed in the overall top three following a solid run to second overall from the car shared by Thomas Laurent, Oliver Jarvis and Ho-Pin Tung.</p> <p>Assuming the final podium spot in the LMP2 category - and fourth outright - is the #35 Signatech Alpine, whilst Untied Autosports&#39; Ligier moves up to fifth.</p> Watch full race highlights from the 24 Hours of Le MansMon, 19 Jun 2017 11:24:20 GMT<p>It was always going to be unpredictable, but few could have anticipated a race with so many twists and turns&hellip;all the way to the chequered flag.&nbsp;</p> <p>The 2017 24 Hours of Le Mans &ndash; third round of the FIA World Endurance Championship &ndash; was full of emotion, joy and disappointment, heat and drama, and it was Porsche LMP Team&rsquo;s No.2 919 Hybrid which finally conquered all those sensations to take its 19th win at the world&rsquo;s greatest endurance race.</p> <p>A winner in the LMGTE Pro category was never going to be easy to predict, but this year&rsquo;s 24 Hours of Le Mans kept fans, viewers, media and competitors on the edge of their seats right to the chequered flag. The race was held in intense heat and was pronounced &ldquo;tough&rdquo; by drivers up and down the field.</p> suggests hybrid technology 'not yet ready' for Le MansMon, 19 Jun 2017 10:28:51 GMT<p>Toyota&rsquo;s President has suggested that hybrid technology &ldquo;might not yet be ready&rdquo; for Le Mans amid the array of issues encountered by LMP1 machines during the 24-hour race at the weekend.</p> <p>Toyota qualified 1-2 and headed the pack through Saturday afternoon, but the #8 lost 30 laps in the garage due to a motor issue before the #7 retired from the lead following a clutch problem.</p> <p>Porsche&rsquo;s race-winning #2 was also delayed, spending an hour in the garage while a replacement Motor Generator Unit was fitted, and the #1 Porsche failed to finish amid a suspected loss of oil pressure.</p> <p>The rate of attrition meant that only two LMP1 cars reached the chequered flag &ndash; Toyota&rsquo;s #8 nine-laps down on the winning #2 crew &ndash; enabling LMP2 teams to finish second and third overall.</p> <p>&ldquo;This time, both Porsche and we, Toyota, were not able to complete without incident 24 hours of driving in the hybrid cars that we put to the challenge on the roads of Le Mans,&rdquo; wrote Akio Toyoda in an open letter post-race..</p> <p>&ldquo;Both even winning car No. 2 and our car No. 8, which completed the race, were forced to undergo time-consuming, trouble-caused repairs, before struggling to cross the finish line.</p> <p>&ldquo;While the hybrid technology that has advanced through competition in the FIA World Endurance Championship puts its abilities on display in six-hour races, it might be that it is not yet ready for the long distance of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.&rdquo;</p> <p>Toyoda nonetheless stressed that the Japanese manufacturer will persist with the technology.</p> <p>&ldquo;The power of electricity is absolutely necessary for cars to take on a more-emotional presence,&rdquo; he said.</p> <p>&ldquo;Le Mans is a precious laboratory in which we can continue to take up the challenges related to the technologies involved, putting such technologies to the test in an extreme environment.</p> <p>&ldquo;We will hone our technologies even further and ripen them to provide our customers with technologies that will truly make them smile.</p> <p>&ldquo;And we, Toyota, will go on making effort after effort so that we can continue making ever-better cars.&rdquo;</p> Bamber: That's what endurance racing is all aboutSun, 18 Jun 2017 17:26:57 GMT<p>Porsche driver Earl Bamber has hailed his second 24 Hours of Le Mans triumph &#39;magical&#39;, describing the circumstances surrounding the victory as the essence of endurance racing.</p> <p>Bamber, along with&nbsp;team-mates Brendon Hartley and&nbsp;Timo Bernhard, claimed&nbsp;Porsche&#39;s 19th Le Mans win in unexpected circumstances as the leading Toyota cars both retired within an hour of one another, putting Porsche in control, but the #2 car had to battle with its own problems.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s so magical to get the win for Porsche today in those circumstances &ndash; It&rsquo;s what endurance racing is all about,&quot;&nbsp;Bamber said after the event.</p> <p>The car suffered a front-axle motor failure, forcing a lengthy repair, but with rivals Toyota out and the second Porsche hitting trouble, the #2 car eventually retook the lead from Jackie Chan&#39;s LMP2 with a handful of laps remaining.</p> <p>&quot;I was driving at the time when I heard it go &lsquo;bang&rsquo; and I thought it was our race done. I brought it back to the pits and the guys looked into it, and we were back out in under an hour.</p> <p>&quot;It was a matter of fighting back into the top five at first, then that became a podium and then a podium became a win.&quot;</p> <p>Bamber said the team had to &quot;risk it all&quot; to claw back the lost time.</p> <p>&ldquo;We were counting the seconds, a few hours out it looked like it might be down to the last lap whether or not we&rsquo;d pass. It was incredibly tense in the pits and we were going flat-out all the time.</p> <p>&ldquo;It was basically a sprint race when we got back out &ndash; we had nothing to lose. We risked it all and got the reward.&rdquo;</p> wins 24H Le Mans as LMP2 cars complete podiumSun, 18 Jun 2017 13:17:02 GMT<p><strong>Porsche has won the 85th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans following a drama-filled race that saw all but two of the LMP1 runners retire.</strong></p> <p>Timo Bernhard took the chequered flag one lap ahead of Ho-Pin Tung in the LMP2-class Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA 07, which scored a remarkable podium finish by outlasting the more powerful LMP1s.</p> <p>Tung led until the end of the penultimate hour, when Bernhard caught and passed the Chinese driver on the run down to Mulsanne Corner having recovered from a deficit caused by an early hybrid issue.</p> <p>Bernhard, who won Le Mans in 2010 with Audi, lifted the trophy with team-mates Earl Bamber and Brendon Hartley.</p> <p>The result marked the first triumph at the 8.47-mile Circuit de la Sarthe for Hartley, while Bamber celebrated his second victory from three attempts.</p> <p>Joining Tung on the second step of the podium were former Audi LMP1 driver Oliver Jarvis and 19-year-old Thomas Laurent, who was the youngest driver in this year&#39;s race.</p> <p>The Jackie Chan car, run by British squad Jota Sport, led much&nbsp;of the final six hours after the once-leading #1 Porsche 919 Hybrid retired with engine trouble in the 21st hour.</p> <p>Andre Lotterer was coasting the car home with a 19 lap lead to the next-placed car, but lost drive heading down the pit straight and pulled off part-way through his crawl back to base.</p> <p>Other incidents knocked out the other key LMP1 runners, including the #7 Toyota TS050 which broke the qualifying lap record on Thursday.</p> <p>Kamui Kobayashi, the author of that record-breaking effort, encountered a clutch problem following the first of three safety car periods during the 10th hour.</p> <p>Shortly afterwards, the team&#39;s #9 entry, which was next in line but a lap down, retired when Nicolas Lapierre clashed with a Manor-entered ORECA LMP2 at the Dunlop Chicane.</p> <p>That left the #1 Porsche to rule the night alone, following the early hybrid issue&nbsp;for the German manufacturer&#39;s sister car and a similar problem for the #8 Toyota, which came through in ninth overall.</p> <p>Completing the podium was the #13 Rebellion Racing ORECA 07 of Nelson Piquet Jr, David Heinemeier Hansson and Mathias Beche, which lost its class advantage through a recurring starter problem.</p> <p>In fourth was the sister Jackie Chan DC Racing car, ahead of the #35 Signatech Alpine which was running fourth until Andre Negrao went off at Mulsanne in the final hour.</p> <p><b>Adam gives Aston last-gasp GTE-Pro win</b></p> <p>The battle for GTE-Pro honours boiled down to the final lap, with Jonny Adam overtaking Corvette driver Jordan Taylor to seal victory for Aston Martin Racing.</p> <p>Adam started the final stint one second behind Taylor, who got the jump in the final round pit stops.</p> <p>The order almost changed when Adam lunged down the inside at Indianapolis, but the Scottish driver out-braked himself and allowed Taylor to break.</p> <p>But when Taylor missed his own braking point at the second Mulsanne chicane, Adam closed in again and slipped past in front of the main grandstands.</p> <p>Taylor, whose tyres were already fading, incurred a puncture on the final lap and dropped to third behind the Ford GT driven by Harry Tincknell, Andy Priaulx and Pipo Derani.</p> <p>In GTE-Am, British squad JMW Motorsport dominated with Dries Vanthoor, Will Stevens and Rob Smith winning by a margin of one minute.</p> <p>JMW took the lead under the cover of darkness after the #98 Aston Martin Vantage encountered a puncture followed by a drive-through penalty for a pit infringement, which collectively cost three laps.</p> <table class="table table-bordered table-hover table-condensed"> <tbody> <tr> <td align="right">#</td> <td align="right">No</td> <td align="right">Team</td> <td align="right">Driver</td> <td align="right">Driver</td> <td align="right">Driver</td> <td align="right">Class</td> <td align="right">Laps</td> <td align="right">Gap</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">1</td> <td align="right">2</td> <td>Porsche LMP Team</td> <td>Timo BERNHARD</td> <td>Earl BAMBER</td> <td>Brendon HARTLEY</td> <td>LMP1</td> <td align="right">350</td> <td>&nbsp;</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">2</td> <td align="right">38</td> <td>Jackie Chan DC Racing</td> <td>Ho-Pin TUNG</td> <td>Thomas LAURENT</td> <td>Oliver JARVIS</td> <td>LMP2</td> <td align="right">350</td> <td>1&#39;33.056</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">3</td> <td align="right">35</td> <td>Signatech Alpine Matmut</td> <td>Nelson PANCIATICI</td> <td>Pierre RAGUES</td> <td>Andr&eacute; NEGR&Atilde;O</td> <td>LMP2</td> <td align="right">348</td> <td>2 Laps</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">4</td> <td align="right">13</td> <td>Vaillante Rebellion</td> <td>Nelson PIQUET JR</td> <td>David HEINEMEIER HANSSON</td> <td>Mathias BECHE</td> <td>LMP2</td> <td align="right">347</td> <td>3 Laps</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">5</td> <td align="right">37</td> <td>Jackie Chan DC Racing</td> <td>David CHENG</td> <td>Tristan GOMMENDY</td> <td>Alex BRUNDLE</td> <td>LMP2</td> <td align="right">347</td> <td>3 Laps</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">6</td> <td align="right">32</td> <td>United Autosports</td> <td>Will OWEN</td> <td>Hugo DE SADELEER</td> <td>Filipe ALBUQUERQUE</td> <td>LMP2</td> <td align="right">345</td> <td>5 Laps</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">7</td> <td align="right">24</td> <td>CEFC Manor TRS Racing</td> <td>Tor GRAVES</td> <td>Jonathan HIRSCHI</td> <td>Jean-Eric VERGNE</td> <td>LMP2</td> <td align="right">344</td> <td>6 Laps</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">8</td> <td align="right">40</td> <td>Graff</td> <td>James ALLEN</td> <td>Franck MATELLI</td> <td>Richard BRADLEY</td> <td>LMP2</td> <td align="right">344</td> <td>6 Laps</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">9</td> <td align="right">8</td> <td>Toyota Gazoo Racing</td> <td>S&eacute;bastien BUEMI</td> <td>Anthony DAVIDSON</td> <td>Kazuki NAKAJIMA</td> <td>LMP1</td> <td align="right">341</td> <td>9 Laps</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">10</td> <td align="right">47</td> <td>Cetilar Villorba Corse</td> <td>Roberto LACORTE</td> <td>Giorgio SERNAGIOTTO</td> <td>Andrea BELICCHI</td> <td>LMP2</td> <td align="right">338</td> <td>12 Laps</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">11</td> <td align="right">34</td> <td>Tockwith Motorsports</td> <td>Nigel MOORE</td> <td>Philip HANSON</td> <td>Karun CHANDHOK</td> <td>LMP2</td> <td align="right">335</td> <td>15 Laps</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">12</td> <td align="right">36</td> <td>Signatech Alpine Matmut</td> <td>Romain DUMAS</td> <td>Gustavo MENEZES</td> <td>Matthew RAO</td> <td>LMP2</td> <td align="right">335</td> <td>15 Laps</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">13</td> <td align="right">17</td> <td>Idec Sport Racing</td> <td>Patrice LAFARGUE</td> <td>Paul LAFARGUE</td> <td>David ZOLLINGER</td> <td>LMP2</td> <td align="right">329</td> <td>21 Laps</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">14</td> <td align="right">29</td> <td>Racing Team Nederland</td> <td>Jan LAMMERS</td> <td>Frits VAN EERD</td> <td>Rubens BARRICHELLO</td> <td>LMP2</td> <td align="right">329</td> <td>21 Laps</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">15</td> <td align="right">21</td> <td>Dragonspeed - 10 Star</td> <td>Henrik HEDMAN</td> <td>Ben HANLEY</td> <td>Felix ROSENQVIST</td> <td>LMP2</td> <td align="right">327</td> <td>23 Laps</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">16</td> <td align="right">33</td> <td>Eurasia Motorsport</td> <td>Jacques NICOLET</td> <td>Pierre NICOLET</td> <td>Erik MARIS</td> <td>LMP2</td> <td align="right">326</td> <td>24 Laps</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">17</td> <td align="right">97</td> <td>Aston Martin Racing</td> <td>Darren TURNER</td> <td>Jonathan ADAM</td> <td>Daniel SERRA</td> <td>LMGTE Pro</td> <td align="right">325</td> <td>25 Laps</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">18</td> <td align="right">63</td> <td>Corvette Racing - GM</td> <td>Jan MAGNUSSEN</td> <td>Antonio GARCIA</td> <td>Jordan TAYLOR</td> <td>LMGTE Pro</td> <td align="right">325</td> <td>25 Laps</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">19</td> <td align="right">67</td> <td>Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK</td> <td>Andy PRIAULX</td> <td>Harry TINCKNELL</td> <td>Luis Felipe DERANI</td> <td>LMGTE Pro</td> <td align="right">324</td> <td>26 Laps</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">20</td> <td align="right">91</td> <td>Porsche GT Team</td> <td>Richard LIETZ</td> <td>Fr&eacute;d&eacute;ric MAKOWIECKI</td> <td>Patrick PILET</td> <td>LMGTE Pro</td> <td align="right">324</td> <td>26 Laps</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">21</td> <td align="right">71</td> <td>AF Corse</td> <td>Davide RIGON</td> <td>Sam BIRD</td> <td>Miguel MOLINA</td> <td>LMGTE Pro</td> <td align="right">324</td> <td>26 Laps</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">22</td> <td align="right">68</td> <td>Ford Chip Ganassi Team USA</td> <td>Joey HAND</td> <td>Dirk M&Uuml;LLER</td> <td>Tony KANAAN</td> <td>LMGTE Pro</td> <td align="right">324</td> <td>26 Laps</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">23</td> <td align="right">31</td> <td>Vaillante Rebellion</td> <td>Nicolas PROST</td> <td>Julien CANAL</td> <td>Bruno SENNA</td> <td>LMP2</td> <td align="right">323</td> <td>27 Laps</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">24</td> <td align="right">69</td> <td>Ford Chip Ganassi Team USA</td> <td>Ryan BRISCOE</td> <td>Richard WESTBROOK</td> <td>Scott DIXON</td> <td>LMGTE Pro</td> <td align="right">322</td> <td>28 Laps</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">25</td> <td align="right">64</td> <td>Corvette Racing - GM</td> <td>Oliver GAVIN</td> <td>Tommy MILNER</td> <td>Marcel F&Auml;SSLER</td> <td>LMGTE Pro</td> <td align="right">319</td> <td>31 Laps</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">26</td> <td align="right">95</td> <td>Aston Martin Racing</td> <td>Nicki THIIM</td> <td>Marco S&Oslash;RENSEN</td> <td>Richie STANAWAY</td> <td>LMGTE Pro</td> <td align="right">319</td> <td>31 Laps</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">27</td> <td align="right">84</td> <td>JMW Motorsport</td> <td>Robert SMITH</td> <td>Will STEVENS</td> <td>Dries VANTHOOR</td> <td>LMGTE Am</td> <td align="right">318</td> <td>32 Laps</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">28</td> <td align="right">55</td> <td>Spirit of Race</td> <td>Duncan CAMERON</td> <td>Aaron SCOTT</td> <td>Marco CIOCI</td> <td>LMGTE Am</td> <td align="right">317</td> <td>33 Laps</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">29</td> <td align="right">66</td> <td>Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK</td> <td>Stefan M&Uuml;CKE</td> <td>Olivier PLA</td> <td>Billy JOHNSON</td> <td>LMGTE Pro</td> <td align="right">317</td> <td>33 Laps</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">30</td> <td align="right">62</td> <td>Scuderia Corsa</td> <td>Cooper MACNEIL</td> <td>William SWEEDLER</td> <td>Townsend BELL</td> <td>LMGTE Am</td> <td align="right">316</td> <td>34 Laps</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">31</td> <td align="right">99</td> <td>Beechdean AMR</td> <td>Andrew HOWARD</td> <td>Ross GUNN</td> <td>Oliver BRYANT</td> <td>LMGTE Am</td> <td align="right">315</td> <td>35 Laps</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">32</td> <td align="right">61</td> <td>Clearwater Racing</td> <td>Weng Sun MOK</td> <td>Keita SAWA</td> <td>Matt GRIFFIN</td> <td>LMGTE Am</td> <td align="right">315</td> <td>35 Laps</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">33</td> <td align="right">77</td> <td>Dempsey - Proton Racing</td> <td>Christian RIED</td> <td>Matteo CAIROLI</td> <td>Marvin DIENST</td> <td>LMGTE Am</td> <td align="right">315</td> <td>35 Laps</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">34</td> <td align="right">45</td> <td>Algarve Pro Racing</td> <td>Mark PATTERSON</td> <td>Matthew MCMURRY</td> <td>Vincent CAPILLAIRE</td> <td>LMP2</td> <td align="right">314</td> <td>36 Laps</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">35</td> <td align="right">90</td> <td>TF Sport</td> <td>Salih YOLUC</td> <td>Euan HANKEY</td> <td>Rob BELL</td> <td>LMGTE Am</td> <td align="right">314</td> <td>36 Laps</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">36</td> <td align="right">98</td> <td>Aston Martin Racing</td> <td>Paul DALLA LANA</td> <td>Pedro LAMY</td> <td>Mathias LAUDA</td> <td>LMGTE Am</td> <td align="right">314</td> <td>36 Laps</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">37</td> <td align="right">93</td> <td>Proton Competition</td> <td>Patrick LONG</td> <td>Abdulaziz AL FAISAL</td> <td>Michael HEDLUND</td> <td>LMGTE Am</td> <td align="right">314</td> <td>36 Laps</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">38</td> <td align="right">27</td> <td>SMP Racing</td> <td>Mikhail ALESHIN</td> <td>Sergey SIROTKIN</td> <td>Victor SHAITAR</td> <td>LMP2</td> <td align="right">314</td> <td>36 Laps</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">39</td> <td align="right">86</td> <td>Gulf Racing UK</td> <td>Michael WAINWRIGHT</td> <td>Benjamin BARKER</td> <td>Nicholas FOSTER</td> <td>LMGTE Am</td> <td align="right">313</td> <td>37 Laps</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">40</td> <td align="right">60</td> <td>Clearwater Racing</td> <td>Richard WEE</td> <td>Hiroki KATOH</td> <td>Alvaro PARENTE</td> <td>LMGTE Am</td> <td align="right">313</td> <td>37 Laps</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">41</td> <td align="right">22</td> <td>G-Drive Racing</td> <td>Memo ROJAS</td> <td>Ryo HIRAKAWA</td> <td>Jose GUTIERREZ</td> <td>LMP2</td> <td align="right">312</td> <td>38 Laps</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">42</td> <td align="right">54</td> <td>Spirit of Race</td> <td>Thomas FLOHR</td> <td>Francesco CASTELLACCI</td> <td>Olivier BERETTA</td> <td>LMGTE Am</td> <td align="right">312</td> <td>38 Laps</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">43</td> <td align="right">65</td> <td>Scuderia Corsa</td> <td>Christina NIELSEN</td> <td>Alessandro BALZAN</td> <td>Bret CURTIS</td> <td>LMGTE Am</td> <td align="right">308</td> <td>42 Laps</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">44</td> <td align="right">83</td> <td>DH Racing</td> <td>Tracy KROHN</td> <td>Niclas J&Ouml;NSSON</td> <td>Andrea BERTOLINI</td> <td>LMGTE Am</td> <td align="right">306</td> <td>44 Laps</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">45</td> <td align="right">51</td> <td>AF Corse</td> <td>James CALADO</td> <td>Alessandro PIER GUIDI</td> <td>Michele RUGOLO</td> <td>LMGTE Pro</td> <td align="right">302</td> <td>48 Laps</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">46</td> <td align="right">39</td> <td>Graff</td> <td>Enzo GUIBBERT</td> <td>Eric TROUILLET</td> <td>James WINSLOW</td> <td>LMP2</td> <td align="right">302</td> <td>48 Laps</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">47</td> <td align="right">49</td> <td>Arc Bratislava</td> <td>Miroslav KONOPKA</td> <td>Konstantin CALKO</td> <td>Rik BREUKERS</td> <td>LMP2</td> <td align="right">298</td> <td>52 Laps</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">48</td> <td align="right">43</td> <td>Keating Motorsports</td> <td>Ben KEATING</td> <td>Jeroen BLEEKEMOLEN</td> <td>Ricky TAYLOR</td> <td>LMP2</td> <td align="right">297</td> <td>53 Laps</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">49</td> <td align="right">50</td> <td>Larbre Competition</td> <td>Fernando REES</td> <td>Romain BRANDELA</td> <td>Christian PHILIPPON</td> <td>LMGTE Am</td> <td align="right">294</td> <td>56 Laps</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">50</td> <td align="right">1</td> <td>Porsche LMP Team</td> <td>Neel JANI</td> <td>Andr&eacute; LOTTERER</td> <td>Nick TANDY</td> <td>LMP1</td> <td align="right">318</td> <td>32 Laps</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">51</td> <td align="right">23</td> <td>Panis Barthez Competition</td> <td>Fabien BARTHEZ</td> <td>Timoth&eacute; BURET</td> <td>Nathana&euml;l BERTHON</td> <td>LMP2</td> <td align="right">296</td> <td>54 Laps</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">52</td> <td align="right">28</td> <td>TDS Racing</td> <td>Fran&ccedil;ois PERRODO</td> <td>Matthieu VAXIVIERE</td> <td>Emmanuel COLLARD</td> <td>LMP2</td> <td align="right">213</td> <td>137 Laps</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">53</td> <td align="right">92</td> <td>Porsche GT Team</td> <td>Michael CHRISTENSEN</td> <td>Kevin ESTRE</td> <td>Dirk WERNER</td> <td>LMGTE Pro</td> <td align="right">179</td> <td>171 Laps</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">54</td> <td align="right">9</td> <td>Toyota Gazoo Racing</td> <td>Nicolas LAPIERRE</td> <td>Yuji KUNIMOTO</td> <td>Jose Maria LOPEZ</td> <td>LMP1</td> <td align="right">160</td> <td>190 Laps</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">55</td> <td align="right">7</td> <td>Toyota Gazoo Racing</td> <td>Mike CONWAY</td> <td>Kamui KOBAYASHI</td> <td>St&eacute;phane SARRAZIN</td> <td>LMP1</td> <td align="right">154</td> <td>196 Laps</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">56</td> <td align="right">25</td> <td>CEFC Manor TRS Racing</td> <td>Roberto GONZALEZ</td> <td>Simon TRUMMER</td> <td>Vitaly PETROV</td> <td>LMP2</td> <td align="right">152</td> <td>198 Laps</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">57</td> <td align="right">82</td> <td>Risi Competizione</td> <td>Toni VILANDER</td> <td>Giancarlo FISICHELLA</td> <td>Pierre KAFFER</td> <td>LMGTE Pro</td> <td align="right">72</td> <td>278 Laps</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">58</td> <td align="right">26</td> <td>G-Drive Racing</td> <td>Roman RUSINOV</td> <td>Pierre THIRIET</td> <td>Alex LYNN</td> <td>LMP2</td> <td align="right">20</td> <td>330 Laps</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">59</td> <td align="right">88</td> <td>Proton Competition</td> <td>Klaus BACHLER</td> <td>St&eacute;phane LEMERET</td> <td>Khaled AL QUBAISI</td> <td>LMGTE Am</td> <td align="right">18</td> <td>332 Laps</td> </tr> <tr> <td align="right">60</td> <td align="right">4</td> <td>Bykolles Racing Team</td> <td>Oliver WEBB</td> <td>Dominik KRAIHAMER</td> <td>Marco BONANOMI</td> <td>LMP1</td> <td align="right">7</td> <td>343 Laps</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> Porsche's Le Mans night updateSun, 18 Jun 2017 08:37:35 GMT<p><strong>Watch how Porsche took the lead at&nbsp;the 24 Hours of Le Mans following separate incidents for the No. 7 and No. 9 Toyota TS050s.</strong></p> continues 24H Le Mans dominance; LMP2s move in for podiumSun, 18 Jun 2017 07:33:10 GMT<p><strong>Porsche maintained its comfortable position out front at&nbsp;the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with Nick Tandy taking the #1 919 Hybrid into the final quarter of the race.</strong></p> <p>Following Toyota&#39;s <a href="">double retirement under the cover of darkness</a>, Tandy surged into a 12-lap lead with no immediate LMP1 hybrid opposition remaining.</p> <p>With the next-closest LMP1 - the #2 Porsche 919 Hybrid which lost time through an early hybrid issue - a further four laps behind the fight for LMP2 class honours took on new meaning as the possibility of an overall podium emerged.</p> <p>Thomas Laurent was second overall at the close of the 18th hour, having recovered the Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA 07-Gibson from an early spin.</p> <p>Laurent caught and passed the leading #13 Vaillante Rebellion ORECA through a localised &#39;slow zone&#39;, and went on to build a healthy lead to David Heinemeier Hansson.</p> <p>The Rebellion lost time during the dawn hours when the car failed to get going after a routine stop, but the team executed a quick turnaround to stay on the overall podium, in front of Nelson Panciatici in the #35 Signatech Alpine.</p> <p>In GTE-Pro, Aston Martin Racing led at the 18-hour mark, although the British manufacturer&#39;s challenge had been split for the second time when the #95 Vantage went off at Arnage and collected a puncture.</p> <p>Richie Stanaway&#39;s mistake dropped that car off the lead lap in class, after it had recovered through the night following an earlier puncture in the first six hours.</p> <p>That left the #97 Aston Martin to lead the category, with Jonny Adam two&nbsp;seconds ahead of Jordan Taylor in the #63 Corvette C7.R.</p> <p>Close behind Taylor was the sole surviving new-spec Porsche 911 RSR of Fred Makowiecki, which now flies the flag alone for the manufacturer&#39;s GTE effort after Michael Christensen crashed the sister car at the Ford chicane.</p> <p>Ferraris ran 1-2-3 in GTE-Am with six hours to go, as JMW Motorsport continued to extend its lead inherited during the night.</p> <p>With six hours to go, Dries Vanthoor had a two lap cushion to Duncan Cameron in the #55 Spirit of Race car, with Bill Sweedler third for the US-based Scuderia Corsa outfit.</p> lead for #1 Porsche as 24H Le Mans hits halfwaySun, 18 Jun 2017 01:29:43 GMT<p><strong>Porsche LMP1 driver Nick Tandy held a nine lap lead at the halfway stage of the Le Mans 24 Hours&nbsp;following a series of issues for the leading Toyota runners.</strong></p> <p>All three Toyota TS050s encountered trouble during the opening 12 hours, with the No. 7 and No. 9 retiring within minutes of each other either side of the 11-hour mark.</p> <p>The Japanese manufacturer&#39;s No. 8 car had previously lost 30 laps with a front-end hybrid issue, and continued into the second half of the contest in 45th place overall.</p> <p>Following a safety car period during hour 10 to recover gravel spewed up by a spinning Ford GT, Kamui Kobayashi parked the No. 7 TS050 citing clutch issues.</p> <p>The #9 car, driven by Nicolas Lapierre, then made contact with the #25 Manor LMP2 - which was fighting for a class podium - before stopping on track just before the Ford chicane.</p> <p><a href="">24 Hours of Le Mans: Positions after 12 hours</a></p> <p>So far, the #1 Porsche 919 Hybrid driven by Tandy, Andre Lotterer and 2016 race winner Neel Jani is the only front-runner to have escaped major incident.</p> <p>The #2 Porsche fell nine laps adrift when the team encountered a similar issue to the No. 8 Toyota during the first six hours.</p> <p>After an hour-long recovery, the team returned to the track but Brendon Hartley, Earl Bamber and Timo Bernhard have a long way to go before they clear the LMP2 field.</p> <p>Second overall is the #31 Vaillante Rebellion ORECA 07-Gibson, which has shared the secondary prototype class lead with the sister #13 Rebellion since the early stages.</p> <p>At the close of 12 hours, Nicolas Prost held a lead of --- back to David Heinemeier Hansson.</p> <p>Third in LMP2 and fourth overall is the #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA 07 that early on through Oliver Jarvis, but dropped back when Thomas Laurent spun and surrendered the lead.</p> <p>Rounding out the top five was the #36 Signatech Alpine entry.</p> <p>In GTE-Pro, Aston Martin continued to lead at halfway, with the two Vantages back together again following a solid recovery drive from the #95 crew of Nicki Thiim, Marco Sorensen and Richie Stanaway.</p> <p>Sorensen was leading during the fourth hour when he picked up a puncture, meaning the crew had to fight back from last place.</p> <p>At the top of the 12th hour, the two Astons were separated by three seconds, with the #91 Porsche 911 RSR a further 48 seconds adrift.</p> <p>GTE-Am was headed&nbsp;by the JMW Motorsport Ferrari 488 of Will Stevens, Dries Vanthoor and Rob Smith after the #98 Aston Martin pitted from the lead with heavy damage caused by a right-front tyre blowout.</p>'s Le Mans hopes obliterated by double retirementSat, 17 Jun 2017 23:44:19 GMT<p><strong>Toyota&#39;s chances of victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans have been dashed by a half hour of madness at the Circuit de la Sarthe.</strong></p> <p>Having led the majority of the race, the No. 7 car encountered a clutch problem with Kamui Kobayashi behind the wheel during the 10th hour.</p> <p>Kobayashi was preparing to take a restart following a safety car period caused by a spin for Olivier Pla&#39;s Ford GT, but the TS050&#39;s power cut out and the Japanese driver was forced to complete a lap of the 8.47 mile circuit at a crawl.</p> <p>The No. 7 car lasted until the Arnage complex before Kobayashi finally pulled off in resignation.</p> <p>A second safety car period was called a few minutes later when Simon Trummer spun the #25 Manor ORECA out from fifth in LMP2.</p> <p>That bunched up the field again, and at the ensuing restart disaster struck for a second time when as the No. 9 Toyota had its race ended by an incident at the Dunlop chicane.</p> <p>Nicolas Lapierre, who was trying to return the car to the lead lap after a door problem forced an extra pit stop, made contact with the LMP2-class Villorba Corse Dallara and skidded into the gravel.</p> <p>That meant the Frenchman also had to trundle round the entire circuit, with the car&#39;s dislodged left-rear tyre causing considerable damage to the surrounding bodywork.</p> <p>Lapierre stopped three times on his way round, eventually abandoning the car on the run down to the Ford chicane.</p> <p>The drama leaves Toyota with one car left in the race -&nbsp;the #8 driven by Sebastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima - although that sits 29 laps down following an earlier front hybrid issue.</p> <p>Nick Tandy currently leads the race overall for Porsche, having taken over the #1 919 Hybrid from Andre Lotterer.</p> <p>The sister Porsche lies 19&nbsp;laps behind after recovering from a front hybrid problem of its own.</p> <p>In LMP2, Rebellion Racing runs first and second with a realistic possibility of finisshing on the overall podium.</p> Sarrazin out front in No.7 Toyota after six hours of Le MansSat, 17 Jun 2017 19:27:25 GMT<p>The No.7 Toyota TS050 driven by Stephane Sarrazin holds the lead a quarter of the way through the 24 Hours of Le Mans, ahead of the No.1 Porsche 919 Hybrid.</p> <p>Sarrazin&rsquo;s team-mate Mike Conway took over first place from the No.8 Toyota in the second hour, before further strengthening its advantage.</p> <p>Porsche started to reel the No.7 TS050 back though in the fifth and sixth hour, even spending a short part of the race at the front with Andre Lotterer while the Toyota took to the pits.</p> <p>Sarrazin claimed back first place when Lotterer dived into the pits and held a 26 second lead after 96 laps of running, just past the six-hour mark as the sun began to set.</p> <p>The hour was completed under yellow flags and with slow zones, due to a crash between the No.82 Ferrari and No.28 TDS Racing LMP2 machine, plus a spin for David Cheng in the No.37 Jackie Chan DC Racing LMP2 car.</p> <p>The No.8 Toyota of Kazuki Nakajima was closing in on the leading two and was just 31 seconds off the lead by the conclusion of the sixth hour.</p> <p>Meanwhile the third and final Toyota, the No.9, was one lap down in fourth after losing time due to an unscheduled pitstop for a slightly ajar door.</p> <p>The fifth factory LMP1 entry, the No.2 Porsche, spent a long spell in the garage with a front-axle issue before rejoining some way down the order in 54th.</p> <p>The super-competitive LMP2 class is led by the No.31 Vaillante Rebellion car, five laps off the leading LMP1 car and part of a 1-2-3 for the Oreca 07.</p> <p>Rebellion&rsquo;s second car, the No.13, held the runner-up spot after six hours, ahead of the No.38 Jackie Chan DC Racing machine.</p> <p>In GTE Pro, the No.97 Aston Martin Racing car leads the No.67 Ford GT, with the No.66 Chip Ganassi Ford close behind in third.</p> <p>GTE Am&rsquo;s front-running car is the No.98 Aston Martin Racing entry, with the No.84 JMW Motorsport Ferrari on the same lap.</p> <p>Numerous incidents caused slow zones and yellow flags, including an early clash between the pole-sitting LMP2 car &ndash; the No.26 G-Drive &ndash; and the No.88 Proton Competition Porsche.</p> <p><a href="">24 Hours of Le Mans: Positions after 6 hours</a></p> Buemi takes lead in first hour at Le MansSat, 17 Jun 2017 14:20:13 GMT<p><strong>Toyota paced the opening hour of the 24 Hours of Le Mans with Sebastien Buemi passing stable-mate Mike Conway for the overall lead.</strong></p> <p>A gutsy overtake from Buemi - piloting the #8 TS050 - round the outside of pole-sitter Conway at Indianapolis developed into a 1.624&nbsp;second advantage after 60 minutes of action.</p> <p>All LMP1 runners made their first pit stops on laps 12 and 13, with each opting to take fuel only, in hot conditions at the Circuit de la Sarthe.</p> <p>Porsche held third and fourth after Neel Jani lost second position in the pits, having passed Buemi in the first string of corners.</p> <p>The Swiss driver sat 4.5 seconds down on the leader, and three seconds off Conway, at the close of the hour.</p> <p>Timo Bernhard sits behind in second, with the #9 Toyota of Nicolas Lapierre fifth following a nose cone change after picking up a debris graze on lap one.</p> <p>The fastest lap so far is a 3m 18.694 set by Conway on lap three.</p> <p><a href="">24 Hours of Le Mans: Hour 1 positions</a></p> <p>In LMP2, Vitaly Petrov took the lead from pole-man Roman Rusinov at the first set of corners, and led until the first round of stops halfway through the hour.</p> <p>Rusinov spun at the Ford Chicane and recovered by scuttling into the pits, but the #26 ORECA dropped out of the top 10.</p> <p>Manor driver Petrov was replaced up front by Oliver Jarvis (Jackie Chan DC Racing) who led until the pit window.</p> <p>A slow stop from the DC Racing team elevated Bruno Senna (Vaillante Rebellion) into the lead, ahead of Petrov and Manor team-mate Jean-Eric Vergne.</p> <p>GTE-Pro was led at the top of the second hour by Nicki Thiim, who passed Alessandro Pier Guidi and Darren Turner before the pit stops began.</p> <p>Thiim overtook both cars before making a faultless pit stop, and managed to build a lead of around four seconds to Turner, who had Pier Guidi and the Porsche of Kevin Estre for close company.</p> <p>Having set a class lap record in qualifying, Fernando Rees dropped to third position in GTE-Am after a long opening pit stop, behind leader Townsend Bell (Scuderia Corsa Ferrari) and Rob Bell (TF Sport Aston Martin).</p> <p>The first casualties were the ByKolles Racing Nissan LMP1 which clipped the wall at Tertre Rouge before pitting, and the #22 G-Drive Racing ORECA LMP2 which is currently in the pits undergoing gearbox repairs.</p> Mans is our Everest - Anthony DavidsonSat, 17 Jun 2017 08:49:13 GMT<p><strong>Toyota LMP1 driver Anthony Davidson reckons Le Mans remains the team&#39;s &#39;Mount Everest&#39; despite being more prepared than ever to claim a maiden victory at the 24-hour classic.</strong></p> <p>Davidson shares the #8 TS050 Hybrid with S&eacute;bastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima, one year on from the last-gasp&nbsp;air-line failure&nbsp;that allowed Porsche to steal victory on the final lap.</p> <p>The trio started the year by winning&nbsp;the opening two World Endurance Championship rounds at Silverstone and Spa, although Davidson claimed the latter was &#39;lucky&#39; considering they didn&#39;t have the quicker car.</p> <p>Following that early-season experience, and having come so close to winning Le Mans in the past, the 2014&nbsp;World Endurance champion believes&nbsp;good fortune will be a factor in deciding a winner for the 85th edition of the race this weekend.</p> <p>&quot;Well you saw how much bad luck can come into effect last year,&quot; Davidson told <em>Motorsport</em>.</p> <p>&quot;If you don&#39;t have any bad luck, you need a faultless race in terms of driving, in terms of reliability of your car.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;I watched a documentary recently on climbing Mount Everest, and the locals said that you need luck to get to the top, and I think it&#39;s the same as that.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;I could really empathise with what they&#39;re saying, because it&#39;s true. You can plan this race as good as you can, and at the end of the day you do need luck to win it.&quot;</p> <p>The #8 Toyota will start second on the grid, as part of a front-row lockout with the sister #7 car which <a href="">broke the Circuit de la Sarthe lap record in qualifying</a>.</p> <p>Porsche occupy the row behind, and although the 919 Hybrids have been short on pace to the Toyotas so far this week, Davidson doesn&#39;t feel we have seen the best of the German manufacturer&#39;s two cars.</p> <figure class="image" style="float:right"><img alt="" height="220" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/WEC/2017_WEC_T09_LeMans_Sunday_S2_1.jpg" width="400" /> <figcaption>Davidson and co are wary of Porsche (James Moy)</figcaption> </figure> <p>&quot;Nope. No. I can&#39;t tell myself that we have,&quot; he said.</p> <p>&quot;You&#39;ve always got to expect them to improve like we saw in Silverstone. We had the upper hand all week, and I when it came to the race I think they had the speed to win.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;The outright pace of the #2 car was a big surprise, so I&#39;m expecting them to raise their game for the race day.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;They [Porsche] knew they had a good car in the Silverstone race.&nbsp;So based on that, I&#39;m fully expecting them to be right there this weekend.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;I feel we are prepared with three cars here,&quot; he said.</p> <p>&quot;We&rsquo;ve done the best we can. I&rsquo;ve never seen the team so prepared to win this race so hopefully it pays off this year. You can never expect anything from this one.&quot;</p> <p>Davidson&#39;s best result at Le Mans was second in 2013, with the Toyota TS030 Hybrid.</p> <p>The following year he finished third, but those have been his only&nbsp;trips&nbsp;to the podium from nine visits.</p> <p>Although Le Mans is his Mount Everest, Davidson doesn&#39;t feel the pressure to add his name to the Le Mans honour roll on his tenth appearance&nbsp;- rather he feels the opposite, because he knows he has done enough in the past to prove his ability.</p> <p>&quot;I don&rsquo;t think that if I won this race, other people&rsquo;s perception of me as a sportscar driver will change,&quot; he explained.</p> <p>&quot;At the end of the day I don&rsquo;t really care about what other people think about my driving, but I&rsquo;m hard on myself.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;Last year we did enough to win this race and I know I&rsquo;ve done the job multiple times. I said a couple of years ago that I know how to win this race as a driver, and I proved that last year.&nbsp;I don&rsquo;t actually need a trophy or for it to be on my CV to prove&nbsp;it.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;And that&rsquo;s how I get the best out of myself for this race: I find people get too hit up about it because they put too much weight on this one race when you can&rsquo;t control how well you do because it either comes your way or doesn&rsquo;t.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;It&#39;s our Everest, basically.&nbsp;I may never get to the top in my career...but as long as I do the job I know I can do, I&#39;ll be happy.&quot;</p> <p>The 24 Hours of Le Mans is set to get underway on Saturday afternoon (June 17th) at 15:00 local time (CEST).</p>, plug-in hybrids at the heart of 2020 LMP1 regulationsFri, 16 Jun 2017 10:56:37 GMT<p><strong>An updated rulebook for the LMP1 category of the FIA World Endurance Championship has been announced by the ACO, with cost-cutting initiatives and plug-in hybrid technology headlining the changes.</strong></p> <p>ACO President Pierre Fillon presented the regulations one day before the start of this year&#39;s 24 Hours of Le Mans,&nbsp;which promise to&nbsp;maintain stability whilst furthering technological innovation in the competition&#39;s top tier.</p> <p>The number of aerodynamic kits allowed per season has been reduced from two to one in a bid to reduce spending.</p> <p>In response, the WEC has granted the use of active aerodynamic elements that can be tweaked to suit the demands of different circuits, depending on their downforce requirements.</p> <p>Implementing removable aero parts will mean teams won&#39;t be able to develop a specific Le Mans aero package, as is currently the case.</p> <p>Other cost-cutting measures include the reduction of wind tunnel testing to 600 hours per year (from 800), the curbing of test day availability to give teams a &#39;very limited&#39; number of private runs, and a rule preventing teams from building a new car each season.</p> <p>In another major announcment, Fillon revealed&nbsp;that hybrid teams will be required to run the first kilometre of each outlap under electric power alone.</p> <p>In order to bring the road-going technology of manufacturers into racing, cars will undergo a rapid recharge using a plug-in hybrid system that will operate simultaneously with refuelling.</p> <p>Plans are also afoot to require cars to finish races on electric power, although these are not set in stone.</p> <p>Changes regarding staff numbers (down from 65 to 50)&nbsp;and new future competitions were also discussed at the conference, were also presented.</p> <p>From the competition side, an LMP3 &#39;World League&#39; will be established for the growing junior prototype category that now has championships in Europe, Asia, North America and the United Kingdom.</p> <p>The plan is to pit the best entries from each series in a &#39;Super Final&#39; to determine the world&#39;s top LMP3 outfit.</p> chairman Chase Carey named Le Mans starterFri, 16 Jun 2017 10:06:43 GMT<p><strong>Formula 1 chairman Chase Carey will wave the French tricolore to release the field at this year&#39;s 24 Hours of Le Mans.</strong></p> <p>The Liberty Media executive, who has been in charge of the single-seater championship since September 2016, was confirmed in a press conference at the Circuit de la Sarthe.</p> <p>Carey follows in the footsteps of American compatriot and Hollywood star&nbsp;Brad Pitt, who waved the cars away in 2016.</p> <p>ACO President Pierre Fillon said that Carey would help strenghten ties between Formula 1 and the Le Mans governing body.</p> <p>FIA bosses recently came together in Monaco to discuss the possibility of creating a sporting calendar that would minimise clashes and elevate the global status of&nbsp;each category.</p> <p>&quot;[I am] delighted that Chase Carey immediately accepted the invitation to be 2017 race starter,&quot; said Pierre Fillon, ACO President.</p> <p>&quot;By starting the race side by side, we will be demonstrating the new ties forged between the ACO and Formula One, facilitated by Jean Todt, president of FIA, our partner in the World Endurance Championship.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;The ACO has always been strongly attached to the passion for endurance racing, its history and above all to the fans, the people who make the discipline what it is.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;With Chase Carey as head of Formula One, the time has come to work together on the sporting calendar, to ensure fans can follow the Grand Prix and endurance racing seasons and enjoy both disciplines to the full.&rdquo;</p> <p>The 24 Hours of Le Mans is due to get underway tomorrow (Sunday, June 17th) at 15:00 local time (CEST).</p> Dumas aiming to 'complete the set' at Le MansFri, 16 Jun 2017 08:27:12 GMT<p><strong>Reigning World Endurance Champion Romain Dumas says he is relishing the opportunity to race an LMP2 car at the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the first time.</strong></p> <p>The 39-year-old Frenchman, who has won the race twice overall and once in class,&nbsp;stepped back from his Porsche LMP1 role at the end of 2016 having clinched the world title with Neel Jani and Marc Lieb.</p> <p>This year, Dumas&nbsp;is taking on the new challenge of piloting an Alpine A470-Gibson in the secondary prototype class alongside Signatech&#39;s regular WEC drivers Gustavo Menezes and Matt Rao.</p> <p>The trio shared the car for the first time at the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps in May, finishing fifth.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s such a great opportunity for me,&rdquo; Dumas told <em>Motorsport</em>, &ldquo;After trying my hand and winning in LMP1 and GT, I wanted to complete the set and race in LMP2.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;Last December I contacted Porsche and expressed my plan to do Le Mans with a different team.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;They were interested in the idea of me doing LMP2, especially with a top team like Signatech Alpine. I saw Alpine&rsquo;s success last season and that made me keen to join. I contacted the team and everyone was willing to have me on board.&rdquo;</p> <p>The move was made possible by Toyota&rsquo;s decision to recall Nicolas Lapierre from Signatech Alpine for its additional Le Mans LMP1 entry.</p> <p>Had that not gone through, Dumas says that he would have pursued a GT3 drive in the Blancpain Series instead.</p> <p>With a Le Mans drive in the bag,&nbsp;Dumas is relishing the opportunity to compete&nbsp;with a French team for the first time since 2008 when he drove for Pescarolo Sport&rsquo;s LMP1 programme.</p> <p>However, he admits that the combination can create added pressure, especially with Alpine&#39;s status as a top team in the category.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s hugely important for the fans,&rdquo; he said.</p> <figure class="image" style="float:right"><img alt="" height="220" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/WEC/jm1714ju55.jpg" width="400" /> <figcaption>Dumas is a popular driver, especially in a French car. (James Moy)</figcaption> </figure> <p>&ldquo;We have a French team, a French brand and myself, a French driver, competing in a French race - it is an excellent mix,&rdquo; he said.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s huge&nbsp;because Alpine is a popular French brand. Admittedly that does put some pressure on us because we are fully aware of the importance of Alpine at Le Mans, but our team is very strong.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;I watched both Gustavo and Matt [in WEC LMP2] last year and was impressed by their performances. I&rsquo;m sure they&rsquo;ll learn a lot under Nico during the season and at Le Mans for sure I am helping share some of my experience with them. This weekend we are sharing a small motorhome in the campsite - so we know each other well now!&rdquo;</p> <p>Dumas has been driving at the top level of endurance racing for over 15 years, and is preparing to make his 17<sup>th</sup> start at the Circuit de la Sarthe.</p> <p>His profound experience means he has driven in different eras (most recently the hybrid revolution) and tried different cars with constantly evolving regulations.</p> <p>In 2017 he will sample another drastic change in the debut of the new LMP2 formula, which sees increased all-round performance including a power jump to approximately 600 horsepower.</p> <p>&ldquo;The new LMP2 category is very exciting, and is now at a level of performance where it is producing enough power to be the class that sits under LMP1 Hybrid,&rdquo; said Dumas.</p> <p>&ldquo;I think we are seeing that it has become like the new LMP1 privateer - teams from there are looking at LMP2 as the next step and it is a good, competitive place for young drivers to race.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;I have been involved in quite a few changes in the structure of the sport, like the introduction of hybrids and the arrival of closed-cockpit LMP1s, and this is one of the major ones.&rdquo;</p> <p>After a successful test day, the #36 car qualified 11th in class and 17th overall, with Menezes posting a time of 3m 28.021s that would have been enough to beat Dumas&#39; LMP1 Pescarolo by half a second.</p> <p>Although Dumas believes the team can go faster, he is wary that the class has numerous potential winners and so it taking a pragmatic approach.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s the toughest class I&rsquo;ve ever driven in, based on the competition,&rdquo; he said.</p> <p>&ldquo;For me, between seven to ten cars can win. I compare that to when I won GTE-Pro with Porsche in 2013 &ndash; we realistically six cars in competition, and in LMP1 last year we had seven cars in total.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;A lot of people might think I&rsquo;m claiming it&rsquo;s tougher for the sake of saying it, but I genuinely think it is because every car has one silver driver and that can make a big difference. I think we have a good package, but all [ORECA] 07s have the same so it is very close.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;We do need to be fast but there is no point adding more pressure on ourselves because there is enough as it is - we have a plan in place&nbsp;and we will stick to it.</p> <p>The 85th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans is set to get underway on Saturday, June 17th at 15:00 local time (CEST).</p> Kamui Kobayashi smashes the fastest ever Le Mans lapThu, 15 Jun 2017 22:23:00 GMT<p>Kamui Kobayashi in Toyota #7 has literally annihilated the Le Mans lap record with a 3:14.791 on a flying lap just after the restart of qualifying session #2 after a red flag.</p> Andy Priaulx on his Le Mans journeyThu, 15 Jun 2017 22:17:38 GMT<p>Watch how racing driver Andy Priaulx prepares for the most demanding race on the planet...the 24 Hours of Le Mans.</p> clinches pole at Le Mans; locks out front-rowThu, 15 Jun 2017 22:12:20 GMT<p><strong>Toyota will start this weekend&#39;s 24 Hours of Le Mans from pole position after the Japanese manufacturer topped the third and final qualifying session on Thursday night.</strong></p> <p>Kamui Kobayashi&#39;s record-breaking time of 3:14.971s - <a href="">set during the second session at dusk</a> - held out as the fastest lap overall to put the #7 TS050 in front.</p> <p>An early 3m 17.126s flyer from Kazuki Nakajima during the final set of runs elevated the sister machine in front of the #1 Porsche 919 Hybrid to ensure a front-row lockout.</p> <p>The final margin between the top two cars was 2.227 seconds.</p> <p>Kobayashi will share the #7 car with Mike Conway and St&eacute;phane Sarrazin, while Nakajima drives the #8 alongside Anthony Davidson and S&eacute;bastien Buemi.</p> <p>Porsche had a troubled run during Q3, with Brendon Hartley pulling the #2 919 to one side with overheating issues.</p> <p>That rested the team&#39;s hopes on the #1 car, which lost valuable track time with a slow puncture.</p> <p>Andre Lotterer mustered a best time of 3:17.259s, bringing Porsche to a tenth of a second shy of disrupting Toyota&#39;s lockout, but the German manufacturer couldn&#39;t quite beach the pace of the leading TS050s. Porsche&#39;s #2 entry will start this weekend&#39;s race fourth, ahead of the #9 TS050 which rounds out the LMP1 hybrid field.</p> <p>The result means&nbsp;Toyota gets to celebrate its second pole position of the season, and a mirroring of its qualifying result at Le Mans in 2014&nbsp;when it beat&nbsp;Porsche.</p> <p><strong>LMP2</strong></p> <p>In LMP2, G-Drive Racing will start from pole position thanks to a 3:25.352s submission by Alex Lynn.</p> <p>The British driver&#39;s time lifted the TDS-run ORECA 07 from the midpack into provisional pole early in the final session, and was enough to seal the top spot by the close of play.</p> <p>Second in class was Vitaly Petrov in the ORECA 07 prepared by Manor, four tenths off the precedent set by Lynn.</p> <p>Oliver Jarvis qualified third for Jackie Chan DC Racing, ahead of the two Rebellion Racing entries.</p> <p>The top nine places in LMP2 were occupied by ORECAs with the &#39;best of the rest&#39; honour going to Mikhail Aleshin in the SMP Racing-entered Dallara P217.</p> <p><strong>GTE-Pro</strong></p> <p>Aston Martin will start from pole position in GTE-Pro, but the British squad&#39;s hopes of a front-row lockout were dashed by Ferrari driver James Calado, who jumped up to second in the final 10 minutes.</p> <p>Calado&#39;s time was two tenths slower than the ultimate pole figure set by Darren Turner in the #97 Vantage, but was enough to edge out the sister Aston qualified by Richie Stanaway.</p> <p>Stanaway had gone top with 23 minutes to go, but a late charge from the other side of the Aston Martin garage saw the order switch.</p> <p>Sam Bird slotted the #71 Ferrari into fourth, ahead of the #69 Ford GT which shot to provisional pole after spending much of qualifying at the foot of the table.</p> <p>Sixth and seventh were the fastest entries from Corvette and Porsche, respectively.</p> <p><strong>GTE-Am</strong></p> <p>The order was equally restless in GTE-Am, with numerous teams spending time in the provisional pole spot.</p> <p>Ultimately it was Fernando Rees in the Labre Competition &#39;art-car&#39; Corvette who prevailed, with the Brazilian registering a 3:52.843, four seconds quicker than last year&#39;s pole.</p> <p>Initially, US Ferrari driver Bill Sweedler held sway after knocking the previously dominant #98 Aston Martin of Pedro Lamy off its perch.</p> <p>A response from Lamy&#39;s team-mate Mathias Lauda restored the provisional result from earlier on Thursday, but didn&#39;t last long as former Aston Martin driver Rees charged through to snatch pole.</p> <p>The Aston Martin squad duly settled for second, with Sweedler&#39;s time good enough for third and the #77 Proton Competition Porsche 911 RSR ensuring an eclectic top-four.</p> Mans Q2: Kamui Kobayashi breaks lap record for ToyotaThu, 15 Jun 2017 19:46:06 GMT<p><strong>Kamui Kobayashi smashed the Circuit de la Sarthe&nbsp;qualifying lap record to top the second of three sessions for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.</strong></p> <p>Driving the #7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid, Kobayashi made the most of a clean track and favourable wind conditions to set a time of 3m 14.791s, some two seconds quicker than the previous record set by Porsche&#39;s Neel Jani in 2015.</p> <p>The lap strengthened the #7 crew&#39;s position as provisional pole sitter, after Mike Conway paced the session&#39;s early stages and Kobayashi led the opening session on Wednesday.</p> <p>It also put a bridge of 2.468 seconds between Kobayashi and Neel Jani, who lifted the #1 Porsche 919 Hybrid into second position.</p> <p>Third quickest was Timo Bernhard&nbsp;in the sister Porsche with a 3m 18.067, ahead of the #8 Toyota which underwent a swift engine change for a suspected oil pressure problem during the opening 10 minutes.</p> <p>The fastest times of the two-hour dusk session all came after a 45-minute red flag period, caused by a heavy shunt for Eurasia Motorsport LMP2 driver Erik Maris against the Mulsanne Straight barriers.</p> <p>A seccond, session-ending stoppage&nbsp;occurred with 10 minutes to go after Timothe Buret nosed the Panis Barthez Ligier LMP2 into the armco at Tertre Rouge.</p> <p>Other minor incidents peppered the session, as drivers started to touch the limit in the bid to maximise their qualifying positions.</p> <p>In LMP2, Vitaly Petrov elevated Manor into provisional pole position with a 3m 25.549s effort midway through the evening run.</p> <p>The Russian driver&#39;s time broke the lap record for the category by almost four seconds, and put the British squad 1.2 seconds ahead of the #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA 07.</p> <p>Consolidating Manor&#39;s position was Jean-Eric Vergne in third, with the two Rebellion Racing ORECAs rounding out the top five.</p> <p>An improvement from Jonny Adam kept Aston Martin at the top of the GTE-Pro timesheets, although the #97 now sits ahead of the #95, which led Q1.</p> <p>Adam&#39;s registering of a 3m 51.860s put him three tenths of a second up on the second-placed Ferrari 488 driven by James Calado, who came close to beating the Aston in the closing stages.</p> <p>In GTE-Am, Aston Martin&#39;s status as provisional pole-sitter&nbsp;was altered by Will Stevens who laid down a time of 3m 53.981s to put the JMW Motorsport Ferrari&nbsp;in front.</p> <p>Moments after Stevens set his lap moments before the final red flag period, Euan Hankey slid the TF Sport Aston Martin into second, ahead of Mathias Lauda who was behind the wheel of the Aston that led much of the session.</p> aiming for Le Mans return with electric Garage 56 entryThu, 15 Jun 2017 10:08:02 GMT<p><strong>American sportscar manufacturer Panoz has revealed the car it hopes will mark its return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, in a presentation at the Circuit de la Sarthe on Thursday.</strong></p> <p>The GT-EV is a four-wheel drive, battery-powered GT car designed to run in the special Garage 56 category of the French enduro.</p> <p>Its primary goal is to match the speed and range of current petrol and hybrid racing machines using a single battery pack, before changing batteries in the same time it would take to refuel a conventional car.</p> <p>Panoz said the concept, which has been named the Green4U Panoz Racing GT-EV, is the &quot;holy grail&quot;&nbsp;for his team.</p> <p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re debuting it here at Le Mans because of this iconic race&rsquo;s history where the brightest and most ambitious and tenacious competitors always push the motorsports and automotive boundaries,&quot; he said.</p> <p>&ldquo;We pushed the boundaries when we brought Sparky [the 1998 Panoz Q9 GTR-1 Hybrid] and the DeltaWing to Le Mans, and we&rsquo;ll do the same with the all-electric GT-EV.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;I don&#39;t see reason to waste time doing what everyone else is doing,&quot; he added, &quot;so why not do something new?&quot;</p> <p>The car&nbsp;creates a total power output of 450 kW through electric motors mounted in the front and rear axles, and has a projected top speed of 180 mph.</p> <p>It will be based on a carbon fibre chassis, with an offset closed cockpit on the left side of the frame.</p> <p>The company also has plans to put the GT-EV into production, with Panoz stating &quot;this car is representing the GT road car of the future.&quot;</p> <p>Although Panoz is waiting for acceptance of its Garage 56 status by the ACO, it has hinted that terms have been met and even suggested running the car at the Daytona 24 Hours.</p> <p>The marque most recently entered Le Mans under the DeltaWing banner in 2012. Previously, it ran the Panoz Esperante GTR-1 to seventh place in 1998, and the LMP900-class Roadster-S which achieved a best result of fifth.</p> on provisional pole for Le Mans 24 HoursWed, 14 Jun 2017 22:31:11 GMT<p><strong>Toyota drew first blood in qualifying for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, as Kamui Kobayashi topped the timesheets in the first of three sessions.</strong></p> <p>A 3:18.793s time from the Japanese driver early in the two-hour Wednesday night run gave Toyota the early edge over Porsche.</p> <p>Kobayashi&#39;s attempt was one second quicker than the pole time from 2016, set by Porsche driver Neel Jani, but still short of his own marker from the official test day.</p> <p>Backing up Kobayashi&#39;s time was compatriot&nbsp;Kazuki Nakajima, who steered the #8 TS050 to a 3:19.431s.</p> <p>Porsche&#39;s closest challenge to the Toyota ascendancy came from the German marque&#39;s #2&nbsp;car, qualified by Timo Bernhard.</p> <p>The 2015 world champion&#39;s best effort was 0.971 seconds off the pace of Kobayashi, leaving Porsche with pace to find during the two remaining sessions on Thursday.</p> <p>Neel Jani qualified the&nbsp;sister 919 fifth, behind the #9 Toyota driven by Nicolas Lapierre.</p> <p><a href="">RESULT: 24 Hours of Le Mans Qualifying 1</a></p> <p>In LMP2, a late flurry of quick laps saw the order change multiple times, until Mathieu Vaxiviere eventually set a definitive marker.</p> <p>Driving the TDS Racing ORECA 07-Gibson, Vaxiviere turned in a best lap of 3:29.333s to edge ahead of the two Manor ORECAs that had previously commanded the session through Jean-Eric Vergne then Vitaly Petrov.</p> <p>Rebellion Racing&#39;s Bruno Senna and G-Drive Racing&#39;s Alex Lynn&nbsp;also slipped under the times set by the Manors, bringing&nbsp;the former onto the front row of the grid.</p> <p>Provisional pole in GTE-Pro went to Aston Martin&nbsp;courtesy of a 3:51.117s set by defending world champion Nicki Thiim.</p> <p>In a close-knit class battle, Sam Bird&nbsp;in the #71 Ferrari 488 finished second, just one tenth adrift of the Danish driver.</p> <p>A larger gap&nbsp;extended back to the sister entries for each manufacturer, before the best-placed Ford of Andy Priaulx could be found in fifth place and two seconds off Sorensen.</p> <p>Aston Martin also led the way in GTE-Am, as Pedro Lamy topped the class for the second time in a day following the Portuguese driver&#39;s strong performance during practice.</p> Jani paces 24H Le Mans practice for PorscheWed, 14 Jun 2017 18:14:24 GMT<p><strong>Neel Jani set the fastest time during free practice for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with the Swiss driver edging out the second-placed Toyota by six tenths of a second.</strong></p> <p>A last-gasp 3:20.362s&nbsp;effort from Jani, who shares the #1 919 Hybrid with Andre Lotterer and Nick Tandy, sealed the order in the final five minutes of a sunny four-hour session at the Circuit de la Sarthe.</p> <p>Jani eclipsed the time set early in the final hour by Kamui Kobayashi, who later spun his Toyota at the final chicane.</p> <p>The&nbsp;margin between the two drivers at the end was 0.604s, with Jani just over two seconds short of the pace set by Kobayashi at the official test day.</p> <p>Third quickest in free practice was Earl Bamber, who slotted his Porsche 919 Hybrid under Kobayashi by a margin of 0.721 seconds, and over a second off the leader.</p> <p>The 2015 Le Mans winner&#39;s best run of 3:21.687s was enough to eclipse the two other Toyotas,&nbsp;which rounded out the LMP1 hybrid order.</p> <p><a href="">RESULT: 24 Hours of Le Mans Free Practice</a></p> <p>In LMP2, ORECA 07-Gibsons filled out the top ten places as Alex Lynn set the benchmark for G-Drive Racing.</p> <p>Lynn&#39;s time of 3:30.363s gave the former Williams F1 tester a 1.3 second cushion to Mathias Beche in the next-placed car entered by Rebellion Racing.</p> <p>Bruno Senna backed up Beche&#39;s marker in the sister Rebellion entry, with the pair of Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECAs completing the top five.</p> <p>The fastest non-ORECA was the all-Russian SMP Racing Dallara driven by Victor Shaitar, which finished on a 3:34.507s.</p> <p><strong><big>Ferrari, Aston shine in GTE</big></strong></p> <p>GTE-Pro saw Ferrari and Aston Martin share out the top four places, with the former taking the fastest lap.</p> <p>A 3:54.832s marker from Sam Bird gave the 6 Hours of Spa-winning Ferrari 488 a four tenths of a second advantage over the Aston Martin driven by Darren Turner.</p> <p>Turner, who is competing in his 15th Le Mans, placed ahead of James Calado in the other Ferrari and Marco Sorensen in the sister Aston, which held the fastest lap for the opening half of the session.</p> <p>Pedro Lamy recorded a 3:56.082s time&nbsp;in GTE-Am that put the Aston Martin driver in the mid-pack of the Pro field.</p> <p>The session passed largely without incident, although the&nbsp;safety car did make an appearance during the second hour when Christian Philippon spun his Corvette into the barriers at Karting.</p> <p>After a full assessment, the Larbre crew opted to repair the damage and sent the car back out to complete its laps.</p> <p>An accident for the Villorba Corse LMP2 Dallara in the final 10 minutes resulted in the deployment of slow zones, but the safety car wasn&#39;t called for a second time.</p> <p>Minor incidents also befell the GTE-Pro teams, with a puncture impeding the progress of the #95&nbsp;Aston Martin&nbsp;and&nbsp;a brief trip across the Karting gravel slowing&nbsp;Michele Rugolo, who has come in as a<a href=""> late replacement for the injured Lucas di Grassi</a>&nbsp;at Ferrari.</p> <p>Qualifying for the 85th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans is set to take place later today at 22:00&nbsp;local time.</p> Di Grassi to miss 24H Le Mans with leg injuryWed, 14 Jun 2017 16:15:14 GMT<p><strong>Lucas di Grassi will not take his place in Ferrari&#39;s GTE-Pro driver lineup for this weekend&#39;s 24 Hours of Le Mans, after breaking his fibula playing football.</strong></p> <p>The former Audi LMP1 driver was due to make his GTE debut in the #51 488 with James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi, but has been ruled&nbsp;out upon advice by the FIA medical delegate.</p> <p>After initially gaining clearance and pushing through the injury to claim two podiums at the Berlin Formula E event, Di Grassi underwent further analysis on Wednesday and was deemed unfit to race.</p> <p>A Ferrari spokesperson said Di Grassi had likely failed to meet the requirement of exiting a car in under seven seconds.</p> <p>The AF Corse-run squad has filed a request to allow Michele Rugolo to come in as a late replacement.</p> <p>Ferrari is bidding for this year&#39;s GTE-Pro crown with rival manufacturers Porsche, Aston Martin, Chevrolet and Ford.</p> <p>The team&#39;s two car effort involves the Calado/Pier Guidi car and the #71 machine driven by Sam Bird, Davide Rigon and Miguel Molina.</p> finding Le Mans 'really tough' - Andy PriaulxWed, 14 Jun 2017 13:59:25 GMT<p><strong>Ford factory GT driver Andy Priaulx believes the team will struggle to retain its GTE-Pro crown at the 24 Hours of Le Mans this weekend.</strong></p> <p>Priaulx, who finished ninth last year with gearbox problems,&nbsp;will share the World Endurance Championship-leading&nbsp;#67 Ford GT with Harry Tincknell and Pipo Derani.</p> <p>However, he doesn&#39;t expect it to be as competitive as it was during the Silverstone and Spa six-hour contestes,&nbsp;where the trio finished first and fourth respectively.</p> <p>The source of discontent is the pre-event Balance of Performance, which is designed to level the different types of GTE machinery.</p> <p>Following Ford&#39;s rampant win in 2016, the quartet of Chip Ganassi-run cars have been dealt a 15 kg weight increase from the 6 Hours of Spa, putting them 20 kg up on last year&#39;s 24-hours.</p> <p>&quot;We&rsquo;ve got a lot more weight and a lot less power, so we&rsquo;re just working through our programme with the performance we have,&quot; Priaulx told <em>Motorsport</em>.</p> <p>&quot;I don&rsquo;t think we&rsquo;re the leaders of the pack this year with a tough BoP. We&rsquo;re in&nbsp;&#39;hanging-on&#39; mode, rather than the &lsquo;driving from the front&rsquo; mode we were in last year. I think it&rsquo;s going to be really tough.&quot;</p> <p>Priaulx, Tincknell and Derani currently lead the GTE-Pro category with 38 points, two points&nbsp;ahead of Sam Bird and Davide Rigon in their Ferrari.</p> <p>However,&nbsp;the onset of the BoP regulations - which have not impacted the Ferraris as severely&nbsp;- will enhance the value of the Le Mans double-points round in the scheme of the world championship.</p> <p>When approached about whether he feels extra pressure having to defend a championship lead with unfavourable BoP, Priaulx said:&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;I do, yeah.&nbsp;For us leading the world championship, the goal here is to get a result that means we come away from here with as many points as possible. That&rsquo;s where our focus lies at the moment, even more than the race.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;It&#39;s like a boxing fight with the level of pressure and intense build-up.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;We&rsquo;ve done lots of testing, including some low-downforce and tyre work&nbsp;at Spa. Then we&rsquo;ve been building everything up for this race because it&rsquo;s a big one for us with four Fords.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;It&rsquo;s always one of the biggest races in terms of pressure and we do really ramp up our preparations compared with the other WEC rounds. I&#39;ll need to go on holiday after!&quot;</p> <p>Regarding lap times, Priaulx doesn&#39;t foresee the Fords matching their pole-winning pace of 2016, when Dirk M&uuml;ller paced the field with a time of 3m 51.185s.</p> <p>&quot;It all depends on the heat of the track during the night sessions, and what the wind conditions are,&quot; said the three-time World Touring Car champion.</p> <p>&quot;There are many&nbsp;outside variables to consider. But with the changes we&rsquo;ve had, I think we&rsquo;ll be a couple of seconds off the pace set last year when we weren&rsquo;t carrying the extra weight.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;We don&rsquo;t know what anyone else has got. We may all think we know what we have, but in reality, nobody does.&quot;</p> Porsche, Toyota, Ford & Corvette preview the 24 Hours of Le MansWed, 14 Jun 2017 09:42:40 GMT<p>The jewel in the crown of the endurance racing calendar, the 2017 24 Hours of Le Mans is set to once again push the teams and drivers to the absolute limit. With Porsche and Toyota leading the line in the LMP1 class, the likes of Ford, Corvette, Ferrari and Aston Martin will battle out a competitive GT field. Mobil 1 The Grid spoke to Porsche&#39;s Timo Bernhard, Neel Jani, Earl Bamber &amp; Richard Lietz, Toyota&#39;s Jose Maria Lopez, Kazuki Nakajima and Sebastien Buemi, Ford&#39;s Joey Hand, Corvette&#39;s Doug Fehan and Aston Martin&#39;s Nicki Thiim to find out more.</p> you need to know for this year's Le Mans 24 HoursTue, 13 Jun 2017 05:03:06 GMT<p><strong>The world&#39;s most iconic endurance race - the 24 Hours of Le Mans - returns this weekend with a bumper grid and four competitive classes. Here you can find all the key information, from entries to TV schedules,&nbsp;before track action begins on Wednesday.</strong></p> <p><strong>What&#39;s new this year?</strong></p> <p>With Audi gone, Toyota and Porsche will lock horns for overall honours, with Toyota aiming to redress the 2016 race&nbsp;which saw its chances of victory scuppered by a turbo unit failure on the final lap. A full-length preview can be found in the latest edition of Motorsport Monday e-magazine.</p> <p>In LMP2, the new regulations make this category at least eight seconds a lap quicker than last year (and faster than the 2006 overall pole).</p> <p>GTE-Pro features another titanic manufacturer tussle between Aston Martin, Ferrari, Chevrolet, Ford and Porsche.</p> <p>The GTE-Am category involves some of the world&#39;s best customer GT teams, including Clearwater Racing, Proton Competition and Scuderia Corsa.</p> <p>A new feature this year is the system of <a href="">nine fixed slow zones</a>, to regulate speeds around incident areas. Previously slow zones were administered on an ad-hoc basis.</p> <p>Modifications have also&nbsp;been made to the layout on the inside line at the Porsche Curves to increase safety, although drivers have already voiced concerns over corner-cutting.</p> <p>Times from the official test day, held on June 4th, can be <a href="">found here</a>. Toyota went quickest, with a 3m 18.132s set by Kamui Kobayashi.</p> <p><strong>Who&#39;s taking part?</strong></p> <p><a href="">View the entry list here.</a> Note: Tony Kanaan replaces&nbsp;S&eacute;bastien Bourdais in the #68 Ford.</p> <p><a href="">View the spotter guide here</a>.</p> <p>This year&#39;s grid matches the record of 60 entries set last year, following the expansion of the pit complex.</p> <p>LMP1: 6 cars - including five hybrids<br /> LMP2: 25 cars - a class record<br /> GTE-Pro: 13&nbsp;cars &ndash; two per manufacturer, plus Ford&rsquo;s quartet and the Risi Ferrari from the USA.<br /> GTE-Am: 16 cars - with entries from WEC, IMSA (North America), ELMS (Europe) and AsLMS (Asia)</p> <p><strong>What&#39;s the schedule?</strong></p> <p><a href="">View the full event timetable here</a>.</p> <p>All times are local (CEST). UK is -1 hour and east coast&nbsp;USA is -6 hours.</p> <figure class="image" style="float:right"><img alt="" height="220" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/WEC/35050291976_79892e9d88_o.jpg" width="400" /> <figcaption>Six hours of qualifying decides the grid. (Drew Gibson)</figcaption> </figure> <p><strong>Wednesday, June 14th</strong></p> <p>16:00-20:00 Free Practice<br /> 22:00-00:00 Qualifying 1</p> <p><strong>Thursday, June 15th</strong></p> <p>19:00-21:00 Qualifying 2<br /> 22:00-00:00 Qualifying 3</p> <p><strong>Friday, June 16th</strong> - driver parade in Le Mans town centre</p> <p><strong>Saturday, June 17th</strong></p> <p>09:00-09:45 Warm up<br /> 15:00 Race start - finishes at 15:00 on Sunday, June 18th</p> <p><strong>How can I follow the race?</strong></p> <p>This year, the 24 Hours of Le Mans will be&nbsp;streamed on the official app, with advert-free live coverage and onboard cameras from 16 cars.</p> <p>Once again, Eurosport is one of the leading sources of TV coverage&nbsp;with the entire race and support package on Eurosport 1 combined with uninterrupted live streaming on the Eurosport Player app.&nbsp;Practice and qualifying are also part of <a href="">the schedule</a> on both fronts.</p> <p>In the UK, digital channel Quest will be showing select live segments of the race, plus a highlights show on Monday, June 19th. <a href="">View the times here</a>.</p> <p>ITV4 is also showing the last few hours live.</p> <p>In the US, <a href="">Fox Sports</a> is covering the race live on its two primary TV channels.</p> <p>For other countries, there is a detailed list of <a href="">all the broadcasters for 2017</a>.</p> <p>Live circuit radio is supplied by Radio Le Mans.</p> <p>Some useful Twitter accounts:</p> <p><a href="">@MotorsportWeek</a><br /> <a href="">@24hoursoflemans</a><br /> <a href="">@FIAWEC</a><br /> <a href="">@Porsche_Team</a><br /> <a href="">@Toyota_Hybrid</a></p> <p><a href="">@AMR_Official</a>; <a href="">@afcorse</a>; <a href="">@CorvetteRacing</a>; <a href="">@porscheraces</a>; <a href="">@FordPerformance</a></p> <p>Official hashtag: #LEMANS24</p> <p><strong>What are the support races?</strong></p> <p>For the second year in a row, the Road to Le Mans provides support to the 24-hours, while the Porsche Carrera Cup joins the bill.</p> <p>Taking place on Thursday (17:30) and Saturday (11:30) the 55-minute Road to Le Mans races are&nbsp;for LMP3 and GT3 machinery, and are part of the Michelin GT Le Mans Cup which takes place throughout the year in Europe.</p> <figure class="image" style="float:right"><img alt="" height="220" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/WEC/27788961395_04922d5673_o(1).jpg" width="400" /> <figcaption>LMP3 gets another crack at Le Mans (Jakob Ebrey)</figcaption> </figure> <p>An expanded grid of 50&nbsp;cars (eight more than last year) should make this a suitable appetiser for the more powerful prototypes and GTE cars racing in the main event. <a href="">View the runners and riders here</a>.</p> <p>The Porsche Carrera Cup race&nbsp;combines the best entries from the French, German, British, Benelux, Scandinavian,&nbsp;Australian, Japanese, Asian and Brazilian variations of the&nbsp;one-make championship.</p> <p>The 45-minute contest will take place on Sunday morning (before the second&nbsp;Road to Le Mans)&nbsp;with the green flag set to fly at 10:15. <a href="">Browse the 61 entries here</a>.</p> <p><strong>Things to look out for...</strong></p> <p>A colourful Corvette C7.R entered by French team Larbre Competition in&nbsp;GTE-Am.&nbsp;The &#39;art car&#39; design was realised by a friend of driver Romain Brandela.</p> <p>Eleven time F1 grand prix winner Rubens Barrichello is making his Le Mans debut with the Racing Team Nederland LMP2 squad.</p> <p>Continuing the F1 theme, current Renault test driver Sergey Sirotkin will also make his debut, driving an SMP Racing Dallara in the same category.</p> <p>The current race lap record is 3m 17.475, set by former Audi driver Andre Lotterer in 2015.</p> <p>Mark Webber is the grand marshal for this year&#39;s race, while the official starter is yet to be confirmed.</p> <p>Two former Audi LMP1 drivers are listed in the GTE-Pro ranks. Lucas di Grassi, still contracted to Audi, will drive an AF Corse Ferrari 488 whilst three-time Le Mans winner Marcel F&auml;ssler gets behind the wheel of a Corvette C7.R (the Swiss driver made a one-off appearance with the Chevrolet team in&nbsp;&rsquo;09).</p> <p>Some of the world&#39;s best online racers will be at the Circuit de la Sarthe to take part in the 24 Hours of Le Mans esports event, which runs simultaneously with the &#39;real&#39;&nbsp;24-hours on Saturday and Sunday.</p>