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Chandhok confirmed for Le Mans; British LMP3 CupThu, 20 Apr 2017 21:55:25 GMT<p><strong>Ex-Formula One driver Karun Chandhok will return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans this year in the LMP2 category.</strong></p> <p>The 33-year-old, who made eleven starts with the HRT and Lotus teams in 2010 and 2011 is set to take part in the French endurance classic for the fifth time.</p> <p>Chandhok will drive a Gibson-powered Ligier JSP217 run by British squad Tockwith Motorsports, sharing the car with Nigel Moore and Philip Hanson.</p> <p>The Yorkshire-based team currently competes in the European Le Mans Series and finished fifth on its LMP2 debut at Silverstone last weekend.</p> <p>Chandhok, Moore and Hanson were revealed on the <a href="">provisional entry list</a> for next month&#39;s Spa round of the World Endurance Championship, which the team will use as preparation for its first attempt at the 24-hours.</p> <p>The last time Chandhok raced at Le Mans was in 2015, when he joined Irish outfit Murphy Prototypes in its LMP2 lineup.</p> <p>He, Nathanael Berthon and Mark Patterson finished fifth in class on that occasion, bettering a sixth-place finish and a DNF with Murphy the previous two years.</p> <p>Chandhok also made one appearance in the top category -&nbsp;LMP1 -&nbsp;driving a JRM-entered HPD with Peter Dumbreck and David Brabham in 2012.</p> <p><strong>LMP3 debut this weekend</strong></p> <p>Chandhok has also been confirmed as a driver in the inaugural round of the UK-based LMP3 Cup Championship, which takes place this weekend at Donington Park.</p> <p>Sharing a Ligier JSP3-Nissan with former British GT regular Steve Tandy, Chandhok will be reunited with the T-Sport team that gave him an early opportunity in Formula 3 single seaters.</p> <p>&quot;Nice to be racing a T-Sport Racing car 13 years after I did F3 with them,&quot; said Chandhok on Twitter.</p> <p>&quot;Great guys! Helps me knock the rust off before Spa &amp; Le Mans.&quot;</p> <p>The LMP3 Cup Championship is a national-level feeder series for the Michelin Le Mans Cup, which supports the European Le Mans Series.</p> <p>It is designed to provide a cost-effective starting point for teams wishing to pursue the prototype ladder in the hope of competing at Le Mans.</p> 6 Hours of Silverstone race highlightsMon, 17 Apr 2017 09:22:38 GMT<p>Watch race highlights from an action-packed first round of the FIA World Endurance Championship at Silverstone, with the No.8 Toyota taking victory.</p> Toyota wins dramatic 6H SilverstoneSun, 16 Apr 2017 17:19:11 GMT<p><strong>A late overtake by Sebastien Buemi on Brendon Hartley handed the opening round of the 2017 World Endurance Championship to Toyota at an overcast Silverstone.</strong></p> <p>Buemi, sharing the #8 TS050 Hybrid with Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima, emerged from his final pit stop with an eight second deficit to Hartley in the #2 919 Hybrid.</p> <p>Equipped with a new set of Michelin tyres, Buemi laid into his rival&#39;s advantage during the final 30-minutes, eventually getting past with an opportunistic move on the inside of the Porsche at the Loop.</p> <p>Hartley - who partnered Earl Bamber and Timo Bernhard -&nbsp;crossed the finish line 6.173&nbsp;seconds behind Buemi, who claimed Toyota&#39;s first victory from pole position in the WEC since Fuji 2014.</p> <p>It also signalled the first win for Buemi, Davidson and Nakajima as a trio.</p> <p>Despite running a less competitive low-downforce aero kit compared to the high-downforce configuration used by Toyota, Porsche was able to keep in touch with the top spot through its alternate pit strategy.</p> <p>After a strong start by the Toyotas the Porsche of Andre Lotterer, Nick Tandy and defending world champion Neel Jani took the lead during a bout of rain during just before the midway point.</p> <p>However,&nbsp;the team lost time when the track returned to dry conditions because it had reverted to intermediate&nbsp;tyres during the shower.&nbsp;Tandy recovered to finish 47 seconds off race winner Buemi, whilst the sister car continued to push and saved time during a full course yellow period.</p> <p>That brought Hartley out in front of Buemi, until the race-winning move was completed with less than 10 minutes remaining.</p> <p>Toyota&#39;s other TS050 Hybrid retired midway through the fourth hour when team debutant Jos&eacute; Mar&iacute;a L&oacute;pez skidded into the barriers at Copse.</p> <p>L&oacute;pez ran onto the outside kerb upon entry to the fast right-hander, which pitched his Toyota straight-on and through the gravel.</p> <p>L&oacute;pez was taken to a nearby hospital as a precaution, whilst the Toyota mechanics got to work on sending the car back out.</p> <p>Mike Conway did manage to reach the finish, albeit 38 laps down.</p> <p>In LMP2, Jackie Chan DC Racing won its maiden WEC event with Oliver Jarvis, Ho-Pin Tung and Thomas Laurent behind the wheel of the #38 ORECA 07-Gibson.</p> <p>Jarvis took the chequered flag 19.376 seconds ahead of Nicolas Prost in the best-placed Rebellion Racing ORECA, and Mathieu Vaxiviere in the TDS Racing ORECA.</p> <p><big><strong>Ford takes GTE-Pro, Drama ensues in Am</strong></big></p> <p>GTE-Pro honours went to the pole-sitting Ford GT trio of Andy Priaulx, Harry Tincknell and additional Le Mans driver Pipo Derani who led most of the contest.</p> <p>Priaulx had to make an unscheduled pit stop early on when his opposite door became unhinged, placing the Ford on an alternate strategy that worked in its favour over the long run.</p> <p>Tincknell brought the car home 15 seconds ahead of Alessandro Pier Guidi in the #51 Ferrari 488, shared with James Calado.</p> <p>Completing an eclectic top three in class was the Porsche 911 RSR of Frederic Makowiecki and Richard Lietz, which took over the reins of Porsche&#39;s GT effort after a fourth-hour&nbsp;engine fire forced its sister car to retire early.</p> <p>A dramatic finish decided the result in GTE-Am, with Singaporean outfit Clearwater Racing taking its maiden WEC victory through an incident between the second and third placed cars.</p> <p>Miguel Molina (Spirit of Race Ferrari) and Pedro Lamy (Aston Martin Racing) tangled at the final corner, with ex-DTM star Molina heading into the gravel and Lamy losing time through a 360-degrees rotation.</p> <p>That enabled Matt Griffin to scamper through and take an unlikely victory for himself and team-mates Keita Sawa and Mok Weng Sun.</p> Endurance Championship set to change GTE format in 2018Sun, 16 Apr 2017 10:55:28 GMT<p><strong>The format for the World Endurance Championship GTE categories will be altered in 2018, according to several key members of the organising committee.</strong></p> <p>During a press conference ahead of the season-opening 6 Hours of Silverstone, FIA President Jean Todt said there would be a push to give GTE &quot;even more visibility&quot; in the coming years.</p> <p>Head of the FIA Endurance Commission Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones added that this would involve a change in format to enhance the status of the category, which recently gained recognition as a licenced world championship for the upcoming season.</p> <p>&quot;We are working on a format with some creative ideas on how to give the GT cars more visibility within the race wekeends to make that very attractive for the fans,&quot; said Owen-Jones.</p> <p>&quot;It&#39;s too early to say exactly what we are going to do but we should be able to come back with some news fairly soon.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;We would expect to see some evolution of the format itself by the beginning of next year.&quot;</p> <p>The GTE-Pro category is currently entered by Ferrari, Ford, Aston Martin and Porsche, with BMW set to join in 2018.</p> <p>GTE-Am, meanwhile, has attracted only five entries for 2017 and could be exposed to the upcoming wave of changes.</p> <p>The announcement was made after Todt, Owen-Jones and ACO President Pierre Fillon signed a contract extension for the WEC lasting through to 2020.</p> Pier Guidi (Ferrari): We are pushing, but it won't be easySun, 16 Apr 2017 10:02:27 GMT<p><strong>Ferrari factory GT driver Alessandro Pier Guidi believes tyre management will be key to overturning a pace deficit against his team&#39;s&nbsp;rival manufacturers during the&nbsp;6 Hours of Silverstone.</strong></p> <p>The 33-year-old Italian joins&nbsp;works squad AF Corse for his first full campaign in the World Endurance Championship, sharing the #51 Ferrari 488 with James Calado.</p> <p>However, based on practice and qualifying times, Ferrari is not displaying the pace of 12 months ago when it dominated the Silverstone opener from start to finish.</p> <p>Both Ferraris propped up the tail end of the GTE-Pro class order during opening practice on Friday, and in qualifying Pier Guidi and Calado only managed to record the sixth best time, some 1.2 seconds off the pole figure set by Ford.</p> <p>Pier Guidi linked the drop in performance to the Balance of Performance ratio set before the start of the season, which is taking on a new, algorithm-based system in a bid to take out the human decisions that caused controversy amongst the GTE manufacturers last year.</p> <p>&quot;I don&rsquo;t think we can do anything more because of the BoP system that we have this weekend,&quot; Pier Guidi told Motorsport</p> <p>&quot;We are pushing hard but at the moment this is the best we can do. We are trying to push harder but we don&rsquo;t expect to be super competitive and compete against Ford.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;We are not in an easy position but we will do our best.&quot;</p> <p>Although Ferrari says it is struggling in the power department, Pier Guidi asserted that tyre management will be equally important to the final outcome of the race.</p> <p>Silverstone is a high-grip circuit with several harsh cornering zones,&nbsp;meaning tyre degradation is at a premium.</p> <p>Further, with the new GTE-Pro regulations stipulating a reduction from six to four sets of rubber during qualifying and the race, an even greater emphasis is placed on the endurance aspect that Pier Guidi believes could help Ferrari where its pace is lacking.</p> <p>&quot;We have to save and look after the tyres,&quot; said Pier Guidi.</p> <p>&quot;This year we are required to do two double stints with the tyres. It&rsquo;s important that we do a good job with car set up to save the tyres during the second stint, and if we do that well we will gain time and get a good result.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;It&rsquo;s important to have a quick car, but also equally important to make sure the tyres don&rsquo;t drop off. It&rsquo;s difficult to do this &ndash; the weather conditions are not easy because at Silverstone it is often damp, as it has been in practice,&nbsp;or very cold and the tyres start to grain quite quickly here. But I&rsquo;m confident to have a good setup for the race.&quot;</p> <p>Pier Guidi feels he is coming into GTE-Pro at the right time. Despite the BoP contentions, the category is reaching what may be considered a golden era, with the FIA upgrading its drivers&#39; championship trophy to a full world championship accolade that places it on par with the LMP1 crown in terms of importance.</p> <p>&quot;I think with GTE we are reaching the same level of performance we had with GT1 in the past, which I drove in with Maserati,&quot; he said.</p> <p>&quot;In GTE-Pro the grid is only&nbsp;manufacturers, so I&rsquo;d say it&rsquo;s more competitive than GT1 because the car brands are competing directly against each other.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;This is the biggest moment for GTE-Pro, because it has four manufacturers and next year we gain another one in BMW.&quot;</p> <p>The 2017 season marks a watershed for Pier Guidi, who has been toiling away as an AF Corse driver representing Ferrari&#39;s numerous global customer outfits since switching from single seaters to GTs in 2005.</p> <p>Following a test with other prospective factory assets last year - including Miguel Molina and Nyck de Vries - Pier Guidi was chosen as the best candidate and consequently takes his place in the manufacturer&#39;s most prestigious team outside Formula One.</p> <p>His pedigree is capped by a class victory at the Daytona 24 Hours in 2014, plus multiple wins and pole positions in the Blancpain GT Series and European Le Mans Series.</p> <p>&quot;It&rsquo;s great to be here [in WEC] with Ferrari. As an Italian being with Ferrari is something special.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;I have driven for Ferrari for a long time but finally I am a factory driver and this is my first season in WEC. Yes, I did Le Mans last year but finally I am doing the full season.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;It&rsquo;s not going to be easy this year because I think GTE-Pro is by far the most competitive class in the championship, so we have to push hard to reach the goal at the end of the season.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;My results in ELMS and Blancpain last season helped me to get here, for sure. If you are quick in those series you will get noticed, and I think performing well at that level with AF Corse enabled me to get the Ferrari factory drive in WEC.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;I still love racing in all those series because they are all very serious but WEC is the top, the maximum. It&rsquo;s my biggest priority this season to do well in WEC, but equally I still enjoy racing in Blancpain because I came up from that championship to be where I am today.&quot;</p> <p>Pier Guidi, Calado and the rest of the GTE-Pro field will line up for the season-opening 6 Hours of Silverstone at 12:00 local time.</p> 6 Hours of Silverstone qualifying highlightsSat, 15 Apr 2017 18:06:37 GMT<p>Watch highlights from a busy qualifying for the 6 Hours of Silverstone, the season-opening FIA World Endurance Championship round.</p> sweeps front row in Silverstone qualifyingSat, 15 Apr 2017 13:01:01 GMT<p><strong>Mike Conway recovered from a lap time deletion to secure pole position for Toyota&nbsp;at the Silverstone round of the FIA World Endurance Championship.</strong></p> <p>Conway needed to complete two extra laps behind the wheel of the #7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid after running wide at Copse, but a recovery drive ensured he and team-mate Kamui Kobayashi claimed the first pole position of 2017, and the team&#39;s first in three years.</p> <p>A record breaking 1:36.793s lap&nbsp;by Kobayashi put the #7 car almost a second up&nbsp;after the first set of runs, before Conway consolidated the time to generate a 1:37.304s average.</p> <p>That put the duo 0.289 seconds ahead of Kazuki Nakajima and Anthony Davidson, who both scored quicker than Conway&#39;s individual time but couldn&#39;t bridge the gap to Kobayashi.</p> <p>The nearest Porsche 919 Hybrid finished 1.311 seconds off the pace on average, with Nick Tandy and defending world champion Neel Jani qualifying the #1 car.</p> <p>Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley completed the LMP1 Hybrid order in their Porsche.</p> <p>In LMP2, G-Drive Racing clinched its second consecutive Silverstone 6 Hours&nbsp;pole with Alex Lynn and Pierre Thiriet leading the way on a 1:44.387s average score.</p> <p>Reigning class champion Nicolas Lapierre and Signatech Alpine team-mate Matt Rao qualified second, in front of Thomas Laurent and Ho-Pin Tung in the Jackie Chan DC Racing machine.</p> <p>Andy Priaulx stole the show in GTE-Pro qualifying as Ford took its third WEC pole position some eight tenths ahead of the second-placed Ferrari.</p> <p>A 1:55.858s flyer by Priaulx gave the #67 Ford GT a huge advantage before team-mate Harry Tincknell came in to record the second quickest time in consolidation.</p> <p>That left the other crews to scrap over the secondary front row spot&nbsp;on the grid, with the Ferrari 488 duo of Sam Bird and Davide Rigon recording&nbsp;a 1:57.011s average to edge out the Nicki Thiim/Marco S&oslash;rensen&nbsp;Aston Martin.</p> <p>Completing the top five in class were the Stefan M&uuml;cke/Olivier Pla Ford and the Darren Turner/Jonny Adam Aston.</p> <p>In GTE-Am, Aston Martin claimed pole position with Pedro Lamy and Paul Dalla Lana qualifying 1.046 seconds ahead of the Ferrari driven by Thomas Flohr and Francesco Castellacci.</p> edges Porsche in 6H Silverstone warm upSat, 15 Apr 2017 09:47:44 GMT<p><strong>Anthony Davidson struck late to give Toyota the edge heading into qualifying for the Silverstone round of the FIA World Endurance Championship.</strong></p> <p>The British driver topped the 60-minute Saturday morning session with a time of 1:39.476s behind the wheel of the #8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid.</p> <p>Porsche had been in one-two formation for most of the morning, but Davidson&#39;s late attempt put the Japanese marque in front for the third consecutive practice session.</p> <p>Second quickest was Neel Jani in the #1 Porsche 919 Hybrid, who set a 1:40.223s marker that&nbsp;Davidson eclipsed by seven tenths of a second.</p> <p><a href=""><strong>Result: 6H Silverstone FP3</strong></a></p> <p>Third was the sister Porsche, ahead of the #7 Toyota which is currently under investigation by the stewards following an incident between Jos&eacute; Mar&iacute;a L&oacute;pez and the Aston Martin driven by Paul Dalla Lana.</p> <p>L&oacute;pez clipped the front of Dalla Lana&#39;s Am-class Aston exiting Luffield, with the resulting contact forcing&nbsp;the Canadian driver&nbsp;to limp his car back to the pits with a left-front puncture.</p> <p>The Toyota escaped without any noticeceable damage, although L&oacute;pez was close to skirting the gravel on the outside of the corner.</p> <p>In LMP2, Alex Lynn topped the order with a 1:44.485s time aboard the #26 G-Drive Racing ORECA 07-Gibson.</p> <p>GTE-Pro was led by the pair of Chip Ganassi-run Ford GTs, ahead of the two Ferrari 488s entered by AF Corse.</p> <p>Pedro Lamy paced GTE-Am in the #98 Aston Martin that ran into trouble late in the session.</p> <p>Qualifying for the WEC 6 Hours of Silverstone takes place later today (Saturday, April 15th) at 13:00 local time.</p> Vergne calling on F1 experience ahead of WEC debutSat, 15 Apr 2017 07:27:00 GMT<p><strong>Jean-Eric Vergne believes the intricacies of driving in Formula One&nbsp;will play to his advantage at this weekend&#39;s Silverstone World Endurance Championship opener.</strong></p> <p>The 26-year-old Frenchman is set to make his prototype racing debut this weekend, having spent the past six seasons on the Formula One circuit.</p> <p>Sharing the #24 CEFC Manor TRS Racing-entered ORECA 07-Gibson with Tor Graves and Jonathan Hirschi, Vergne is hoping to call on his previous single seater experience to rank highly amongst the competitive LMP2 field.</p> <p>&ldquo;Based on the first practice session, I think the race will be won both on pace and in the pits because there seems to be quite high tyre degradation,&rdquo; Vergne told Motorsport Week.</p> <p>&ldquo;We will make the difference if all three of our drivers are able to make the tyres last longer than the other teams, and that&rsquo;s where my experience can be very useful.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;In Formula One I had to do a lot of tyre saving with the high-degradation Pirelli tyres, so I think those skills will prove to be very useful this weekend and in the rest of the WEC.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;So far I&rsquo;m very pleased with everything I have seen &ndash; ORECA has produced an amazing car but the problem is everybody has one so it is close!&rdquo;</p> <p>Vergne arrives in the WEC seeking to forge a new career in sportscars, following a long tenure carving his way through the single seater ladder.</p> <p>Having reached the heights of Formula One with Toro Rosso from 2012 to 2014, he signed on as chief reserve driver for the main Ferrari team last year.</p> <p>After one season with the Scuderia, Vergne left to pursue a new career thread, and managed to use his time in the F1 paddock to connect with Graham Lowdon and John Booth &ndash; architects of the former Manor F1 team &ndash; whose sportscar outfit is entering its sophomore year in WEC.</p> <p>That opportunity to drive in prototypes means Vergne is now open to pursuing a new works-based programme in closed-cockpit racing &ndash; an opportunity his F1 roles have forced him to reject in the past.</p> <figure class="image" style="float:left"><img alt="" height="220" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/WEC/jmo1714ap27.jpg" width="400" /> <figcaption>Vergne&#39;s 2017 ride with Manor</figcaption> </figure> <p>&ldquo;LMP1 would be really nice for me,&rdquo; he said.</p> <p>&ldquo;I had an opportunity to drive with Porsche two years ago in LMP1, but I couldn&rsquo;t because of my commitments with Ferrari.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;But now I have the opportunity to gain some good experience in LMP2 and hopefully a good opportunity will come back up to race in the top class.&rdquo;</p> <p>Vergne hasn&rsquo;t cut&nbsp;his single seater ties completely, having agreed a deal with the Techeetah Formula E team for the current season.</p> <p>So far, he has claimed two podiums from four races, and sits a respectable fourth in the standings heading into the next round at Monaco.</p> <p>Keeping one hand in the Formula E pie means Vergne is continuing to drive with machines that require cutting-edge technology, which he hopes can make him an ideal candidate for a seat on board an LMP1 hybrid in the future.</p> <p>&ldquo;I think my experience in Formula E will benefit me in trying to get an LMP1 drive &ndash; definitely,&rdquo; he said.</p> <p>&ldquo;Formula E gave me a lot of experience in saving energy and making the power last. That will be useful in LMP2 because we are going to have to do a lot fuel saving this year, and also with the technology in LMP1.&rdquo;</p> <p>Adjusting to a new environment brings its own raft of challenges, but Vergne is confident that he can override these and become an accomplished prototype racer.</p> <p>Although he missed the WEC pre-season test at Monza to race in the Buenos Aires ePrix, he has already accrued enough miles behind the wheel to feel comfortable with the dynamics of the Manor ORECA.</p> <p>However, there were a couple of things that required some reconfiguration, such as driving a car with a roof and an extra pane of glass in front of the visor.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s kind of weird to be honest,&rdquo; he said.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s much harder to see, and you can&rsquo;t feel the wind or the speed in the same way you do in single seaters. But, I&rsquo;ve got used to the sensations quite quickly, and I&rsquo;m now fully used to it.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;I think the level of driver competition is very high [in WEC LMP2], and the cars are really nice to drive. Plus, doing the WEC means doing Le Mans, which I put as one of the top three races in the world. There are lots of positives to driving in this championship.&rdquo;</p> <p>Vergne and his team-mates begin their nine-race WEC campaign this weekend at the 6 Hours of Silverstone.</p> <p>The event is scheduled to get underway at 12:00 local time on Sunday, April 16th, with qualifying bookmarked for Saturday afternoon.</p> gains two seconds on Porsche in Silverstone FP2Fri, 14 Apr 2017 17:32:17 GMT<p><strong>Toyota swpet the LMP1&nbsp;timesheet&nbsp;during the second free practice session of the FIA World Endurance Championship opener at Silverstone.</strong></p> <p>The Japanese marque out-paced Porsche comprehensively, with the two TS050 Hybrids finishing at least two seconds clear of the nearest Porsche 919 Hybrid.</p> <p>Kazuki Nakajima turned in a time of 1:38.210s to lead the 90-minute Friday afternoon session, which put the #8 Toyota 1.4 seconds quicker than the fastest time from last year&#39;s 6 Hours of&nbsp;Silverstone weekend.</p> <p>Backing up Nakajima&#39;s time in the sister TS050 was Kamui Kobayashi, who posted a 1:38.444s marker.</p> <p>Having matched Toyota during the opening practice run on Friday morning, Porsche&#39;s cornering speed deficit - based on a decision to run its Le Mans-spec downforce kit at Silverstone - made the 919s markedly slower over the course of a lap during the afternoon run.</p> <p>Earl Bamber set the quickest time for the German marque, but the New Zealander was still 2.290 seconds off the overall pace.</p> <p>Completing the LMP1 hybrid order was the second Porsche, driven by Andre Lotterer.</p> <p><a href=""><strong>WEC 6 Hours of Silverstone FP2 Result</strong></a></p> <p>Alex Lynn recorded the best LMP2 figure of the day behind the wheel of the G-Drive Racing ORECA 07-Gibson.</p> <p>In the car run by French squad TDS Racing, Lynn shot to a time of 1:44.874s to head the competitive class order.</p> <p>Two tenths down on Lynn was&nbsp;the blue Signatech Alpine A470-Gibson, which recovered from an early trip into the gravel for Nicolas Lapierre that brought out the yellow flags.</p> <p>The team recovered to eclipse initial fastest lap-setter Mathias Beche in the #13 Rebellion Racing ORECA.</p> <p>In GTE-Pro, Porsche beat Aston Martin to the top spot with Kevin Estre hurdling over the two AMR Vantages midway through the session.</p> <p>Estre&#39;s 1:57.765s lap put a distance of 0.191 seconds between his 911 RSR and the Aston&nbsp;of Jonny Adam.</p> <p>Marco S&oslash;rensen rounded out the class top three in the other Aston Martin.</p> <p>GTE-Am practice was led by the Gulf Racing Porsche 911 RSR.</p>ébastien Buemi leads for Toyota in Silverstone opening practiceFri, 14 Apr 2017 13:13:35 GMT<p><strong>Toyota opened the&nbsp;World Endurance Championship season by setting the quickest time during the first practice session at an overcast Silverstone circuit.</strong></p> <p>S&eacute;bastien Buemi led the way&nbsp;with a&nbsp;time of 1:40.104s behind the wheel of the #8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid, shared with Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima.</p> <p>Buemi&#39;s effort was 0.781 seconds quicker than the Porsche 919 Hybrid of Brendon Hartley, which finished second in the LMP1 order.</p> <p>Despite running with a compromised low-downforce setup against the conventional high-downforce aero package of Toyota, the #1 Porsche of Hartley, Earl Bamber and Timo Bernhard managed to split the Japanese manufacturer&#39;s two cars. Mike Conway brought the second Toyota through on a 1:40.960, with Nick Tandy rounding out the quartet of hybrid LMP1 runners.</p> <p><a href=""><strong>WEC 6 Hours of Silverstone FP1 result</strong></a></p> <p>In the all-ORECA LMP2 category, Rebellion Racing pipped TDS Racing to the fastest time courtesy of a 1:45.913s&nbsp;effort by Mathias Beche.</p> <p>The Swiss driver edged out Matthieu Vaxiviere in the #28 TDS ORECA by 0.225 seconds, with Alex Brundle slotting slotting the best of the two Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECAs into third.</p> <p>Completing the top five in class were Roman Rusinov (G-Drive Racing) and Gustavo Menezes (Signatech Alpine).</p> <p>Aston Martin Racing led Ford and Porsche in the GTE-Pro manufacturer battle as Ferrari struggled to match the pace of its counterparts.</p> <p>Richie Stanaway set the quickest time of the opening session - a 1:59.110 - in the championship-defending AMR Vantage shared with Nicki Thiim and Marco S&oslash;rensen.</p> <p>The two Ford GTs followed up the New Zealander&#39;s benchmark with similar times: Billy Johnson rested 0.382 seconds off the pace with Andy Priaulx a further 0.008 seconds shy, with Frederic Makowiecki lapping fourth for Porsche.</p> <p>Ferrari, by contrast, ended up rock bottom in the category with its quickest car - the #51 488 GTE driven by Alessandro Pier Guidi - only managing a time of 2:00.081s.</p> <p>The prancing horse also propped up the order in GTE-Am as Pedro Lamy&#39;s Aston Martin Vantage led the category and infiltrated the Pro-class standings.</p> <p>A second 90-minute free practice session is bookmarked for 16:45 later today (UK time).</p> Ready, set race... 6 Hours of Silverstone WEC previewTue, 11 Apr 2017 20:58:35 GMT<p>With the 2017 WEC season almost upon us, all eyes will be on Porsche &amp; Toyota, whose rivalry in the LMP1 class is set to intensify as the teams prepare to do battle on track at Silverstone this weekend. Mobil 1 The Grid met the runners &amp; riders at the official pre-season test &ndash; the 2017 World Endurance Championship Prologue, from Italy&rsquo;s famous Autodromo Monza. Toyota&rsquo;s Anthony Davison, Sebastien Buemi and Jose Maria Lopez, and Porsche&rsquo;s Neel Jani and Andre Lotterer all feature.</p> Kubica pulls out of WEC season ahead of opening weekendTue, 11 Apr 2017 16:20:01 GMT<p>Robert Kubica has announced that he will not participate in the 2017 World Endurance Championship, despite having signed with the ByKolles team in February.</p> <p>The Polish driver had been due to make his competitive WEC debut this weekend at the season-opener at Silverstone, but confirmed in a statement that he had chosen to &quot;step down&quot; from the race seat with the privateer LMP1 team.</p> <p>&quot;After the Prologue, I have decided to interrupt my racing program with the ByKolles team in LMP1,&quot; he said.&nbsp;&quot;Therefore, I will not take part in the upcoming WEC Silverstone opening round and in the other WEC races.</p> <p>&quot;It has been a hard decision to step down and so lose the opportunity to join such a challenging and competitive championship, but I hope this will not be a definitive goodbye.&quot;</p> <p>Kubica trialled the Nissan-powered LMP1 car in November, but was unable to test during the recent Prologue when the team chose to pack up early following reliability issues.</p> <p>With the loss of Kubica, ByKolles has only one confirmed driver in&nbsp;Oliver Webb.</p> 'not favourites' at Silverstone following aero kit gambleMon, 10 Apr 2017 16:27:48 GMT<p><strong>Porsche is taking&nbsp;a gamble with its aerodyamic configuration at this weekend&#39;s 6 Hours of Silverstone, with the German manufacturer confirming a low-downforce setup for the World Endurance Championship&nbsp;season opener.</strong></p> <p>Both 919 Hybrids will run with&nbsp;low-downforce bodywork, in a move that will almost certainly curtail their performance on the 3.6 mile circuit.</p> <p>Low-downforce aero kits are typically reserved for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but the new LMP1 regulations have inspired Porsche to change its strategy.</p> <p>In 2017, LMP1 teams are allowed just two aero kits for the season, down from three last year. That means one high-downforce kit for the eight six-hour rounds which are held on cornering-dependent circuits, and one low-downforce kit designed specifically for the long straights at Le Mans.</p> <p>Team Principal Andreas Seidl said the decision was motivated by the new regulations, and is based on maximising development of the high-downforce kit ahead of&nbsp;its expected debut at the 6 Hours of the Nurburgring in July.</p> <p>&ldquo;With regards to reliability, we have been fine at our 30-hour test in Paul Ricard as well as at the Prologue in Monza,&quot; said Seidl.&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;We feel well prepared for the first six-hour race. However, with regards to lap-times, Silverstone is going to be difficult.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;In the name of cost saving, the 2017 regulations permit only two aero kits per season. We have managed our resources the way that we focus on developing and testing our Le Mans aerodynamics until the third race of the season is over.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;This means low downforce for the benefit of low drag and this unavoidably will be a disadvantage in Silverstone. After the Le Mans 24 Hours in June we will consequently arm the 919 with more downforce for the remaining championship rounds.&quot;</p> <p>Seidl added that other regulation changes, most notably regarding tyre usage, would make this year&#39;s opener particulalry challenging.</p> <p>&quot;Another new challenge that is addressed by the rules is the reduced amount of tyres,&quot; he said.</p> <p>&quot;Two fuel tank fillings &ndash; in other words about 90 minutes racing &ndash; with the same set of slick tyres will be standard. This requires very sensible tyre management.&rdquo;</p> <p>Toyota confirmed at Monza that it will use&nbsp;its high-downforce kit at all rounds bar Le Mans, with the low-downforce kit making its only six-hour appearance on the additional &#39;third&#39; entry at Spa in May.</p> <p>That means the Porsches&nbsp;may struggle to match the pace of their rival Toyota TS050s at Silverstone, and potentially Spa.</p> <p>&quot;Historically, Silverstone isn&rsquo;t our strongest circuit and I don&rsquo;t see us being the favourites this year either - especially as we are aerodynamically compromised,&quot; said defending world champion Neel Jani, who shares the #1 Porsche with Andre Lotterer and Nick Tandy this weekend.</p> <p>&quot;But,&nbsp;still we want as many points as possible.&quot;</p> <p>&ldquo;Last year we only won the opening round in the aftermath of scrutineering, but it was the beginning of an incredible season,&quot;</p> <p>In 2016 Porsche won the 6 Hours of Silverstone by default after the &#39;winning&#39; Audi was handed a post-race penalty. The team went on to win six out of nine races last season,&nbsp;securing a sweep of the drivers&#39;, teams&#39; and manufacturers&#39; world titles.</p> <p>The WEC 6 Hours of Silverstone takes place on Sunday, April 16th at 12:00 local time.</p> introduces new Balance of Performance formula to GTE-ProWed, 05 Apr 2017 10:38:59 GMT<p><strong>The FIA World Endurance Championship has released a new set of GTE-Pro Balance of Performance (BoP) regulations ahead of the 2017 season.</strong></p> <p>Initially confirmed at the Monza Prologue, the system is designed to minimise the manual altering of performance levels after each race.</p> <p>Last year, an unprecedented ten BoP changes were made during the nine-race calender, sparking dissent from the GTE manufacturers.</p> <p>The new system - dubbed &#39;Automated BoP&#39; - will be set&nbsp;between each six-hour event using performance data from the previous race.</p> <p>A different system will be deployed for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, in a bid to reduce &#39;sand-bagging&#39; - or the intentional masking of performance - at the first two WEC rounds.</p> <p>A statement released jointly by the FIA and ACO, the two bodies that run the world championship, said:&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;A&nbsp;calculation tool has been created which will allow the targets for balancing the different car models to be met, without human interpretation or decision-making, and using mathematical formulas based on the quantified, public, specific, measured data obtained during each race.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;The gaps between the different car models will be balanced automatically from one race to the next.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;The data recorded during the race will be used and, from this, a mathematical algorithm will automatically set the adjustments for the next race.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;The mathematical tool will dictate whether the adjustment should increase the performance of slower cars or slow down the fastest cars in order to maintain the overall performance and stability of the class throughout the season.&quot;</p> <p>Automated BoP is the result of meetings between the five current GTE manufacturers - Ferrari, Ford, Aston Martin, Porsche and Corvette - plus 2018 newcomer BMW, with the FIA&#39;s technical working group.</p> <p>The new system will take data from the fastest car of each manufacturer, and will discount extreme variables such as poor weather and excessively slow pace.</p> <p>Only weight and power can be adjusted by Automated BoP, with subjected cars receiving a maximum 20kg weight penalty and 10kw power deficiency after each race.</p> <p>The WEC statement added that the new system has been tested on data from the previous two seasons, with &quot;very satisfactory results&quot;.</p> <p>It has also been confirmed that GTE-Am will use the same performance-balancing regulations as in 2016.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Why is BoP necessary?</strong></p> <p>Matching the pace of drastically different GTE-Pro cars is no easy task.</p> <p>Each model, based on a road-going derivative, has its own strengths and weaknesses and a skilled team of technicians behind it, so a form of artificial adjustment needs to be made to ensure close racing and sustained manufacturer interest.</p> <p>The WEC&#39;s decision to treat Le Mans BoP separately is hugely important.</p> <p>Le Mans is, of course, the most prestigious race of the year. It is renowned throughout motor racing, not just the endurance niche, and carries double points towards the world championship.</p> <p>That made last year&#39;s BoP fiasco particulalry farcical, with Aston Martin, Porsche and Corvette openly expressing their outrage at&nbsp;the artificial advantage given to Ferrari and eventual winner Ford. They argued that those two teams were intentionally&nbsp;sacrificing their early-season results at Silverstone and Spa&nbsp;to gain an edge at the 24 hours.</p> <p>Automated BoP is unashamedly clear on its motive for ensuring that such tactics do not reoccur in 2017. Although the system doesn&#39;t come into effect until after the 6 Hours of Spa&nbsp;(leaving room for some scheming at Silverstone)&nbsp;it should create an equitable environment that satisfies both the needs of the manufacturers&nbsp;and the fans who may have felt deprived of a &#39;true&#39; race at Le Mans last year.</p> Toyota TS050 Hybrid in action at 2017 WEC PrologueWed, 05 Apr 2017 09:15:04 GMT<p>Watch Toyota&rsquo;s new TS050 Hybrid LMP1 machine in action at the 2017 Prologue, the FIA World Endurance Championship&rsquo;s pre-season test at Monza.</p> concludes Monza WEC Prologue on topSun, 02 Apr 2017 15:24:46 GMT<p>Returning Toyota driver Nicolas Lapierre set the fastest time of the two-day World Endurance Championship Prologue during the final three-hour session on Sunday afternoon at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza.</p> <p>Lapierre, who will pilot the Toyota TS050 Hybrid at Spa and Le Mans this year, recorded a time of 1:30.547, to put the #8 car on top of the timesheets.</p> <p>The #8 car ended up with the two quickest times of the afternoon session as Anthony Davidson set a 1:30.809, 0.262s behind Lapierre.</p> <p>Toyota wound up with a 1-2 to round out the Prologue, as Kamui Kobayashi set a 1:31.477 in the #7 machine, 0.930s adrift of Lapierre.</p> <p>Porsche therefore took third and fourth position, the #1 in front of the #2, with Nick Tandy setting the marque&rsquo;s fastest time of the afternoon, a 1:31.844, 1.297s down on Lapierre.</p> <p>Timo Bernhard was fourth in the other LMP1 entry, following the early withdrawal of ByKolles, while Jackie Chan DC Racing&rsquo;s Ho-Pin Tung led a closely-contested LMP2 field in the #38, 0.111s ahead of the #35 Signature Alpine entry.</p> <p>Manor newcomer Vitaly Petrov placed third in class, just 0.031s shy of Nelson Panciatici, while the #36 Signature Alpine, which took fourth courtesy of Gustavo Menezes, caused a red flag when Matt Rao went off at Lesmo 2.</p> <p>Ford took a 1-2 in the GTE Pro division, with Harry Tincknell in the #67 finishing just 0.042s ahead of Olivier Pla in the #66.</p> leads Prologue Sunday morning; ByKolles packs up earlySun, 02 Apr 2017 10:32:27 GMT<p><strong>Porsche set the two quickest times during a dry three-hour Sunday morning session at the FIA World Endurance Championship Prologue in Italy.</strong></p> <p>Neel Jani submitted a 1:32.020s best to put the 919 Hybrid shared&nbsp;with Andre Lotterer and Nick Tandy on top of the timesheets at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza.</p> <p>The morning run presented the busiest session of the Prologue for both Porsche and Toyota, with each LMP1 manufacturer submitting 80-plus laps to make up for the rain-soaked segment the previous night.</p> <p>Jani&#39;s time was backed up by Brendon Hartley in the sister 919, who came to within 0.004 seconds of the Swiss driver.</p> <p>The two Toyota TS050s finished third and fourth, around a half a second off the pace.</p> <p><a href=""><strong>WEC Prologue Sunday morning times</strong></a></p> <p>The only non-hybrid LMP1 car running at the Prologue ended its test early with engine issues.</p> <p>ByKolles Racing arrived in Italy with a new Nissan engine package derived from the former NISMO LMP1 project, plus a raft of aerodynamic changes, but &#39;unspecified problems&#39; meant the car only ran six laps on Saturday evening.</p> <p>In LMP2, Mathieux Vaxiviere led the times for TDS Racing, with the Frenchman pedalling his team&#39;s ORECA 07-Gibson to a 1:36.078s marker.</p> <p>GTE-Pro was once again topped by Kevin Estre in the #91 Porsche 911 RSR, whilst the Spirit of Racing Ferrari 488 paced GTE-Am.</p> <p>The final three-hour session of the 2017 WEC Prologue takes place later today at 14:00 local time.</p> Conway gives Toyota the afternoon edge at MonzaSat, 01 Apr 2017 15:33:48 GMT<p><strong>Mike Conway stormed to the top of the timesheets during Saturday afternoon&#39;s test session at the FIA World Endurance Championship Prologue.</strong></p> <p>The Toyota TS050 driver posted a best time of 1:31.332s to gain seven tenths of a second clearance at the head of the LMP1 order.</p> <p>Second quickest during the three-hour afternoon run was Kazuki Nakajima in the sister TS050 with a 1:32.062.</p> <p>Both Toyota times were enough to nudge the morning benchmark set by Neel Jani in the #1 Porsche 919 Hybrid.</p> <p>Brendon Hartley finished third in the times on board the #2 Porsche with a 1:32.146s effort.</p> <p><a href=""><strong>WEC Monza Prologue session 2 result</strong></a></p> <p>The session was red flagged&nbsp;with just over an hour to go when Kevin Estre beached his GTE-Pro class Porsche 911 RSR at the second chicane.</p> <p>Prior to that the Frenchman had set the fastest time in category, and despite the spin was able to hold on to the top spot with a time of 1:47.844s.</p> <p>The #24 Manor/CEFC ORECA 07-Gibson also encountered trouble, bringing out the yellow flags at the same location following a trip into the gravel.</p> <p>LMP2 was led by reigning class champion Gustavo Menezes (Signatech Alpine), while Gulf Racing paced GTE-Am for the second session in a row.</p> <p>The only night session of the WEC Prologue is set to get underway at 19:00 local time on Saturday evening.</p> Hartley 'hungry for the top step' after missing out in 2016Sat, 01 Apr 2017 13:14:20 GMT<p><b>Porsche factory LMP1 driver Brendon Hartley is &#39;hungry&#39; for his crew to continue its late season form and mount a title challenge in this year&#39;s FIA World Endurance Championship.</b></p> <p>The 2015 world champion notched up four victories last season but a poor start meant he and team-mates&nbsp;Mark Webber and Timo Bernhard were&nbsp;unable to defend their title.&nbsp;Instead&nbsp;the crown went to the sister Porsche crew of Neel Jani, Marc Lieb and Romain Dumas.</p> <p>This season Hartley is&nbsp;teaming up with&nbsp;Bernhard and childhood karting friend Earl Bamber, who came into Porsche&#39;s full-time lineup following Webber&#39;s retirement.</p> <p>Despite taking a back seat in the title fight last year, the 27-year-old is optimistic that the #2 crew can deliver from the outset and mount a challenge on the other LMP1 trios.</p> <p>&quot;It&#39;s clear the championship result last season came down to our results at the opening three races,&quot; Hartley told Motorsport Week.</p> <p>&quot;At Silverstone we led the race before a crash, and at both Spa and Le Mans we were leading again but had mechanical failures. We started the season with almost no points but then the four race wins and climbed to third in the championship, so we know what could have been.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;We feel good going into this season: although the start of last season didn&rsquo;t go to plan we finished really strong with four wins.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;Despite what happened we&rsquo;re going to attack from the first race in the way we&rsquo;ve always done. We&rsquo;re hungry for the top step.&quot;</p> <p><meta charset="utf-8" /></p> <p dir="ltr">The upgraded 2017-spec Porsche 919 Hybrid was unveiled at Monza on Friday ahead of its WEC race debut next month.</p> <p>Hartley explained that the car was a natural progression of the 919 formula, using the same (but heavily modified) V4 turbocharged engine originally mounted in its 2014 machine.</p> <p>&quot;In some ways I think Porsche has stuck to its guns,&quot; he said, &quot;Because&nbsp;the 919 was a very good concept from its debut season and it&rsquo;s been evolving ever since.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;Its success was shown by other competitors [Audi] following our example with the lithium-ion battery concept. The steps taken have been gradual, but we believe in the original concept and want to keep the evolution going for it to remain successful.&quot;</p> <p><meta charset="utf-8" /></p> <p>&quot;We&rsquo;ve improved gradually in a lot of small areas which when built up should translate into a more rounded, efficient step up in performance during the races,&quot; he added, &quot;But there is reason to be careful: we can&rsquo;t draw too many conclusions yet about what Toyota&rsquo;s done until the first race at Silverstone.</p> <p>Hartley&#39;s pre-season prep routine has not been confined to LMP1 testing: in January he took part in his fourth Rolex 24 at Daytona, this time with ESM under the new Daytona Prototype International formula,&nbsp;and two weeks prior to that&nbsp;claimed his&nbsp;first-ever 24 hour race victory at Dubai driving a Porsche 911 GT3-R.</p> <p><meta charset="utf-8" /></p> <p>&quot;I&#39;ve been competing at Daytona for four years now and I&#39;ve done Sebring too; I love racing in the US,&quot; he said.</p> <p><meta charset="utf-8" /></p> <p>&quot;I&rsquo;ve done three endurance races before the season starts so I feel like I&rsquo;m already in the rhythm and ready for WEC.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;I also pushed to do the Dubai 24 Hours and Porsche were happy to let me do it, so winning that was a great achievement.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;It&#39;s hard to say if it&#39;s a trend among LMP1 drivers - a few of the guys on the WEC grid did Daytona as well - but it&#39;s definitely an environment we enjoy.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;That&#39;s set me up well for the season, and with the 30 hour endurance test we did last week for Porsche at Paul Ricard I&#39;m confident our performance and reliability can improve even further this year.</p> <p>The extra preparation - and excellent results - are boding well for 2017. The disappointment of missing out on a second WEC title may have caused an ache, but equally it has driven Hartley to bounce back harder than ever this year.</p> <p>Porsche begins its WEC campaign at the 6 Hours of Silverstone in April.</p> pips Toyota in WEC Prologue opening test sessionSat, 01 Apr 2017 10:22:14 GMT<p><strong>Neel Jani posted the quickest time for Porsche during the opening session of the FIA World Endurance Championship Prologue test.</strong></p> <p>The defending world champion turned in a best time of 1:32.068s&nbsp;towards the end of a dry four-hour morning run at the 3.6 mile Autodromo Nazionale Monza.</p> <p>Jani&#39;s time was approximately half a second slower than the pole figure for the 2008 1000km of Monza, which was the last race held at the circuit featuring LMP1 machinery.</p> <p>Jani is sharing the #1 Porsche 919 Hybrid with new team-mates Andre Lotterer and Nick Tandy.</p> <p>Second quickest on Saturday morning and just 0.158 seconds off the pace was the Toyota TS050 driven by Anthony Davidson.</p> <p><strong><a href="">WEC Prologue Saturday morning times</a></strong></p> <p>The gap between Davidson and Jani was closer than any of the margins between Porsche and Toyota at last year&#39;s Prologue, held at Paul Ricard.</p> <p>Toyota&#39;s sister car finished third on a 1:37.491s effort, with the second Porsche sandwiching the Japanese manufacturer&#39;s two cars.</p> <p>Only the Nissan-powered ByKolles CLM P1/01 failed to set a lap time during the opening session of the two day public test.</p> <p>In GTE-Pro, Porsche&#39;s new 911 RSR topped the class timesheets courtesy of&nbsp;a 1:47.379s run by Michael Christensen.</p> <p>Only the pair of Ford GTs and the second Porsche kept to within a second of Estre&#39;s remit, with the Ferrari 488s and Aston Martin Vantages struggling to match the pace of their rivals.</p> <p>Andy Priaulx&nbsp;recorded the second-quickest time in class, two tenths shy of the pace.</p> <p>Rebellion Racing took a one-two in the LMP2 times led by a time of 1:36.094s from Bruno Senna, while&nbsp;Gulf Racing set the pace in GTE-Am.</p> <p>Saturday&#39;s second run takes place during the afternoon, between 14:00 and 17:00 local time. A night session is scheduled for later in the day.</p> Porsche 919 Hybrid revealedFri, 31 Mar 2017 12:41:19 GMT<p><strong>Porsche </strong><strong>has revealed the car it will use to defend its FIA World Endurance Championship titles in 2017.</strong></p> <p>This year&#39;s 919 Hybrid is a heavily upgraded version of the car that swept the drivers&#39; and manufacturers&#39; championships last season.</p> <p>It retains&nbsp;both the two-litre V4 combustion engine&nbsp;and the lithium-ion battery recovery system jointly capable of creating around 900 horsepower.</p> <p>Like the new Toyota TS050 Hybrid, the Porsche&nbsp;has undergone an aerodynamic facelift&nbsp;in accordance with the new WEC regulations designed to control cornering speeds.</p> <p>Porsche has also adopted a new livery for 2017 that has already been seen on the manufacturer&#39;s GTE and GTLM&nbsp;cars.</p> <p>&quot;For the 2017 season, 60 to 70 per cent of the vehicle is newly developed,&quot; said Team Principal Andreas Seidl.</p> <p>&quot;The basic concept of the 919 Hybrid still offers scope to optimise the finer details and further boost efficiency.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;The monocoque has remained unchanged since 2016, but the optimisation potential of all other components was analysed and, in most cases, adjustments made accordingly.&rdquo;</p> <p>Porsche unveiled its car at Monza ahead of the official WEC pre-season test.</p> <p>Neel Jani, Andre Lotterer and Nick Tandy will campaignt the #1 this season, with Earl Bamber, Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard sharing the #2 machine.</p> <p>View photos of the 2017-spec Porsche 919 Hybrid below.</p> <p><img alt="" height="534" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/WEC/M17_0694_fine.jpg" width="800" /></p> <p><img alt="" height="534" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/WEC/M17_0693_fine.jpg" width="800" /></p> <p><img alt="" height="534" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/WEC/M17_0694_fine.jpg" width="800" /></p> <p><img alt="" height="534" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/WEC/M17_0696_fine.jpg" width="800" /></p> <p><img alt="" height="534" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/WEC/M17_0689_fine.jpg" width="800" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Petrov confirmed at Manor for World Endurance ChampionshipFri, 31 Mar 2017 12:20:59 GMT<p><strong>Ex-Renault Formula One driver&nbsp;Vitaly Petrov will contest the FIA World Endurance Championship with the Manor LMP2 squad in 2017.</strong></p> <p>The 32-year-old Russian is set to join Simon Trummer and Roberto Gonzalez&nbsp;in the #25 ORECA 07-Gibson.</p> <p>Petrov competed in the WEC with SMP Racing last year, but the Russian outfit is sidelining its LMP2 programme to focus on the development of a new LMP1 car.</p> <p>The deal means Petrov will return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans after finishing on the LMP2 podium last year.</p> <p data-aria-label-part="0" lang="en">&quot;I&#39;m pleased to announce that I will join the Manor&nbsp;for the 2017 FIA WEC,&quot; said Petrov.</p> <p>&quot;Also thanks to all my fans, who were eagerly awaiting my further participation in the championship. We are waiting for everything together for the first race of the season.&quot;</p> <p>Petrov made 57 starts in Formula One between 2010 and 2012, driving for Renault and Caterham.</p> <p>Following a season in the DTM he turned his attention to endurance racing, becoming a key member of SMP Racing&#39;s prototype division.<br /> &nbsp;</p> unveils 2017 LMP1 racer at MonzaFri, 31 Mar 2017 09:55:04 GMT<p><strong>Toyota has taken the wraps off its updated TS050 Hybrid LMP1 racer ahead of the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship.</strong></p> <p>The car will run with&nbsp;a new 2.4 litre V6 turbocharged petrol engine in the eight megajoule category of the LMP1 hybrid sub-class.</p> <p>The 2017 season marks Toyota&#39;s sixth year at the top level of endurance racing, with the team stating a clear aim of winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans after falling agonisingly short last season.</p> <p>A new cylinder block, cylinder head, and enhanced development of the combustion chamber to optimise thermal efficiency highlight the other improvements made to last year&#39;s model.</p> <p>&ldquo;Although the TS050 Hybrid shares the same name as the 2016 car, its performance has been greatly improved by reviewing the powertrain and enhancing efficiency in all areas,&quot; said LMP1 project team leader Histake Murata.</p> <p>&quot;The team in Higashi-Fuji has worked ceaselessly since Le Mans last year to develop a powertrain which will deliver performance over one lap and over a full race distance, enabling us to compete at the front.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;This has resulted in a new engine, plus modifications to the motor generator units and battery. The first results are very encouraging but we will continue to fine-tune so we are ready.&rdquo;</p> <p>Toyota will field three cars at Le Mans, with Technical Director Pascal Vasselon stating&nbsp;two main factors influencing the decision.</p> <p>&quot;In 2014 and 2016 we had the performance to win Le Mans,&quot; said Vasselon, &quot;but we either had incidents or mechanical issues that prevented us from winning each time.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;That gave us no doubt about the interest for a third car.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;Furthermore, the freezing of the LMP1 regulations until 2019 also contributed to our decision, with the frozen monocoque development opening up the resources to produce the&nbsp;third car.&quot;</p> <p>It is understood that Toyota&#39;s third car will run in the low-downforce Le Mans aero kit at the 6 Hours of Spa, whilst the two full-season entries will run in high-downforce configuration at every race bar the 24 hours.</p> <p>View photos of the new TS050 Hybrid below.​</p> <p><img alt="" height="450" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/WEC/motiv-12-final.jpg" width="800" /></p> <p><img alt="" height="451" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/WEC/motiv-05-final.jpg" width="800" /></p> <p><img alt="" height="449" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/WEC/motiv-06-final.jpg" width="800" /></p> <p><img alt="" height="450" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/WEC/motiv-14-final.jpg" width="800" /></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> Introducing Aston Martin's 2017 GTE challengerThu, 30 Mar 2017 08:21:29 GMT<p><strong>Watch the reveal of the 2017-spec Aston Martin Vantage GTE through the eyes of reigning World Endurance champion Marco S&oslash;rensen.</strong></p> <p>This year Aston Martin is aiming to defend its GTE-Pro crown against rival manufacturers&nbsp;Ferrari, Porsche and Ford.</p> <p>S&oslash;rensen will partner Nicki Thiim in the #95 car for the nine-race calendar, with Richie Stanaway joining the pair at Silverstone, Spa and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.</p> <p>Full-time drivers Darren Turner and Jonny Adam are set to share the sister #97 machine alongside Daniel Serra for the opening three rounds of the season.</p> <p>Photos of the Vantage GTE in testing courtesy of Drew Gibson.</p> <p><img alt="" height="440" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/012_DG_AMR_2017_PreSeasonTestA.jpg" width="800" /></p> <p><img alt="" height="440" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/017_DG_AMR_2017_PreSeasonTest.jpg" width="800" /></p> <p><img alt="" height="440" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/045_DG_AMR_2017_PreSeasonTest.jpg" width="800" /></p> <p><img alt="" height="440" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/046_DG_AMR_2017_PreSeasonTest.jpg" width="800" /></p> <p><img alt="" height="440" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/029_DG_AMR_2017_PreSeasonTest.jpg" width="800" /></p> Martin completes Le Mans lineup with Daniel Serra and Richie StanawayWed, 29 Mar 2017 23:04:14 GMT<p><strong>Aston Martin Racing has finalised its driver lineups for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with Brazilian GT racer Daniel Serra (pictured) and team regular Richie Stanaway&nbsp;confirmed for the French enduro.</strong></p> <p>Stanaway is placed with defending GTE-Pro champions Nicki Thiim&nbsp;and Marco S&oslash;rensen, whilst team newcomer Serra joins&nbsp;Darren Turner and Jonny Adam behind the wheel of the sister V8 Vantage.</p> <p>The Le Mans lineups will also contest the opening two rounds of the FIA World Endurance Championship at Silverstone and Spa.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m hugely excited to have both Daniel and Richie on-board with the team this season,&quot; said AMR Team Principal Paul Howarth.</p> <p>&quot;Both bring with them the speed and consistency that we look for in any driver here at Aston Martin Racing.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;While Richie has raced with us for many seasons, Daniel is also well known within our operation. We are a team with big ambitions following our championship successes last year and while the competition will undoubtedly be tough, it is our objective to be on the top step of the podium at Le Mans in June&rdquo;.</p> <p>Stanaway&#39;s tenure with Aston Martin includes apperances in the FIA WEC, IMSA Sportscar Championship and European Le Mans Series.</p> <p>In 2016 he partnered Turner for seven out of&nbsp;nine races, with the pair going on to win the 6 Hours of Mexico.</p> <p>&quot;It&rsquo;s great to be back at WEC this weekend and to be back with the team for this season,&quot; commented Stanaway, who is also a former winner in GP2.</p> <p>&quot;Obviously it&rsquo;s going to be a little different driving with the Danes this year, but having worked with these guys over the past few years, we already understand each other really well.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;Both Marco and Nicki are ultra-quick and I&rsquo;m hoping we can be challenging for victories straight away at Silverstone, Spa and then for the big one at Le Mans&rdquo;.</p> <figure class="image" style="float:left"><img alt="" height="220" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/026_DG_AMR_2017_PreSeasonTest.jpg" width="400" /> <figcaption>Aston Martin retains its British racing green livery for 2017</figcaption> </figure> <p>Serra, meanwhile, is new to the Aston Martin organisation having represented Ferrari on the North American GT scene since 2014.</p> <p>The 33-year-old from S&atilde;o Paulo drove a part-season with IMSA GT Daytona championship-winning outfit Scuderia Corsa last season, which included a fourth-place finish at the Daytona 24 Hours.</p> <p>Serra joined Aston Martin recently at Aragon for&nbsp;the testing of Dunlop tyre compounds, in preparation for his Le Mans debut with the manufacturer.</p> <p>&quot;What an amazing opportunity it is to be joining Aston Martin Racing in 2017,&quot; said Serra, whose father Chico drove in Formula One with Arrows.</p> <p>&quot;Having worked with the team last year in testing, it&rsquo;s great to now step up and have the chance to help fight for strong results, in what is going to be a really competitive field in this year&rsquo;s WEC.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;I&rsquo;d like to thank the team for this opportunity and I cannot wait to start working with Darren and Jonny. Both are real professionals on and off the track and I hope we can bring the fight to our rivals this season&rdquo;.</p> <p>Aston Martin has&nbsp;also confirmed that its cars will return to the distinctive Stirling Green and Lime livery that featured in the FIA WEC last year.</p> <p>The paint scheme recognises the colours of Aston Martin&#39;s recently formed performance brand AMR, which debuted at the Geneva Motor Show last month.</p> Formula champion Yuji Kunimoto joins Toyota Le Mans driver lineupTue, 28 Mar 2017 09:42:28 GMT<p><strong>Toyota has finalised its LMP1 driver lineup for the 2017 World Endurance Championship, with Super Formula champion Yuji Kunimoto joining Nicolas Lapierre and St&eacute;phane Sarrazin in the team&#39;s third car for Le Mans.</strong></p> <p>Kunimoto beat the likes of Porsche LMP1 star Andre Lotterer and McLaren Formula One driver Stoffel Vandoorne to win Japan&#39;s premier single seater series in 2016.</p> <p>The 26-year-old has also won races in Super GT, but this year marks his first behind the wheel of&nbsp;an LMP1 car.</p> <p>&ldquo;This is really a dream for me,&quot; said Kunimoto.</p> <p>&quot;I never imagined that one day I could race for a team like Toyota at Le Mans so I am determined to make the most of this opportunity.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;I enjoyed my first tests with the TS050 HYBRID, which is a really impressive car. LMP1 and endurance racing in Europe are new to me so I am working hard to learn as much as I can from the team; I am sure I will learn a lot from St&eacute;phane and Nicolas, who are both very experienced and quick.&quot;</p> <p>Lapierre, who won the WEC LMP2 title with Signatech Alpine last year, was confirmed in the car alongside Kunimoto having been strongly linked to one of the third car&#39;s seats.</p> <p>The Frenchman drove for Toyota on a full-time basis from 2012 to 2013, but was dropped from the team midway through the 2014 season.</p> <p>Lapierre is attempting a hat-trick of Le Mans victories this season, having won the LMP2 class trophy the last two years.</p> <p>2016 marks his tenth crack at the celebrated French endurance race.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s great to be back with Toyota and I would like to thank the team for this opportunity,&quot; said Lapierre.</p> <p>&quot;I&rsquo;m really looking forward to racing an LMP1 car again because the cars have developed a lot since I drove the TS040 HYBRID in 2014.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;The Spa race is coming around very quickly so I am fully focused on preparing myself for the new season. I have stood on the podium before at Le Mans with Toyota so my target is clearly to do that again this year.&rdquo;</p> <p>Toyota will present its new T5050 HYBRID at the Monza Prologue on March 31st.</p> <p>The team will start the season with its two full-time entries at the 6 Hours of Silverstone, with Mike Conway/Kamui Kobayashi/Jos&eacute; Maria Lopez (7) and Anthony Davidson/Sebastien Buemi/Kazuki Nakajima (8) forming the driver lineups.</p> Priaulx: 2017 is 'best opportunity' to become two-category world championFri, 24 Mar 2017 13:29:32 GMT<p><strong>Andy Priaulx is not holding back on&nbsp;his ambition to win the World Endurance Championship GTE title in 2017.</strong></p> <p>The Ford factory driver, who finished fifth in the standings last year with team-mate Harry Tincknell, is hoping to continue the pair&#39;s end of season&nbsp;form&nbsp;to mount a challenge on the ultra-competitive field.</p> <p>Ford made its WEC debut last season&nbsp;and achieved its primary aim of winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but over the course of the&nbsp;season its two full-season cars were unsuccessful in their championship bid, losing out to Aston Martin and Ferrari in both the drivers&#39; and teams&#39; stakes.</p> <p>Priaulx and Tincknell found a rhythm towards the end of the year and won at Fuji and Shanghai,&nbsp;but troublesome runs for the #67 car&nbsp;at the N&uuml;rburgring and the double-points round at Le Mans curtailed their overall effort.</p> <p>Despite coming up 38.5 points short, Priaulx is confident that he and Tincknell have the foundations for a title assault having established a competitive&nbsp;rhythm in the closing stages of 2016.</p> <p>&quot;We&#39;ve got a good chance to be right in the mix this year,&quot; Priaulx tells, &quot;and we need a strong team in order to do that.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;Harry and I were riding on the crest of a wave towards the end of last season and we need to use that momentum to start this year well.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;Last season was great - I feel we could have won it - but we just came up short.&quot;<meta charset="utf-8" /></p> <figure class="image" style="float:right"><img alt="" height="220" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/33622334855_9acd46b6a9_k.jpg" width="400" /> <figcaption>The three-time WTCC champ is eyeing a GT crown (Photo: Ford)&nbsp;</figcaption> </figure> <p>Priaulx is hungry for a world title in sportscars.</p> <p>The upcoming season marks&nbsp;his tenth since winning a third World Touring Car Championship crown in 2007 with the BMW factory team. That remains his most recent series triumph, although he has come close since.</p> <p>Priaulx remained at BMW during the manufacturer&#39;s foray into sportscars in 2009, and was instrumental in its American Le Mans Series campaign that also included a debut appearance at Le Mans. The team finished second in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup and won its class at the Twelve Hours of Sebring.</p> <p>During that time Priaulx also recevied a tempting offer from the Peugeot LMP1 programme, but his close ties with BMW prevented a switch from materialising.</p> <p>Continuing with BMW,&nbsp;he came close to winning the European Le Mans Series title in 2015 -&nbsp;his final year with the marque -&nbsp;driving for customer outfit Marc VDS.</p> <p>Inevitably, the championship drought and the recent near-misses have given Priaulx the impetus to push harder than ever before in 2017, with the FIA&#39;s recent granting of world championship status to the GTE category marking a clear end-of-year objective.</p> <p>&quot;I really want to win the world title this year,&quot; he says.&nbsp;&quot;There&#39;s a lot riding on it for me personally.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;It&#39;s a personal ambition for me to be a world champion in more than one category, and I think this year offers the best opportunity to achieve that.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;Winning world titles in both touring cars and endurance racing&nbsp;would make me very happy - it&#39;s part of a clear aim to exceed last year&#39;s achievements.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;During my time at BMW, I was fortunate that they did turn their touring car programme into a sportscar programme, contesting the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup and ALMS. It enabled me to do things I hadn&#39;t done before. We led 23 out of the 24 hours at Le Mans - unfortunately we dropepd to third with a mechanical issue - but I have been very lucky to have had the career I&#39;ve had so far.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;Where we are now, fighting for Le Mans and potentially trying to win that race for Ford, is amazing. I never took anything for granted, and every now and again I pinch myself looking back on it.&quot;</p> <figure class="image" style="float:left"><img alt="" height="220" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/31735234603_d7b21b3301_k.jpg" width="400" /> <figcaption>5th at Daytona offered a promising start to 2017 (Photo: Ford)</figcaption> </figure> <p>Joining Priaulx and Tincknell for the opening three rounds of the WEC&nbsp;is Brazilian hotshot Pipo Derani, who comes into GT racing following a successful introduction to prototypes that saw him win both the Daytona and Sebring enduros in 2016.</p> <p>Derani will complement the #67&nbsp;Ford GT lineup at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, plus the two six-hour events at Silverstone and Spa.</p> <p>&quot;We need that [Derani in the team] for our title challenge,&quot; says Priaulx.</p> <p>&quot;We know he&#39;s super quick and fully capable of the job: it was music to my ears when he was confirmed in our car because we want to win the world title and he should be a great asset.&quot;</p> <p><meta charset="utf-8" /><meta charset="utf-8" />Ford gave its WEC drivers, minus Derani, a head-start for the WEC campaign by sending them to Florida for the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January.</p> <p>Priaulx, Tincknell and guest Tony Kanaan finished second best of the four-car Ford GT contingent, and fifth in class after a nose-to-tail tussle for the entire 24 hours.</p> <p>Logistical reasons meant the #67&nbsp;crew had to skip the Twelve&nbsp;Hours of Sebring&nbsp;last weekend, but the Daytona curtain raiser offered the manufacturer a valuable opportunity to run the car ahead of its WEC rivals.</p> <p>&quot;We did really well at Daytona, only finishing five seconds off the winning Ford and fifth in GTLM,&quot; reflects Priaulx.</p> <p>&quot;We were happy that our late-season WEC form could translate to a good result over in IMSA.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;Unfortunately we couldn&#39;t do Sebring: the team needed one car back at the factory and it was our car this time. The guys have been extremely busy&nbsp;stripping everything down and checking everything over so we can be&nbsp;ready for the new season.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;Of course, they need to focus on the WEC so it didn&#39;t work out for us personally on the #67 car, but there&#39;s nothing bad about that because we need to take these steps if we&#39;re going to be competitive from the start.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;I&nbsp;think we have everything in place to have a big year in WEC&nbsp;and to build on the momentum from 2016.&quot;</p> <p>Priaulx, Tincknell and Derani launch Ford&#39;s sophomore year in the World Endurance Championship with the official test days at Monza on April 1-2.</p> <p>The trio will travel to Silverstone along with Olivier Pla, Stefan M&uuml;cke and Billy Johnson in the sister Ford for the opening six-hour race on April 16.</p> <p><meta charset="utf-8" /></p> Williams aero engineer joins Ginetta LMP1 projectThu, 23 Mar 2017 14:25:44 GMT<p><strong>Ginetta has acquired the services of former Williams&nbsp;aerodynamic engineer Andy Lewis for its LMP1 manufacturer project.</strong></p> <p>Lewis joins Ginetta as Head of Aerodynamics&nbsp;for its in-build&nbsp;prototpe, which is set for a 2018 race debut.</p> <p>As a former employee of Williams Advanced Engineering, Lewis helped test LMP1 cars for three years following a stint with the Williams Martini Racing team in Formula One.</p> <p>Williams Advanced Engineering has been responsible for the development of flywheel products for several endurance racers, including the 2012 and 2013 Le Mans-winning Audi R18 etron quattro.</p> <p>At Ginetta, Lewis will liaise with former boss of Reynard cars Adrian Reynard, who is providing&nbsp;CFD development to the project through his US-based company.</p> <p>&ldquo;The opportunity to lead the aerodynamic development of Ginetta&rsquo;s LMP1 car is an exciting prospect,&quot; said Lewis, who has also previously worked for BAE Systems and Juno Racing.</p> <p>&quot;I&rsquo;m looking forward to working with Ewan [Baldry, Ginetta Technical Director] and the rest of the team he has brought together.&nbsp;I&rsquo;m sure we will be able to draw on all of our experience to deliver a strong solution for the 2018 season.&rdquo;</p> <p>Baldry added: &ldquo;We are delighted to welcome Andy to the Ginetta team.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;I worked with him for many years at Juno and his knowledge is second to none as he has worked across a multitude of motorsport platforms which will be essential for the success of the project.&rdquo;</p> <p>Ginetta confirmed that following the completion of initial CFD runs, a 50% scale model of the LMP1 design will be wind-tunnel tested on pneumatic tyres in late May.</p> <p>The car will compete in the&nbsp;2018 World Endurance Championship, including the 24 Hours of Le Mans, using a non-hybrid Mecachrome engine.</p> Lynn to make full-season WEC debut with G-Drive Racing in LMP2Fri, 17 Mar 2017 11:29:02 GMT<p><strong>G-Drive Racing has confirmed former Williams F1 development driver&nbsp;Alex Lynn as part of its&nbsp;2017 World Endurance Championship lineup.</strong></p> <p>The 23-year-old will make his full-season debut in 2017, having made sporadic appearances in the LMP2 category last season with Manor.</p> <p>Lynn is set to share the #26 ORECA 07-Gibson with Roman Rusinov and Pierre Thiriet at&nbsp;all nine rounds of the championship, including Le Mans.</p> <p>He tested the car at Aragon last week as part of a collecive session for Dunlop customers, which eventually led to the full-time seat.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">3 days testing over and done with <a href="">@GDrive_Racing</a>, now all attention to the <a href="">@sebringraceway</a> 12 hours next weekend <a href="">#freethecaddy</a> <a href=""></a></p> &mdash; Alex Lynn (@alexlynnracing) <a href="">March 11, 2017</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Lynn competed in the final three races of the WEC last year with Manor, alongside a race-winning season in GP2 with DAMS.</p> <p>The former GP3 and European F3 race winner is now looking beyond single seaters to further his career, with a Nurburgring 24 Hours drive already booked for the summer and three more IMSA races (including this weekend&#39;s 12 Hours of Sebring) with Wayne Taylor Racing to look forward to.</p> <p>G-Drive Racing has radically altered its driver lineup for 2017 following a switch from Jota Sport to TDS Racing over the winter.</p> <p>Silver-rated Thiriet, who won the European Le Mans Series title in 2012 with TDS, joins forces with Rusinov who is at the helm of G-Drive Racing&#39;s operations.</p> <p>With Jota Sport running the car, Rusinov and G-Drive Racing finished third in the WEC LMP2 standings last year.</p> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script> F1 racer Jean-Eric Vergne joins Manor in LMP2Fri, 17 Mar 2017 11:16:00 GMT<p>Former Toro Rosso racer Jean-&Eacute;ric Vergne will make his World Endurance Championship debut this season after signing for the Manor LMP2 team.</p> <p>Vergne competed in Formula 1 with Red Bull&rsquo;s junior outfit from 2012 to 2014 but was unable to retain his seat for a fourth year, and instead took up a test role with Ferrari.</p> <p>Vergne, whose association with Ferrari has since concluded, will dovetail his LMP2 commitments with his duties in Formula E, where he races for Techeetah.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&#39;m extremely happy to join CEFC Manor TRS Racing for the WEC season,&rdquo; said Vergne.</p> <p>&ldquo;Endurance racing and especially the 24 Hours of Le Mans is something that has been more and more on my mind lately.</p> <p>&ldquo;I couldn&#39;t ask for more than to start this experience with such a great team. I can&#39;t wait to be behind the wheel and bring my motivation to the team to achieve great results together.&rdquo;</p> <p>Manor President Graeme Lowdon welcomed the arrival of the Frenchman.</p> <p>&ldquo;We are very happy to welcome Jean-&Eacute;ric to the team,&rdquo; he said.</p> <p>&ldquo;He is a very talented driver that we have followed over the years as we have raced alongside him in Formula 1.</p> <p>&ldquo;We are really looking forward to starting the season and working together with Jean-&Eacute;ric and I hope that, together, we will have a really successful year.&rdquo;</p> Endurance Championship reveals 27-car Prologue entry listThu, 09 Mar 2017 19:54:04 GMT<p><strong>A total of 27 cars will travel to Monza for the official World Endurance Championship&nbsp;test weekend on April 1-2.</strong></p> <p>The&nbsp;Prologue was held at Paul Ricard until last season, with Monza set to welcome the ACO&#39;s top category for the first time since 2008.</p> <p>There are few surprises on the 2017 entry list, with all five expected LMP1s slated to take part.</p> <p><strong><a href="">WEC Prologue Entry List</a></strong></p> <p>Porsche and Toyota recently carried out a joint test at Aragon in Spain, and each brings two cars to Monza for the first public showing of the updated&nbsp;919 and TS050 Hybrid models.</p> <p>Elsewhere in the top class, ex-Formula One driver Robert Kubica is down to drive the ByKolles Racing CLM P1/01 with its new NISMO powerplant.</p> <p>LMP2 is the largest category with nine entries represented, although one of the CEFC Manor TS Racing&nbsp;ORECA 07s will not make the trip.</p> <p>The #25 car&#39;s&nbsp;absence is down to a ruling that teams only need to send one car to the pre-season test.</p> <p>In GTE-Pro there are eight runners, including an additional driver in the championship-defending #95 Aston Martin.</p> <p>Richie Stanaway will join full-season racers Nicki Thiim and Marco S&oslash;rensen, with the New Zealander being evaluated for&nbsp;a partial season with the team in 2017.</p> confirms Kevin Estre, Frederic Makowiecki in FIA WEC GTE Pro seatsThu, 09 Mar 2017 09:52:09 GMT<p><strong>Porsche has confirmed that Kevin Estre and Frederic Makowiecki will join its GTE Pro factory line-up for this year&#39;s FIA World Endurance Championship campaign.</strong></p> <p>Porsche will return to the GTE Pro class with a factory effort in 2017 after one year out, entering two mid-engined, naturally-aspirated 911 RSR models for the forthcoming campaign.</p> <p>After already confirming 2015 GT champions Michael Christensen and Richard Lietz in race seats, Porsche announced on Thursday that factory&nbsp;drivers Estre and Makowiecki would be joining them for the 2017 season.</p> <p>Estre will link up with Christensen for his first full season in the WEC, racing the #92 Porsche 911 RSR, while Makowiecki slots in alongside Lietz in the #91 entry.</p> <p>&quot;In the fight for the maiden GT World Championship title in the FIA WEC we&rsquo;ve put together two strong driver pairings. And all four pilots come from the world&rsquo;s best GT hotbed of talent, Porsche&rsquo;s one-make race series,&rdquo; head of Porsche motorsport Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser said.</p> <p>The drivers will appear in the new car on April 1 at the pre-season WEC Prologue at Monza.</p> driver Alvaro Parente joins Clearwater Racing Le Mans effortThu, 09 Mar 2017 00:58:30 GMT<p><strong>McLaren GT factory driver Alvaro Parente will join Clearwater Racing at this year&#39;s 24 Hours of Le Mans, as the Singaporean squad confirmed its second of two entries.</strong></p> <p>Parente, 32, will share an ex-AF Corse Ferrari 488 with Richard Wee and Hiroki Katoh in&nbsp;the GTE-Am category.</p> <p>The Portuguese driver is the defending Pirelli World Series Champion and is also a former winner of the Bathurst 12 Hours.</p> <p>This year&#39;s 24 Hours of Le Mans will mark his first appearance at the French enduro since 2014, when he drove a RAM Racing-entered Ferrari 458 in GTE-Pro.</p> <p>&quot;I am very pleased with the lineup we have for both of our Ferrari 488 GTEs for Le Mans this year,&quot; team Managing Director Arj Kulasegaram&nbsp;told Motorsport Week.</p> <p>&quot;We have a habit of using McLaren Factory Drivers in our various programs as we did last year, to great effect, with Rob Bell.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;Having a driver as talented and quick as Alvaro onboard, puts my mind at ease and besides which, he&#39;s an old friend of the team. I expect that we will see great things from him at La Sarthe this summer.&quot;</p> <p>Parente, Wee and Katoh join the previously announced full-season WEC lineup of Matt Griffin, Wen Sung Mok and Keita Sawa in the sister Ferrari 488.</p> <p>Katoh last raced at Le Mans in 2008, driving an LMP1-class Courage.</p> <p>Wee, meanwhile, is yet to make his Le Mans debut but has accrued race wins in GT Asia with the Clearwater squad.</p> <p>&quot;Having Hiroki Katoh in the lineup is a fabulous bonus as he&#39;s naturally quick and has competed at Le Mans five times previously,&quot; added Kulasegaram.</p> <p>&quot;Richard Wee is a Le Mans rookie but he&#39;s at the top of his game and a superb gentleman driver with numerous race wins in the GT Asian scene. It&#39;s going to be quite an adventure.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;Both lineups are strong and we look forward to the battle ahead in France.&quot;</p> <p>Kulasegaram confirmed that the team is planning for&nbsp;&quot;a spate of pre-Le Mans testing in May,&quot; in preparation for its second consecutive appearance at the Circuit de la Sarthe.</p> <p>Both Ferrari 488s&nbsp;entered by Clearwater are former AF Corse models, with the full-season WEC car campaigned by Gianmaria Bruni and James Calado&nbsp;in 2016.</p> <p>The Le Mans-only car of Parente, Wee and Katoh was raced last year by Davide Rigon and Sam Bird, who finished second in the GTE drivers&#39; championship.</p> Jarvis confirms WEC return with Jackie Chan LMP2 squadSun, 05 Mar 2017 15:51:08 GMT<p><strong>Former Audi LMP1 driver Oliver Jarvis will return to&nbsp;the World Endurance Championship this year&nbsp;after committing to a full-season deal with LMP2 squad Jackie Chan DC Racing.</strong></p> <p>The 33-year-old Briton&nbsp;finished second in the 2016 WEC drivers&#39; standings,&nbsp;claiming victory in Audi&#39;s final race as a prototype manufacturer.</p> <p>Following the German marque&#39;s LMP1 withdrawal, Jarvis signed a full-season contract with the Bentley factory team for the upcoming Blancpain GT Series season.</p> <p>In addition to his GT3 role, the three-time Le Mans podium finisher will join the LMP2 outfit run by Hollywood star Jackie Chan and Chinese/American racer David Cheng.</p> <p>Jarvis is set to share the #38 car with&nbsp;Road to Le Mans LMP3 winner Thomas Laurent and Asian&nbsp;LMP3 champion Ho-Ping Tung, while the&nbsp;sister&nbsp;#37 entry will be co-driven by team boss Cheng, WEC LMP2 race winner&nbsp;Alex Brundle&nbsp;and former GP2 driver Tristan Gommendy.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m so pleased to be able to join such a strong team as Jackie Chan DC Racing,&quot; said Jarvis.</p> <p>&quot;It will be nice to return to my WEC family and challenge for wins with Ho-Pin and Thomas.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;I must take this opportunity to thank Bentley Motorsport for allowing me to compete in the WEC alongside my GT commitments.&rdquo;</p> <p>Jackie Chan DC Racing&nbsp;ran with Signatech Alpine in 2016, but announced a new partnership with Jota in February.</p> <p>The team finished ninth in its debut WEC season, with a highest result of fifth at the 6 Hours of Mexico.</p> <p>&nbsp;&ldquo;Coming off a years&rsquo; worth of experience in the WEC last season, we are really happy to be back this year with two full season cars,&quot; said Cheng.</p> <p>&quot;Together, boosted with experience of our new partnership I&rsquo;m confident our Jackie Chan DC Racing/Jota Sport team will be challenging up front at Le Mans and all year for the title.&rdquo;</p> <p>Jackie Chan DC Racing will be present with both of its cars at the official WEC pre-season test, held at Monza on April 1-2.</p> to supply Ginetta LMP1 enginesTue, 28 Feb 2017 15:06:00 GMT<p><strong>British sportscar manufacturer Ginetta has selected Mecachrome to supply the engines for&nbsp;its 2018 LMP1 car.</strong></p> <p>The French company, known for its work on Renault Formula One engines,&nbsp;was mooted early on as a potential supplier when the Ginetta LMP1 concept was first revealed in January.</p> <p>Ginetta managing director Ewan Baldry visited Mecachrome&#39;s Aubigny headquarters in early February to finalise plans for the partnership.</p> <p>&ldquo;We are delighted to be working with Bruno [Engelric, Mecachrome Motorsport Manager] and Mecachrome on the Ginetta LMP1 engine,&quot; said Baldry, who is in charge of the Ginetta LMP1 design team.</p> <p>&quot;Both parties see the currently landscape in LMP1 as the perfect opportunity to become involved in the project and we look forward to a very exciting 2017.&rdquo;</p> <p>Durability testing has already been carried out&nbsp;on the engine, with both parties satisfied by the results.</p> <p>Aerodynamic testing is also underway, while CFD development will be carried out in the near future.</p> <p>&ldquo;Mecachrome are very much looking forward to working with Ginetta as they make the journey towards LMP1,&quot; said Engelric.</p> <p>&quot;Having spent time with the team in the UK and France, it&rsquo;s clear we both have some fantastic personnel working on the project and we look forward to the future.&rdquo;</p> <p>A total of 10 Ginetta LMP1 cars eligible for the World Endurance Championship will be built for three customer teams, with Ginetta stepping back from running a factory effort.</p> <p>The project enlists the expertise of Adrian Reynard (former head of the Reynard company),&nbsp;BR01 LMP2 designer Paolo Catone, and Ginetta&#39;s full in-house operation based in Yorkshire.</p> <p>Invitations have been extended to potential teams and drivers for a Ginetta LMP1 preview event next month.</p> carries out first test with 2017-spec 919 HybridFri, 24 Feb 2017 18:44:00 GMT<p><strong>Porsche has completed the first test of its new 919 Hybrid LMP1 challenger.</strong></p> <p>All six factory drivers collectively registered just under 4500 miles over five days at Motorland Aragon in Spain (2016 car pictured).</p> <p>Chief Engineer Stephen Mitas said that the test had to be extended by two days due to &quot;fog at night&quot;, although no major issues with the car were reported.</p> <p>Porsche ran elements of its 2017-spec 919 Hybrid at Aragon last December, followed by a Michelin tyre development test at Valencia&nbsp;in early February which amassed&nbsp;1700 miles.</p> <p>The recent five-day run at Aragon marked the first laps for the full 2017 package.</p> <p>&quot;Conditions in general were good - dry and sunny during the days, high humidity and fog during the evenings,&quot; said Team Principal Andreas Seidl.</p> <p>&quot;The main focus was the approval of the 2017 car spec for the Silverstone and Spa WEC rounds - reliability, set-up and tyre testing.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;[It was] a very positive test, with full 2017 spec on track for the first time preparing for the 6 Hours of Silverstone. [There is] still some homework left for Le Mans.&quot;</p> <p>The new car will be revealed on March 31st at the official WEC Prologue event held at Monza.</p> <p>Neel Jani, Andre Lotterer and Nick Tandy will drive the #1 919 Hybrid, alongside Earl Bamber, Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard in the #2 machine,&nbsp;as Porsche aims to defend both its drivers&#39; and manufacturers&#39; titles in 2017.</p> Watch Nicki Thiim test the Aston Martin GTE at PortimãoWed, 22 Feb 2017 16:45:51 GMT<p><strong>Join Aston Martin works driver&nbsp;Nicki Thiim for a ride around the Portim&atilde;​o circuit in Portugal, as he prepares to defend his World Endurance Championship GTE-Pro title.</strong></p> <p>Thiim is seen testing the&nbsp;V8 Vantage GTE that will be entered into this year&#39;s 24 Hours of Le Mans by customer outfit TF Sport.</p> <p>The Danish driver is preparing for his debut campaign with TF Sport in the European Le Mans Series,&nbsp;alongside his WEC title defence with the Aston Martin factory squad.</p> Kubica: The perfect comeback chanceSun, 19 Feb 2017 22:08:07 GMT<p>Good news stories are often hard to find nowadays, even in motorsport. For all of the doom and gloom surrounding Audi&rsquo;s decision to quit WEC, Formula E&rsquo;s calendar crisis or Formula 1&rsquo;s never-ending political struggles, you can occasionally find some silver linings; something to really be excited about.</p> <p>Such news came the week before last when the FIA and ACO confirmed the entry lists for the 24 Hours of Le Mans and World Endurance Championship campaign. On a grid packed with sportscar superstars and racing legends, one stood out in particular for me.</p> <p>Robert Kubica.</p> <p>Kubica was listed as the primary driver for ByKolles&rsquo; LMP1 entry for both Le Mans and the WEC in 2017, confirming the news we had long hoped for: he will be back racing on circuits full-time in 2017.</p> <p>The story surrounding Robert Kubica makes him one of motorsport&rsquo;s biggest enigmas. After breaking onto the scene as Jacques Villeneuve&rsquo;s replacement at Sauber in 2006, he become one of F1&rsquo;s breakthrough drivers in the years that followed, taking his and Sauber&rsquo;s first (and only) grand prix victory in Canada two years later.</p> <figure class="image" style="float:right"><img alt="" height="220" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/Features/Kubica's%20rally%20accident%20in%202011%20was%20serious%20and%20almost%20career%20ending.jpg" width="400" /> <figcaption>The remains of Kubica&#39;s car following his rally crash</figcaption> </figure> <p>Kubica linked up with Renault for 2010 and was identified as the driver to lead the team forward, although many had him already pencilled in as a future Ferrari man. Most assume that he would have ultimately replaced Felipe Massa at Maranello to partner Fernando Alonso.</p> <p>All of that was kicked into touch ahead of the 2011 season. When taking part in the Ronde di Andora rally, Kubica crashed hard into the barrier and sustained severe injuries to his right arm that ended his F1 career.</p> <p>The extent of his injuries was such that it was remarkable Kubica could return to motorsport at all. And in late in 2012 he did, entering a handful of rallies. The accident did not deter the Pole from being his usual full-throttle self when behind the wheel of a rally car, even if he did end up crashing out of events on a number of occasions as a result. Kubica then won the WRC2 title in 2013 as part of his WRC efforts, and appeared regularly for three years up to the 2016 Rallye Monte-Carlo, after which he decided to bid farewell to the WRC.</p> <p>Kubica announced last September that he would be entering the Renault Sport Trophy at Spa, where he scored a podium finish on debut. He had charged from sixth to third in the final 10 minutes of the race, and finished just six seconds off the race winner. The talent that had served him so well in the past was still ever-present.</p> <p>The push towards a full-time return to circuit racing continued when Kubica was named on the entry list for the FIA WEC end-of-year rookie test in Bahrain last November. Given the restrictions of an LMP1 car&rsquo;s cockpit, the running with ByKolles undoubtedly marked Kubica&rsquo;s biggest challenge to date, but once again, he took it in his stride. Kubica easily finished as ByKolles&rsquo; fastest driver, completing 38 laps in total.</p> <p>Despite such a successful test, Kubica remained coy when asked at the time about whether a move into WEC was possible for 2017.</p> <figure class="image" style="float:right"><img alt="" height="220" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/Features/Kubica's%20crashing%20was%20not%20solely%20related%20to%20rally%20cars%2C%20he%20walked%20away%20from%20this%20crash%20in%20Canada%20in%202007.jpg" width="400" /> <figcaption>Kubica crashed heavily during the 2007 Canadian GP</figcaption> </figure> <p>&ldquo;The races are high-level races. It&rsquo;s not that you go chill out and you do 12 hours, 24 hours cruising; you have to push,&rdquo; Kubica said.</p> <p>&ldquo;Because it&rsquo;s something new, I&rsquo;m not 100 per cent sure I will like it. But on the other hand every new challenge gives you some extra motivation to try them to see if you can do it well.</p> <p>&ldquo;But for sure if I would decide to do it, it&rsquo;s because I want to do it, not because I don&rsquo;t have anything else to do. I came here just to see, to get rid of some doubts I have.</p> <p>&ldquo;I know there are areas where I will need to dedicate a bit of time if I will become a proper endurance race driver, but I think if most of the drivers can get used to it and they manage to do it, I don&rsquo;t see the reason why I shouldn&rsquo;t do it.&rdquo;</p> <p>Yet again, Kubica&rsquo;s comments summed himself up perfectly. He didn&rsquo;t want to have a half-hearted shot at WEC, he wanted to become a serious endurance driver. To prepare, he entered the Dubai 24 Hours in a Porsche 911 GT3, before finally being confirmed as part of ByKolles&rsquo; line-up at the endurance launch on February 2. At last, Robert Kubica would be back racing full-time on circuits.</p> <p>&ldquo;After my time in rallying I&rsquo;ve been looking for something as close to Formula 1 as possible. This is exactly what I&rsquo;ve found in LMP1,&rdquo; Kubica said.</p> <p>&ldquo;At the end of last year&rsquo;s WEC season, I was able to do my first laps behind the wheel of the CLM P1/01. I felt comfortable in the car very quickly and was able to increase my pace accordingly. With even more experience I&rsquo;m sure I will be able to extract more performance.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m already very much looking forward to the Prologue at Monza and the season start at Silverstone. The professional team of Byolles Racing will continue to make important improvements to the car during the season. I&rsquo;m happy to be a part of it.</p> <p>&ldquo;The WEC is racing on circuits that I know well from my time in Formula 1. The exception is Le Mans. I&rsquo;ve heard so many good things about the event at the Sarthe. I&rsquo;m very excited about my first start at this 24 hour race.&rdquo;</p> <figure class="image" style="float:right"><img alt="" height="220" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/Features/In%20his%20first%20full%20year%20in%20WRC%20in%202013%2C%20the%20Pole%20convincingly%20won%20the%20WRC2%20title.jpg" width="400" /> <figcaption>He enjoyed WRC2 success winning the title in 2013</figcaption> </figure> <p>WEC is the best environment for Kubica to return in. The series has always been incredible forthcoming and friendly, meaning he should fit in well. The pressure is eased furthermore by the fact that ByKolles is the only privateer team racing in LMP1 next year. There isn&rsquo;t a privateer trophy to fight for, nor is there Rebellion Racing to face up against. Instead, ByKolles will know that P5 overall is its target in every race, behind the factory Porsche and Toyota entries. Throw in two retirements, though, and an overall podium is up for grabs - how sweet would that be?</p> <p>So Kubica needn&rsquo;t worry about entering hard-fought competition, or any of his limitations costing the team ground in the championship. Instead, he can focus on getting on with the job of racing and adjusting to circuit competition once again. By the end of the season, he may even be bored of that - but this will be a great way for him to take a step towards racing success once again.</p> <p>Naturally, talk of Kubica possibly making an F1 return at some point in the future followed the Le Mans/WEC announcement. Kubica even said himself that he would love to be able to test a grand prix racer once again. We must, however, remain realistic. Once Kubica has dealt with the stresses of a full-season campaign in an LMP1 car and the gruelling circuits on the WEC calendar, he may then be better placed to make a decision on whether or not he could handle an F1 car again.</p> <p>Another option for Kubica should he want to make a single-seater comeback is Formula E. While the limitations of a cockpit remain, the cars are much slower than F1, meaning there will be less force placed on the driver. None of the circuits are overly-challenging either.</p> <p>Robert Kubica will always be one of F1&rsquo;s missed talents. But do not go thinking that he will be a missed talent for global motorsport. He&rsquo;s now back racing full-time, and is ready to show the world just what he can do in an LMP1 car. And if his past form - both pre- and post-accident - is anything to go by, there is no reason at all why he cannot flourish.</p> <p><em>This feature first appeared in <a href="">Motorsport Monday Issue 202</a> as part of Luke Smith&#39;s regular column. To subscribe to the free weekly magazine, <a href="">click here</a>. To read the latest issue, <a href="">click here</a>.</em></p> Pier Guidi to replace Gianmaria Bruni in Ferrari WEC lineupSun, 19 Feb 2017 13:24:09 GMT<p><strong>Ferrari works outfit AF Corse&nbsp;has confirmed that Alessandro Pier Guidi will replace Gianmaria Bruni in its World Endurance Championship GTE-Pro driver lineup.</strong></p> <p>35-year-old Bruni, a three-time class winner at the 24 Hours of Le Mans and a two-time WEC champion, is expected to join rivals Porsche for the 2017 season.</p> <p>Pier Guidi, who is two years Bruni&#39;s junior, was affirmed for the coveted full-season drive at Ferrari&#39;s annual GT awards night at Fiorano on&nbsp;Saturday.</p> <p>The Italian will join James Calado in the #51 Ferrari 488 GTE, whilst Davide Rigon and Sam Bird will renew their partnership in the #71 sister car.</p> <p>&rdquo;Racing with Ferrari is every driver&rsquo;s dream, especially if you are Italian,&quot; <a href="">said Pier Guidi</a>.</p> <p>&quot;In my career I have already been lucky enough to win several races with the 360 Modena, the F430, and the 458 Italia and I feel very proud to try to win the next ones with the 488 GTE as an official standard-bearer. I am very happy.&rdquo;</p> <p>Pier Guidi is a former class winner of the Rolex 24 at Daytona and the Spa 24 Hours. He made his Le Mans debut in 2016 alongside Bruni and Calado, although the car retired with overheating issues.</p> <p>Bruni, meanwhile, has opted to leave Ferrari &quot;by mutual consent&quot; following 11 years with the AF Corse GT programme.</p> <p>It is not yet known exactly when the ex-Formula One driver will be contractually available to drive for Porsche, although a statement from Ferrari said that he would leave his post with the Italian&nbsp;team by the end of June.</p> <p>Ferrari heads into the 2017 WEC season as the defending GT manufacturers&#39; champion.</p> adds Jonathan Hirschi to WEC LMP2 rosterFri, 17 Feb 2017 22:08:15 GMT<p><strong>Manor has recruited Swiss endurance racing stalwart Jonathan Hirschi for its 2017 World Endurance Championship campaign.</strong></p> <p>Hirschi, 31, will drive an LMP2-class ORECA 07-Gibson at all nine WEC races including the 24 Hours of Le Mans.</p> <p>The former European Le Mans Series race winner joins Simon Trummer, Tor Graves and Roberto Gonzalez in the British team&#39;s two-car lineup for the 2017 season, with pairings yet to be announced.</p> <p>Hirschi has made four previous starts at Le Mans, and has competed in a variety of sportscar championships including the Blancpain GT Series, Asian Le Mans Series, and the defunct FIA GT1 World Championship.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m really happy to join CEFC Manor TRS Racing for WEC this season,&quot; said Hirschi.</p> <p>&quot;After three seasons in the ELMS I am really happy to be taking part in WEC and to return to the 24 Hours of Le Mans. A big thank you to [team bosses] Graeme Lowdon and John Booth to trust in me this season and I will do my best to achieve my goals.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;I am impatient to drive the new LMP2 with new rules and to drive an ORECA chassis again. I can&rsquo;t wait for the Prologue at Monza.&quot;</p> <p>Hirschi&#39;s last LMP2 drive was with Ligier outfit Algarve Pro Racing in the 2016/17 Asian Le Mans Series.</p> <p>His most recent time behind the wheel of an ORECA came in 2013, when he won the 4 Hours of Silverstone with French squad TDS Racing.</p> <p>&ldquo;We are very happy that Jonathan is joining the team for WEC and the 24 Hours of Le Mans,&quot; said Lowdon, President and Sporting Director of Manor.</p> <p>&quot;He has a lot of experience in endurance racing including multiple visits to Le Mans so it is great to add him to our driver line up.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;We have had a busy few weeks preparing for the new season but we are looking forward to the year ahead, it seems like a long time since our last race so we really can&rsquo;t wait to get going again.&rdquo;</p> <p>Manor has two more driver announcements to make before it completes its 2017 roster. The team is running under the CEFC Manor TRS Racing banner this season, following a deal with one of China&#39;s largest energy companies.</p> <p>The 2017 World Endurance Championship begins with the official&nbsp;pre-season test at Monza on April 1-2.</p> Trummer joins Manor for 2017 FIA WEC campaignThu, 09 Feb 2017 12:08:31 GMT<p><strong>Simon Trummer will move into the LMP2 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship for the 2017 season with Manor.</strong></p> <p>Trummer, 27, switched to sportscar racing full-time last year after a stint in GP2, joining the privateer ByKolles team in the LMP1 class for the full WEC season. The Swiss racer claimed five podium finishes and one class victory in LMP1-L through the year en route to second in the final drivers&#39; trophy standings.</p> <p>Trummer will now move down to LMP2 for 2017 with the newly-rebranded CEFC Manor TRS Racing team, with the remainder of its line-up for the forthcoming season set to be confirmed at a later date.</p> <p>&quot;I am very grateful to John Booth and Graeme Lowdon for their belief in me. This year a new era begins in LMP2 with new powerful cars that will be significantly quicker and therefore more challenging,&quot; Trummer said.</p> <p>&quot;To go for podiums in this competitive class is our target. I hope we can put CEFC Manor TRS Racing to the top. This team was one of the best in Formula 3 and with a comparably low budget they have also earned a lot of respect in Formula 1. They are real racers.&quot;</p> <p>Team president Graeme Lowdon added: &quot;We are very happy to welcome Simon to the team. We have followed Simon&rsquo;s career through GP3, GP2 and then more recently in LMP1. &nbsp;He has a wealth of experience in motorsport including two 24 hours of Le Mans so he is a great fit to our growing driver line up.</p> <p>&quot;Simon has a very good understanding of WEC so it is great to be working with him. We are looking forward to working together this year and hopefully enjoying some success along the way.&rdquo;</p> signs LMP2 star Pipo Derani for 24H Le MansThu, 02 Feb 2017 18:23:40 GMT<p><strong>Ford Chip Ganassi Racing has added Rolex 24 at Daytona and Sebring 12 Hours winner Pipo Derani to its 24 Hours of Le Mans&nbsp;driver lineup for 2017.</strong></p> <p>The 23-year-old Brazilian&nbsp;will join full-season drivers Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell in the #67 Ford GT for the French endurance classic on June 16-17.</p> <p>13 cars will contest the GTE-Pro category at this year&#39;s Le Mans, as confirmed by <a href="">the official entry list, which was revealed on Thursday</a>.</p> <p>Derani had a breakout year in 2016, winning the Daytona and Sebring enduros&nbsp;with LMP2 outfit Extreme Speed Motorsports before testing a Toyota LMP1 car at the end of the WEC season.</p> <p>The former Macau Grand Prix podium finisher also had a&nbsp;one-off drive in a McLaren 650S GT3 at last year&#39;s Spa 24 Hours.</p> <p>&quot;I am delighted and proud to have been chosen to represent such a successful and respected manufacturer like Ford,&rdquo; said Derani.</p> <p>&ldquo;To race for an organisation like the Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Team has been one of my aims since starting in racing and to be recognised and selected by them is a big deal for me.</p> <p>I especially want to thank George-Howard Chappell for his trust and belief in order to give me this opportunity.&rdquo;</p> <p>Derani is still signed to Extreme Speed Motorsports for the 2017 North American Endurance Cup&nbsp;which takes in the Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen and Petit Le Mans endurance races.</p> <p>Ford also&nbsp;confirmed that Stefan M&uuml;cke and&nbsp;Olivier Pla would be returning to the team for its WEC assault, joined by American driver Billy Johnson at Le Mans.</p> <p>The two Ford GTs that run in the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship will also travel to France.</p> <p>Defending race winners Joey Hand, Dirk M&uuml;ller and <span>S&eacute;bastien </span> Bourdais are slated to drive the #68 car, while Scott Dixon, Richard Westbrook and Ryan Briscoe are once again listed next to the #69 entry.</p> Martin announces 2017 WEC driver pairingsThu, 02 Feb 2017 17:22:40 GMT<p><strong>Aston Martin Racing will seek to defend its World Endurance Championship GT titles with a largely unchanged driver lineup in 2017.</strong></p> <p>Reigning drivers&#39; champions Nicki Thiim and Marco S&oslash;rensen will return in the #95 Aston Martin Vantage, while Darren Turner and Jonny Adam are slated to share the sister #97 car.</p> <p>Eight entries have been confirmed for the GTE-Pro category in 2017, with Aston Martin facing stiff competition from Ferrari, Porsche and Ford as it aims to defend its teams&#39; crown from last season.</p> <p>The Prodrive-run squad will also run a car in the GTE-Am class for Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda.</p> <p>&quot;The winter break has been long and I can&rsquo;t wait to get started again,&quot; said Thiim, who alongside S&oslash;rensen beat Ferrari pair Davide Rigon and Sam Bird to the last year&#39;s GTE-Pro title.</p> <p>&quot;For me, the best racing at the moment is in the GT championships where the cars are so close and well balanced.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;With more competition it couldn&rsquo;t be better than to be joined by Marco again to defend our title.&quot;</p> <p>Joining AMR&nbsp;stalwart Darren Turner in the #97 car is Jonny Adam, who joins the team&#39;s WEC roster on a full-time basis&nbsp;having won the previous two editions of the British GT Championship.</p> <p>The 32-year-old made three race apperances for the team in the last season&#39;s WEC season, including one&nbsp;with Turner at the season-ending 6 Hours of Bahrain.</p> <p>Turner, meanwhile, claimed the 2016 European Le Mans Series GT title with Aston Martin-affiliated outfit Beechdean Racing.</p> <p>&ldquo;Partnering with Darren is something I&rsquo;m very much looking forward to,&quot; said Adam.</p> <p>&quot;We&rsquo;ve raced together on and off for the past couple of years, so it&rsquo;s incredibly exciting to&nbsp;announce&nbsp;that I&rsquo;ll be joining someone with that experience and speed on a full time basis.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;He&rsquo;s a great ambassador on and off the track for Aston Martin and we work well together. We both drive in a similar style and get the best out of each other and the car and I think that will shape up to be a great partnership this year.&quot;</p> <p>The 2017 World Endurance Championship gets underway at Silverstone on April 16.</p> Kubica to make WEC LMP1 debut with ByKolles RacingThu, 02 Feb 2017 16:42:48 GMT<p><strong>Former Formula 1 driver Robert Kubica will make his World Endurance Championship debut in 2017 with LMP1 squad ByKolles Racing.</strong></p> <p>The 32-year-old Pole was announced next to the ByKolles CLM P1/01 during an official web conference at the Circuit de la Sarthe.</p> <p>Kubica, who won the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix, first tested the LMP1 car during the WEC rookie test at Bahrain in November.</p> <p>He will share the drive with Britain&#39;s Oliver Webb, who raced with ByKolles last season, and an as-yet unnamed third driver.</p> <p>The pair are also confirmed for the 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 17-18.</p> <p>&quot;After my time in rally I&rsquo;ve been looking for something as close to Formula One as possible,&quot; said Kubica. &quot;This is exactly what I&#39;ve found in LMP1.</p> <p>&quot;At the end of last year&rsquo;s WEC season&nbsp;I was able to do my first laps behind the wheel of the CLM P1/01. I felt comfortable in the car very quickly and was able to increase my pace accordingly. With even more experience I&rsquo;m sure I will be able to extract more performance.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;I&rsquo;m already very much looking forward to the Prologue in Monza and the season start in Silverstone.&nbsp;I&rsquo;m happy to be a part of it.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;The WEC is racing on circuits that I know well from my time in Formula One. The exception is Le Mans. I&rsquo;ve heard so many good things about the event at the Sarthe. I&rsquo;m very excited about my first start at the 24-hour race.&rdquo;</p> <p>ByKolles Racing will be the only privateer outfit in the LMP1 category this season, following the withdrawal of Rebellion Racing at the end of 2016.</p> <p>The team <a href="">confirmed last month that it will switch to Nissan engines for 2017</a>, in a bid to reduce the gap to the manufacturer entries from Porsche and Toyota.</p> entries confirmed for 2017 World Endurance ChampionshipThu, 02 Feb 2017 16:04:28 GMT<p><b>The FIA World Endurance Championship has revealed its provisional entry list for 2017, with a total of 28&nbsp;cars set to take part.</b></p> <p>15&nbsp;prototypes and 13&nbsp;GT cars will participate in the sixth season of the ACO&#39;s premier sportscar series, which formed in 2012.</p> <p>Five LMP1s highlight the lineup for the nine-race calendar, with Toyota and Porsche set to run two hybrid cars each and ByKolles Racing down as the only privateer entry.</p> <p>The loss of Audi and Rebellion Racing from the top class means the overall entry is down four from last season.</p> <p>LMP2 is the most populous category with 10 ORECA 07-Gibsons, including a two-car return for defending series and Le Mans champion Signatech Alpine.</p> <p>Rebellion Racing, Jackie Chan Racing, TDS Racing and Manor will also field two cars each, with one of the TDS entries taking on the G-Drive Racing banner.</p> <p>In GTE-Pro, eight cars from four manufacturers - Aston Martin, Ferrari, Porsche and Ford - will line up for the category&#39;s inaugural season as a licenced FIA World Championship.</p> <p>Defending drivers&#39; champions Nicki Thiim and Marco S&oslash;rensen have been confirmed to return in the #95 Aston Martin Vantage.</p> <p>Five GTE-Am entries complete the list, with Spirit of Race (AF Corse), Clearwater Racing, Dempsey-Proton Racing, Gulf Racing and Aston Martin Racing all set for the full season.</p> <p>The 2017 World Endurance Championship will feature races at Silverstone, Spa-Francorchamps, Le Mans, the N&uuml;rburgring, Mexico City, Austin, Fuji, Shanghai and Bahrain. Round one, the 6 Hours of Silverstone, takes place on April 16.</p> <p><img alt="" height="1200" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/WEC/C3q9-jqWYAAw_MS.jpg" width="1179" /></p> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script> confirms three cars for Spa WEC, 24 Hours of Le MansThu, 02 Feb 2017 08:18:11 GMT<p><strong>Toyota has confirmed that it will enter three cars to the 24 Hours of Le Mans and 6 Hours of Spa races in 2017, with Jos&eacute;&nbsp;Mar&iacute;a <span>L&oacute;pez </span> joining its full-season WEC line-up.</strong></p> <p>Toyota has long considered expanding beyond its regular two-car entry for Spa and Le Mans, but has opted against running a third car in previous years despite rivals Audi and Porsche doing so.</p> <p>For 2017, the Japanese manufacturer will field a third LMP1 car for Spa and Le Mans, as confirmed on Thursday ahead of the publication of the season entry lists.</p> <p>As expected, <span class="st">St&eacute;phane </span> Sarrazin has been dropped from Toyota&#39;s full-season line-up, with three-time WTCC champion <span>L&oacute;pez </span> claiming a seat alongside Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi.</p> <p>Sarrazin will race in Toyota&rsquo;s third car, with the remaining two seats still being considered. The second full-season entry will once again feature Anthony Davidson, <span>S&eacute;bastien </span> Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s great to be part of Toyota Gazoo Racing. This is a dream come true for me and I can&#39;t wait to get to the first race,&rdquo; <span>L&oacute;pez </span> said.</p> <p>&ldquo;Mike and Kamui are both great team-mates; I will learn plenty from them I am sure. Driving an LMP1 car is very different compared to WTCC cars but I am enjoying this challenge.</p> <p>&ldquo;The power and grip of the TS050 HYBRID is incredible and Toyota&#39;s hybrid technology is impressive. I am looking forward to my first experience of WEC and particularly Le Mans which is a very special race.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;I believe this is an exciting time for Toyota Gazoo Racing in endurance racing,&rdquo; team president Toshio Sato added.</p> <p>&ldquo;Entering three cars for Spa and Le Mans represents a new challenge for our team. We are working hard to be prepared and we are inspired to win.</p> <p>&ldquo;I would like to welcome Jos&eacute; Mar&iacute;a to our team; I am confident he will fit in well as he is quick, intelligent and a strong team player.</p> <p>&ldquo;Our existing drivers have already proven their abilities in endurance racing; all are race winners and we are very happy to work together again.&rdquo;</p> <p>The full entry lists for both the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship and the 24 Hours of Le Mans will be published later today (Thursday).</p> Racing to partner with TDS for 2017 WEC assaultMon, 30 Jan 2017 16:27:44 GMT<p><strong>Russian sportscar outfit G-Drive Racing has agreed a deal with French squad TDS Racing to run a car in&nbsp;the 2017 World Endurance Championship LMP2 category.</strong></p> <p>TDS will operate the G-Drive backed ORECA 07 for 2015 LMP2 class champion Roman Rusinov.</p> <p>G-Drive Racing posted a render of the car on Twitter&nbsp;to confirm the news:</p> <p>Rusinov is set to&nbsp;share the car&nbsp;with Pierre Thiriet, who represented TDS Racing in the European Le Mans Series last season. <a href=""> reported that&nbsp;&quot;several drivers with Formula 1 race experience&quot;</a> are in talks with G-Drive over the third seat.</p> <blockquote> <p>It&#39;s not a secret anymore. We are still in the game and ready to fight! <a data-query-source="hashtag_click" dir="ltr" href=""><s>#</s><b>WEC</b></a> <a data-query-source="hashtag_click" dir="ltr" href=""><s>#</s><b>LeMans24</b></a></p> </blockquote> <p>Thiriet fills the gap for a mandatory silver-rated driver in the lineup, whilst Rusinov moves in as a gold competitor following his re-grading from silver at the end of 2016.</p> <p>TDS Racing will operate two ORECA 07s in this year&#39;s LMP2 category, with an&nbsp;in-house effort already confirmed&nbsp;for Emmanuel Collard, Fran&ccedil;ois Perrodo and Mathieu Vaxivi&egrave;re.</p> <p>The French team is stepping up to the World Endurance Championship having competed in the European Le Mans since 2010, winning the title with Pierre Thiriet and Mathias Beche in 2012.</p> <p>G-Drive Racing finished third in the WEC LMP2&nbsp;championship last season,&nbsp;supported at the time by British squad Jota Sport.</p> <p>Rusinov&#39;s team claimed victory in the&nbsp;six-hour races at Fuji, Shanghai and Bahrain,&nbsp;and claimed a podium at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.</p> Racing to adopt Nissan LMP1 engine for WEC 2017Wed, 25 Jan 2017 16:49:01 GMT<p><strong>ByKolles Racing will switch to Nissan power for the 2017 World Endurance Championship, utilising the same engine that NISMO developed for its&nbsp;short-lived LMP1 hybrid.</strong></p> <p>The privately-run German outfit has agreed a deal with Nissan to supply the 3.0 litre, V6 power plant for its CLM P1/01 prototype.</p> <p>ByKolles previously ran with a 2.4 litre, V6 engine manufactured by British company AER.</p> <p>Team manager Boris Bermes said that the new package would bring improved reliability to the CLM&nbsp;in 2017.</p> <p>&quot;Engine supply from NISMO is of huge significance to our team,&quot;&nbsp;he said.</p> <p>&quot;After having to deal with many setbacks in the past due to engine reliability issues, for the 2017 season we are expecting a significant improvement in terms of both reliability as well as performance.&quot;</p> <p>ByKolles Racing finished second in the three-car LMP1 privateer class last season, with the CLM&#39;s best result being sixth place overall at the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps.</p> <p>Bermes confirmed that the twin-turbo NISMO engine - originally developed for the front-wheel drive Nissan GT-R LM NISMO -&nbsp;will deliver its power to the rear axle, through a gearbox system&nbsp;supplied by Xtrac.</p> <p>The naturally aspirated&nbsp;CLM P1/01 will also feature a heavily revised aerodynamic package in a bid to pull the car closer to the hybrid LMP1 field.</p> <p>&quot;We are relentlessly working on numerous additional improvements to our car,&quot; said Bermes.</p> <p>&quot;As a result of the changes in regulations for 2017, we will be able to make big improvements to both the front and the rear, particularly in aerodynamics.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;In addition to that, our design engineers have achieved a reduction in weight and have introduced comprehensive updates to mechanical components.&quot;</p> <p>ByKolles Racing intends to open up&nbsp;the CLM P1/01 chassis to customer teams in 2018, although orders won&#39;t necessarily be tied to the Nissan engine.</p> <p>The decision to sell the car to customers comes after BR Engineering and Ginetta announced respective LMP1 privateer programmes for the 2018 WEC season.</p> completes line-up with David Heinemeier Hansson and Julien CanalMon, 09 Jan 2017 18:16:20 GMT<p><strong>Rebellion Racing has confirmed that David Heinemeier Hansson and Julien Canal will complete its&nbsp;2017 FIA World Endurance Championship line-up.</strong></p> <p>The Anglo-Swiss team <a href="">announced last month four of its six drivers</a> in Nicolas Prost, Mathias Beche, Nelson Piquet Jr and Bruno Senna.</p> <p>It has now confirmed that&nbsp;Heinemeier Hansson will join Beche and Piquet in the No. 13 Oreca 07 Gibson, whilst&nbsp;Canal will join Prost and Senna in the No. 31 car.</p> <p>Heinemeier Hansson makes a return to the LMP2 class having spent last year racing for Abu Dhabi Proton Racing in the GTE-Am class where he finished runner-up and therefore fulfills WEC&#39;s&nbsp;Bronze/Silver-driver requirement for the LMP2 class.</p> <p>&quot;Since I started racing at a top level, Rebellion Racing has stood at the pinnacle of the privateer tradition with pace, style, and a determination to see things through,&quot; said the Danish driver.</p> <p>&quot;I couldn&rsquo;t wish for a better team to begin my fifth full season in the FIA WEC and my sixth crack at the 24 hours of Le Mans.</p> <p>&quot;The competition is tougher than ever in LMP2, the cars are more exciting than ever, and together we will be ready as a team.&quot;</p> <p>Canal also qualifies having claimed the LMP2 championship in 2015 before enjoying a one-year stint with&nbsp;Greaves Motorsport in the European Le Mans series.</p> <p>&quot;After winning the FIA WEC LMP2 [championship] in 2015, my desire to return to this championship was very high and I wanted to come back with a strong team, a team with the will to win and positive vibe,&quot; added the Frenchman.</p> <p>&quot;I cannot wait to drive the new Oreca 07 LMP2 car. I know Bruno Senna, we get on very well, and with Nico our friendly relationship goes back for many years, I&rsquo;m looking forward to sharing this car with them both.&quot;</p> to become FIA WEC LMP1 chassis manufacturer from 2018Wed, 04 Jan 2017 09:38:50 GMT<p><strong>Ginetta has confirmed it will become a chassis manufacturer for the LMP1 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship from the 2018 season.</strong></p> <p>Earlier this year, the Automobile Club de l&#39;Ouest (ACO) announced new regulations for LMP1 from 2017 that were intended to attract more privateer teams to the class in the future.</p> <p>The LMP1 field is set to feature just two manufacturers - Porsche and Toyota - in 2017 following Audi&#39;s shock withdrawal at the end of last year and the decision to put the LMP1-L privateer class on hiatus due to a lack of entries.</p> <p>However, Ginetta has now confirmed it will produce an LMP1 chassis from 2018 that will be available to customer teams. The British marque plans to produce&nbsp;ten chassis to support three&nbsp;two-car teams.</p> <p>&quot;I&rsquo;m hugely thankful to the ACO for the opportunity to run at the front and challenge for overall podiums,&quot; Ginetta chairman Lawrence Tomlinson said. &quot;The Ginetta design team&rsquo;s ability has already been proven by the class dominating Ginetta LMP3 and G57.</p> <p>&quot;The performance of the Ginetta LMP1 is going to be amazing. We are now offering a genuine ladder for our customers all the way from first race to Le Mans which is incredibly exciting for me.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;More great news for endurance racing!&quot; ACO president Pierre Fillon added.&nbsp;&quot;Ginetta has proven its expertise in creating successful high performance chassis in G57 and Ginetta LMP3 categories and entering LMP1, the top tier category of endurance racing, appears now to be an obvious move for Ginetta as it moves forward.</p> <p>&quot;The valued expertise of Ginetta&rsquo;s partners for this programme is also very promising for the 2018 FIA World Endurance Championship.&rdquo;</p> <p>Ginetta&#39;s statement also revealed&nbsp;that it is in &quot;advanced talks with engine supplier MECACHROME as well as gearbox manufacturers Xtrac for the drive train.</p> <p>&quot;The car will be around 60kg lighter than a P2 and have up to 200BHP more. Accompanied with the huge downforce that their new aerodynamic team will develop, Ginetta is confident this will be a class-leading car.&quot;</p> <p>Ginetta is poised to begin LMP1 testing following this year&#39;s 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.</p> Lotterer enjoys first Porsche LMP1 test at Motorland AragonTue, 03 Jan 2017 23:15:46 GMT<p><strong>Andre Lotterer enjoyed his first test as a Porsche factory driver behind the wheel of its 919 Hybrid LMP1 car&nbsp;at Motorland Aragon on Tuesday.</strong></p> <p>Three-time Le Mans winner Lotterer sought refuge at Porsche for 2017 after Audi ended its endurance programme at the end of the 2016 season.</p> <p>2012 champion Lotterer will race the entire FIA World Endurance Championship campaign with Porsche behind the wheel of the #1 919 Hybrid in 2017, teaming up with Nick Tandy and Neel Jani, both Le Mans winners in 2015 and 2016 respectively.</p> <p>Lotterer enjoyed his first test with Porsche at the Motorland Aragon circuit in Spain, as confirmed by the German marque via its official Twitter account on Tuesday.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">New work clothes for <a href="">@Andre_Lotterer</a> who already has collected first impressions at the wheel of <a href="">#Porsche</a> <a href="">#919hybrid</a> <a href="">@AragonMotorLand</a> <a href=""></a></p> &mdash; Porsche LMP1 Team (@Porsche_Team) <a href="">January 3, 2017</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script> <p>Lotterer is the only member of the 2016&nbsp;Audi LMP1 line-up to have secured a new WEC seat ahead of the forthcoming season, with long-running teammates Benoit Treluyer and Marcel Fassler both continuing to evalute their options.</p> <p>From the second Audi entry, Lucas di Grassi is understood to be focusing chiefly on his commitments in Formula E, while Loic Duval has moved into DTM a factory driver. Oliver Jarvis is yet to firm up any plans for 2017, but is thought to be chasing an LMP2 seat to remain in the WEC.</p> confirms two-car LMP2 entry for WEC 2017Wed, 21 Dec 2016 13:07:43 GMT<p><strong>Rebellion Racing has confirmed it will enter two&nbsp;Oreca 07-Gibson LMP2 cars in the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship and the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans.</strong></p> <p>The Swiss team also confirmed&nbsp;four of their six drivers for the upcoming season, with&nbsp;Nicolas Prost, Mathias Beche and Nelson Piquet Jr&nbsp;returning, whilst Bruno Senna will join the line-up.</p> <p>The switch to LMP2 sees Rebellion&#39;s participation in the LMP1 category put on hold.</p> <p>&quot;We are very pleased to confirm our plans to enter two Oreca 07 LMP2 cars in the 2017 World Endurance Championship alongside our already announced entry with a single car in the IMSA North American Endurance Cup races,&quot; commented team manager Bart Hayden.</p> <p>&quot;We are also very happy that Nico, Mathias and Nelson will be driving with us again in 2017 and I would like to welcome Bruno to the Rebellion Racing Team.</p> <p>&quot;We were impressed with the Oreca 07 when we tested it in Sebring last week, it should be a good car to go for race victories and the Championship. We are putting together all the ingredients to run a strong campaign in 2017!&quot;</p> change announced for 2017 WEC pre-season testTue, 06 Dec 2016 15:04:58 GMT<p><strong>Next year&rsquo;s pre-season FIA World Endurance Championship test at Monza has been pushed back by one week.</strong></p> <p>The date change was confirmed by the WEC, to avoid a clash with a the Pope&rsquo;s visit to the Italian city.</p> <p>Pope Francis will visit Monza from the 24-25 March, the original date of the WEC &lsquo;prologue&rsquo;.</p> <p>It has now been pushed back to the 1-2 April, due to &ldquo;obvious organisational and security reasons&rdquo; according to the WEC.</p> <p>The European Le Mans Series test from the 28-29 March at Monza remains unchanged.</p> <p>The 2017 WEC season kicks off at the Silverstone circuit on the 16 April.</p> Lotterer, Nick Tandy, Earl Bamber secure Porsche LMP1 seats for 2017Sat, 03 Dec 2016 21:53:00 GMT<p><strong>Porsche has confirmed the arrival of Andre Lotterer, Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber to its LMP1 line-up for the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship season following its Night of Champions event in Germany.</strong></p> <p>Porsche was left with three seats to fill ahead of the 2017 season following Mark Webber&#39;s retirement and the decision to relocate WEC champions Marc Lieb and Romain Dumas within its motorsport programme.</p> <p>Three-time Le Mans winner Lotterer has been drafted in from Audi, with the manufacturer ending its LMP1 programme at the end of the 2016 season, while both Tandy and Bamber have been part of&nbsp;Porsche&#39;s GT line-up through this year. The pair won Le Mans in 2015 alongside Formula 1 Nico Hulkenberg.</p> <p>Lotterer and Tandy will slot into the #1 Porsche 919 Hybrid for the 2017 season alongside defending champion Neel Jani, while Bamber will join Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard in the #2 car.</p> <p>Porsche also confirmed part of its line-up for its revived GTE programme in the WEC, with a new pair of 911 RSR cars set to enter the GTE Pro class from 2017 after no factory operation was fielded this year.</p> <p>Michael Christensen,&nbsp;Fr&eacute;d&eacute;ric Makowiecki&nbsp;and Richard Lietz will take three seats in&nbsp;Porsche&#39;s GT line-up, with the remaining seats still to be confirmed.</p> Lieb, Romain Dumas to leave Porsche LMP1 line-up for 2017Sat, 26 Nov 2016 12:12:03 GMT<p><strong>Porsche has confirmed that 2016 FIA World Endurance Champion title winners Marc Lieb and Romain Dumas will not be part of its LMP1 line-up next year.</strong></p> <p>The No.2 Porsche enjoyed a great start to the year, winning at Silverstone, finishing second at Spa and taking victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.</p> <p>Despite failing to return to the podium for the remainder of the 2016 WEC season, Lieb, Dumas and team-mate Neel Jani secured the title in Bahrain by 12.5 points.</p> <p>Porsche has now announced that Lieb and Dumas will not return to its LMP1 driver line-up, remaining under contract but moving on to other roles.</p> <p>Lieb will switch to a customer racing role and the position with Porsche for Dumas is yet to be announced.</p> <p>With Mark Webber retiring from motorsport and competing in his final WEC race in Bahrain with the No.1 car, it now leaves three vacant seats at Porsche for 2017.</p> <p>&ldquo;The LMP1 program has benefitted immensely from Marc&rsquo;s and Romain&rsquo;s experience, especially during the team&rsquo;s build-up phase and in Le Mans,&rdquo; said Fritz Enzinger, vice president at Porsche LMP1.</p> <p>&ldquo;Together we went through some highs and lows in recent years. I am very pleased that both true racers can conclude this part of their Porsche career as Le Mans winners and world champions.</p> <p>&ldquo;I thank Marc and Romain from the depth of my heart for their high performance driving, their strong commitment and their loyalty.&rdquo;</p> Aussie Grit - Mark Webber reflects on retirementMon, 21 Nov 2016 17:12:12 GMT<p><strong>In a career that&rsquo;s seen 8 FIA World Endurance Championship victories and a 2015 title win with Porsche, along with 9 wins in Formula One for Red Bull Racing, Mark Webber will now hang up his racing boots. The Australian driver spoke to Mobil 1 The Grid as he reflects on a life and career in racing.​</strong></p> Kubica sets competitive times during WEC LMP1 test in BahrainSun, 20 Nov 2016 17:28:11 GMT<p><strong>Former Formula 1 driver Robert Kubica completed his first ever WEC test on Sunday at the Bahrain International Circuit, where he managed to set competitive times as he considers switching to the endurance series next year.</strong></p> <p>Kubica sustained a serious injury to his right-wrist during a rally crash in 2011, ending his F1 career and forcing him to switch to rallying full-time. However due to a lack of funding, he competed in just one rally this year and is now looking elsewhere for a drive.</p> <p>The Polish driver got behind the wheel of the&nbsp;ByKolles CLM-AER P1/01 privateer LMP1 car for 27 laps and managed to lap faster than regular driver&nbsp;Pierre Kaffer managed at the same circuit on Friday during practice.</p> <p>Kubica&#39;s best time of 1m47.222s was more than half a second better than Kaffer managed.</p> <p>However Kubica has yet to decide whether WEC is the right move for him, given his injuries and the need for a special setup to allow him to get the most out of the car - which is difficult given LMP1 cars are shared.</p> <p>&quot;It was not easy,&quot; he told <em>Sportscar365. </em>&quot;Fortunately it worked out pretty well and I was quite comfortable in the car, not 100 percent, but I could drive still.</p> <p>&quot;For sure because of my limitations, endurance races are quite difficult because there are driver changes which you have to do as fast as possible. You cannot build up your cockpit around yourself.</p> <p>&quot;If I drive by myself, I will put the pedals like I want, steering wheel like I want, or let&rsquo;s say like I need, because in the end, it&rsquo;s not because I wake up I say, &#39;I want this,&#39;&nbsp;but it&rsquo;s mainly because of my arm. This is a reality I cannot change,&quot; he explained.</p> <p>&quot;That was the reason I am here, just to say, &lsquo;Okay, I go home with an idea that I know if I have this, this and this, I can do it.&rsquo; If I don&rsquo;t have this, I can still do it, but I will not do it 100 percent and I don&rsquo;t want to do it if there is no possibility for me to express myself as best I can.&quot;</p> 6 Hours of Bahrain race highlightsSun, 20 Nov 2016 12:46:13 GMT<p><strong>Watch race highlights from the FIA World Endurance Championship 2016 season finale in Bahrain, as Audi took an emotional 1-2 in its final race and Mark Webber&#39;s No.1 car finished third in his last competitive WEC outing. </strong></p> regulations to remain unchanged until end of 2019Sun, 20 Nov 2016 12:43:12 GMT<p><strong>The rules and regulations for manufacturers racing in the LMP1 class of the FIA World Endurance Championship will remain unchanged until the end of 2019.</strong></p> <p>The decision was made following a meeting in Bahrain of the Strategy Committee, which took place between representatives from Porsche and Toyota, the FIA and the Automobile Club de l&#39;Ouest.</p> <p>It was agreed that the current LMP1 hybrid technical rules and regulations will be frozen until the end of the 2019 WEC season.</p> <p>There had been plans to incorporate new regulations for 2018, including a third hybrid system, a fifth hybrid subclass (10MJ) and other tweaks to things like seating position.</p> <p>Changes have already been made about the number of team personnel, wind tunnel days, testing sessions available and number of aero packages in a bid to cut costs.</p> <p>However, the rule freeze needs to be ratified by the FIA World Motor Sport Council, which has its next meeting in two weeks.</p> takes Bahrain 1-2 in its final WEC race, Porsche takes titleSat, 19 Nov 2016 21:30:58 GMT<p><strong>Audi signed off its World Endurance Championship programme with a 1-2 at the 6 Hours of Bahrain, whilst the #2 Porsche&nbsp;of Neel Jani, Romain Dumas and Marc Lieb took the title with sixth place.</strong></p> <p>With the announcement that Audi will pull out of the WEC series this year, it secured the best possible result in its final race as the #8 car of Lucas di Grassi, Loic Duval and Oliver Jarvis took the win and secured the German squad&#39;s 17th WEC victory.</p> <p>Porsche completed the podium with the #1 car of Mark Webber, Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley finishing more than a minute adrift of the Audis, whilst the two Toyota TS050&#39;s were fourth and fifth.</p> <p>With an outside chance of snatching the title from Porsche, Toyota needed a win and trouble for the #2 car, but ultimately Jani, Dumas and Lieb did enough in sixth, despite contact with the #78 Porsche troubling them and forcing an unscheduled stop for repairs.</p> <p>Rebellion&#39;s #13 car led the privateer class, finishing ahead of the sole&nbsp;ByKolles CLM by four laps.</p> <p>In the LMP2 field the #26 G-Drive Oreca team of Rene Rast, Alex Brundle and Roman Rusinov did the unthinkable and went from last to first with blinding drives from all three to finish just six seconds ahead of the #43 RGR Sport by Morand Ligier.</p> <p>Signatech Alpine claimed third place after leading in the early stage of the race, but finish champions in the LMP2 class.</p> <p>Aston Martin take home the GTE-Pro drivers&#39; title with a victory for the&nbsp;#95 car of Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen - their second win of 2016.</p> <p>It looked as though Aston Martin would take the 1-2, but a loose front-wheel meant it lost time as it crawled back to the pits and ended up fifth, behind the two AF Corse Ferraris and the #67 Ford GT.</p> <p>Ferrari take home the manufacturers&#39; title.</p> <p>In the GTE-Am class, the victory went to the #88 Porsche entry of&nbsp;Pat Long, Khaled Al-Qubaisi and David Heinemeier Hansson, but&nbsp;the #83 AF Corse trio of Emmanuel Collard, Francois Perrodo and Rui Aguas took&nbsp;title with third place.</p> Kubica to test WEC LMP1 car for ByKolles in BahrainSat, 19 Nov 2016 10:13:25 GMT<p><strong>Robert Kubica will test an LMP1 car for the ByKolles team at the end of season FIA World Endurance Championship rookie test in Bahrain on Sunday.</strong></p> <p>Kubica, 31, raced in Formula 1 between 2006 and 2010 before sustaining severe injuries to his right hand and arm in a rally accident during the off-season, putting his single-seater career on hold.</p> <p>The Pole returned to motorsport action in 2013, taking part in the World Rally Championship and winning the WRC2 title in his debut season. Kubica took part in the Rally Monte Carlo in January 2016, after which he confirmed he would not be doing any more rallying.</p> <p>After taking part in a Renault Sport Trophy race at Spa earlier this year, Kubica confirmed he was looking to return to circuit racing in 2017, and will take a step towards that by testing for ByKolles in Bahrain on Sunday.</p> <p>Kubica will join a number of other first-time LMP1 drivers at the rookie test including Daytona and Sebring winner Pipo Derani, LMP2 champion Gustavo Menezes and French racer Paul-Loup Chatin, who will conduct running with Toyota, Porsche and Audi respectively.</p> <p>The WEC rookie test has welcomed a number of high-profile drivers running alongside those rising up the sportscar racing ranks, with 2015 seeing Juan Pablo Montoya enjoy a test with Porsche.</p> beats Porsche to secure pole at final WEC raceFri, 18 Nov 2016 16:57:45 GMT<p><strong>The No.8 Audi of Lucas di Grassi, Oliver Jarvis and Loic Duval will start the FIA World Endurance Championship 2016 season finale in Bahrain from pole position.</strong></p> <p>This weekend&rsquo;s 6 Hours of Bahrain marks Audi&rsquo;s final race in the WEC after the German manufacturer announced in October it would be pulling out of the series.</p> <p>Jarvis and di Grassi took the No.8 LMP1 car to first place in qualifying, with an average lap time in the session of 1m39.207.</p> <p>The Audi beat both Porsche cars, with the No.1 919 Hybrid of Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley &ndash; which they share with Mark Webber, who is competing in his final WEC race &ndash; just over two and a half tenths further back.</p> <p>They snatched second away in the final moments of qualifying, with the No.2 Porsche of Neel Jani and Marc Lieb &ndash; shared with Romain Dumas and leading the points at the moment &ndash; in third.</p> <p>The second Audi R18 e-tron quattro of Andre Lotterer and Marcel Fassler were fourth, with Benoit Treluyer alongside them for the race.</p> <p>In fifth and sixth were the No.6 and No.5 Toyota TS050 Hybrids, one and 1.5 seconds behind the pole-sitting Audi respectively.</p> <p>Roman Rusinov and Rene Rast secured pole for the LMP2 class with their No.26 G-Drive Racing car shared with Alex Brundle.</p> <p>They finished just 0.018 seconds ahead of the No.36 Signatech Alpine of Gustavo Menezes and Stephane Richelmi, with the No.44 Manor of Alex Lynn and Matt Rao next up.</p> <p>In GTE Pro, the No.95 Aston Martin of Darren Turner and Jonathan Adams took pole, ahead of the sister No.95 Aston of Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen.</p> <p>The No.98 Aston Martin of Pedro Lamy and Paul Dalla Lana secured first place in qualifying for the GTE Am class.</p> WEC team takes on the Mannequin ChallengeThu, 17 Nov 2016 18:48:45 GMT<p><strong>The ByKolles FIA World Endurance Championship team takes on the Mannequin Challenge craze that is sweeping over the internet.</strong></p> Barrichello and Jan Lammers to race LMP2 at Le Mans 2017Wed, 16 Nov 2016 18:03:21 GMT<p><strong>Rubens Barrichello and Jan Lammers will compete in the 85th running of Le Mans 24 Hours next year, driving a Dallara LMP2 car.</strong></p> <p>The two former Formula 1 drivers have signed up to race for the newly-formed Racing Team Nederland outfit and will participate in the European Le Mans Series as well the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2017.</p> <p>Whilst Lammers has Le Mans experience, having won the race back in 1988 with Tom Wilkinshaw Racing, it will be Barrichello&#39;s first appearance. The Brazilian does however have endurance experience,&nbsp;having contested the Daytona 24 Hours three times,&nbsp;finishing&nbsp;runner-up this year.</p> <p>Racing Team Nederland have already begun testing with both Barrichello and Lammers, with the pair completing a shakedown last week at the Magny-Cours circuit in France.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src=";showinfo=0" width="560"></iframe></p> Webber expects 'pretty emotional' final WEC race in BahrainTue, 15 Nov 2016 12:03:09 GMT<p><strong>Mark Webber is expecting a &quot;pretty emotional&quot; race in Bahrain as it will signify not only the end of his World Endurance Championship career, but also his time in top-tier motorsport.</strong></p> <p>The 40-year-old retired from Formula 1 at the end of the 2013 season having finished a best third in his final year before switching to WEC with Porsche.</p> <p>The Australian has enjoyed a successful stint in&nbsp;WEC, winning the title in his second year, but has now called time on his racing career.</p> <p>&quot;Bahrain is obviously not a normal race for me. It will be pretty emotional,&quot; he is quoted as saying by <em>Australia&#39;s Daily Telegraph.</em>&nbsp;&quot;To arrive there knowing it is the last time I will compete seriously will be a big moment.</p> <p>&quot;Of course we would love to go out with a victory,&quot; he added. &quot;But irrespective of the result, I think it would be nice for me to have a smooth day and look back on a very, very long career of which I&rsquo;m, of course, very proud.&quot;</p> <p>Webber says he&#39;s looking forward to getting out of the routine and hanging up his racing boots for the final time.</p> <p>&quot;I thought about it a few times. I will walk away from the car just one more time, take the helmet and balaclava off and the ear plugs out, doing all these things for one last time.</p> <p>&quot;That will be very different, but I&rsquo;m looking forward to not having to do this in the future.&quot;</p> Racing switches from WEC to Blancpain GT Series for 2017 seasonWed, 09 Nov 2016 01:32:14 GMT<p><strong>Strakka Racing has confirmed it will take a break from the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2017, favouring a move into the Blancpain GT Series.</strong></p> <p>Strakka has raced in the WEC&#39;s&nbsp;LMP2 class through 2016, but&nbsp;had been evaluating a move up into the LMP1 privateer class for 2017, only for the technical regulations to be issued too late.</p> <p>After a tough season that saw Strakka end its WEC campaign two races early due to ongoing engine issues, the team has now announced it will not be returning to the championship next year.</p> <p>Instead, the British squad will enter the Blancpain GT Series with four&nbsp;McLaren GT 650S GT3 cars, becoming a McLaren customer race team.</p> <p>&quot;Creating this partnership with such an esteemed brand as McLaren is, for me, the most exciting chapter and proud moment in Strakka&rsquo;s ten year history,&rdquo; Strakka team founder Nick Leventis said.</p> <p>&ldquo;We are now working with one of the most successful and prestigious GT3 manufacturers with a commitment to build a long term future together.</p> <p>&quot;Alongside the opportunity to work closely with a manufacturer such as McLaren GT and join its portfolio of winning customer teams challenging for race victories and championships, we will also support the development of McLaren GT&rsquo;s Academy Driver programme via our Strakka Performance and Simulation programmes.</p> <p>&quot;Nurturing young talent is something Strakka has always been passionate about and this partnership will enable us to use our resources to help such drivers develop. As we know first-hand, aspiring drivers face difficulties raising budgets to compete on the single seater ladder and more and more are turning to GTs.&quot;</p> <p>Despite stepping back from the WEC for 2017, Strakka team principal Dan Walmsley confirmed that a return to the series in the future is already being planned.</p> <p>&quot;The regs came too late to get a P1L car ready for 2017 and to stay in the championship next year would have meant acquiring a P2 car,&quot; Walmsley said.</p> <p>&quot;It is a fantastic championship so expect to see us back racing there again.&quot;</p> 6 Hours of Shanghai race highlightsMon, 07 Nov 2016 12:19:10 GMT<p><strong>Watch race highlights from last weekend&#39;s 6 Hours of Shanghai in China, with the No.1 Porsche taking victory at the penultimate FIA World Endurance Championship round of the season. The win secured Porsche the teams&#39; title for 2016. </strong></p> takes WEC manufacturer title with 6 Hours of Shanghai victorySun, 06 Nov 2016 11:12:35 GMT<p><strong>Porsche wrapped up its second consecutive FIA WEC Manufacturers&#39; Championship during the 6 Hours of Shanghai on Sunday with a fourth season victory for the #1 car of&nbsp;Brendon Hartley, Mark Webber and Timo Bernhard.</strong></p> <p>The trio dominated the race to take the win by just under a&nbsp;minute, whilst a strong showing for Toyota kept the Drivers&#39; Championship alive until the final round of the season in Bahrain later this month.</p> <p>The #6 Toyota of&nbsp;Kamui Kobyashi,&nbsp;Mike Conway and Stephane Sarrazin finished second, giving them an outside shot of taking the title in a fortnight, though it would require a victory and a poor showing for the #2&nbsp;car.</p> <p>The victory could have gone Toyota&#39;s way had it not been for two-late unscheduled pit stops for slow punctures.</p> <p>The #5 Toyota completed the podium and kept the #2 Porsche at bay with ease, finishing more than 30 seconds&nbsp;up the road.</p> <p>Audi suffered a nightmare race, having stopped from second, a fuel-rig issue dropped the #8 car of Lucas Di Grassi, Loic Duval and Oliver Jarvis down the order to eventually finish fifth, several laps ahead of the sister car which suffered contact and had to undergo lengthy repairs.</p> <p>The ByKolles team claimed its first LMP1 Privateer class win in more than a year, after its chief rival, the #13 Rebellion R-One, hit problems during the race.</p> <p>Signatech Alpine took the LMP2 title, needing just a handful of points to claim the crown, which it managed with fourth place for the #36 car of Nicolas Lapierre, Gustavo Menezes and Stephane Richelmi.</p> <p>The&nbsp;Oreca 05 of&nbsp;Will Stevens, Roman Rusinov and Alex Brundle claimed the LMP2 win.</p> <p>The GTE class was dominated by Ford with the two GT&#39;s finishing first and second, led by the #67 car of&nbsp;Harry Tincknell and Andy Priaulx.</p> beats Toyota to pole position in ShanghaiSat, 05 Nov 2016 10:39:44 GMT<p><strong>The No.1 Porsche 919 Hybrid of Mark Webber and Brendon Hartley narrowly beat Toyota to pole position for the penultimate round of the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship in China.</strong></p> <p>Hartley went quickest on the first run but a track limits violation meant he lost his time. Webber put in a 1m44.618, before Hartley returned to the car and put in a 1m44.307 (the fastest time of the session).</p> <p>This gave the No.1 LMP1 car, which they share with Timo Bernhard, an average of 1m44.462, beating the No.5 Toyota of Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima by just 0.060 seconds.</p> <p>The No.8 Audi of Oliver Jarvis, who also got a second run, and Loic Duval was third in qualifying, a further one and a half tenths behind the leading Porsche.</p> <p>In Audi&rsquo;s penultimate WEC race, the No.7 car of Benoit Treluyer and Marcel Fassler qualified fifth, just behind the No.6 Toyota of Mike Conway and Stephane Sarrazin.</p> <p>Marc Lieb also lost his first time in the No.2 Porsche and had to go again, with him and Neel Jani&rsquo;s average working out only good enough for sixth.</p> <p>In LMP2, Manor picked up its first pole position with Alex Lynn and Matt Rao, with an average of 1m54.225. They edged out the Signatech Alpine of Nicolas Lapierre and Gustavo Menezes.</p> <p>Ford dominated in GTE Pro, with the No.67 of Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell taking their first pole with an average of 2m01.391, beating the No.66 of Stefan Mucke and Olivier Pla by just over one tenth.</p> <p>Pedro Lamy and Paul Dalla Lana took the GTE Am pole for the fifth time, with their Aston Martin putting in a 2m04.997 average at the Shanghai International Circuit.</p> Anthony Davidson gives a tour of Toyota's WEC simulatorFri, 28 Oct 2016 18:26:52 GMT<p>Simulators are a crucial part of all racing teams, across all categories in Motorsport. Mobil 1 The Grid spoke to Toyota Gazoo Racing&rsquo;s Anthony Davidson from the team&rsquo;s European base in Cologne, Germany, to find out how a simulator helps development and race preparation in the World Endurance Championship.</p> cuts short 2016 WEC season due to engine issuesWed, 26 Oct 2016 15:54:21 GMT<p><strong>Strakka Racing has announced it will not compete in the final two rounds of the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship due to engine issues.</strong></p> <p>The British team has suffered numerus engine-related problems during the year with its one-car LMP2 entry.</p> <p>Strakka&rsquo;s car suffered issues with the engine during the closing stages of the last WEC round at the Fuji circuit in Japan, which have proved to be terminal.</p> <p>Strakka has been forced to cut short its 2016 WEC campaign, having hit the engine allocation limit, and will not race in Shanghai and Bahrain.</p> <p>The team, which is currently fifth in the LMP2 championship with two rounds remaining, announced the news on Twitter.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">Unfortunately engine issues mean we&#39;ve had to cut short our WEC campaign this year. So sorry guys - we tried everything</p> &mdash; Strakka Racing (@StrakkaRacing) <a href="">October 26, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script> confirms WEC departure at end of 2016Wed, 26 Oct 2016 12:26:45 GMT<p><strong>Audi has announced it will stop its LMP1 programme in the FIA World Endurance Championship at the end of the 2016 season.</strong></p> <p>The German manufacturer won the WEC titles in 2012 and 2013 and has won the Le Mans 24 Hours 13 times in its 18-year involvement.</p> <p>Audi has decided to stop its LMP1 team in the WEC in order to focus on its involvement in the all-electric Formula E series.</p> <p>Last month the manufacturer confirmed it had stepped up its involvement in Formula E with the Abt Schaeffler squad.</p> <p>Having looked over its motorsport programme, Audi has now opted to ditch the WEC in favour of Formula E. Its DTM commitment will be &ldquo;untouched&rdquo;.</p> <p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re going to contest the race for the future on electric power,&rdquo; said chairman of the board of management, Rupert Stadler.</p> <p>&ldquo;As our production cars are becoming increasingly electric, our motorsport cars, as Audi&rsquo;s technological spearheads, have to even more so.&rdquo;</p> <p>Audi motorsport boss Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich added: &ldquo;After 18 years in prototype racing that were exceptionally successful for Audi, it&rsquo;s obviously extremely hard to leave.</p> <p>&ldquo;Audi Sport Team Joest shaped the WEC during this period like no other team. I would like to express my thanks to our squad, to Reinhold Joest and his team, to the drivers, partners and sponsors for this extremely successful cooperation. It&rsquo;s been a great time!&rdquo;</p> Porsche 919 Hybrid takes to streets of LondonFri, 21 Oct 2016 15:36:47 GMT<p><strong>Watch Mark Webber drive his Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 car around the streets of London, past landmarks like Big Ben and Piccadilly Circus. </strong></p> Blomqvist joins ESM LMP2 line-up for 6 Hours of ShanghaiThu, 20 Oct 2016 12:14:37 GMT<p><strong>BMW DTM driver Tom Blomqvist has joined the Extreme Speed Motorsports No.30 LMP2 driver line-up for the 6 Hours of Shanghai.</strong></p> <p>Blomqvist is on the entry list for the Jagonya Ayam-backed Ligier JS P2 Nissan alongside GP2 drivers Antonio Giovinazzi and Sean Gelael.</p> <p>Giovinazzi and Gelael competed with former F1 driver Giedo van der Garde at the last round in Fuji, Japan, finishing fourth.</p> <p>But Blomqvist will replace van der Garde and make his FIA World Endurance Championship debut in China, having just concluded his second DTM season with BMW.</p> <p>Blomqvist will reunite with Giovinazzi and Gelael, who were team-mates at Carlin in Formula 3 during the 2014 season.</p> <p>But the Anglo-Swede has experience with endurance racing already, after debuting in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup at the Nurburgring last month.</p> beats Audi to 6 Hours of Fuji victorySun, 16 Oct 2016 11:52:39 GMT<p><strong>The No.6 Toyota of Kamui Kobayashi, Stephane Sarrazin and Mike Conway held off the No.8 Audi to claim a dramatic 6 Hours of Fuji victory.</strong></p> <p>It was the manufacturer&rsquo;s first win in the FIA World Endurance Championship since the 6 Hours of Bahrain in 2014, with Toyota finishing at the front of the field on home soil.</p> <p>All three LMP1 manufacturers had turns in the lead at Fuji, with the No.6 Toyota being in the hunt from the very beginning.</p> <p>But the team gained an advantage by short-fuelling the No.6 car at its penultimate stop to move into second, before not changing tyres at the final trip to the pits.</p> <p>This gave Kobayashi a decent-sized lead for the run to the flag and despite Loic Duval&rsquo;s best efforts in his Audi, the Toyota crossed the line 1.4 seconds ahead at the flag after 244 laps.</p> <p>Duval&rsquo;s No.8 car, shared with Lucas di Grassi and Oliver Jarvis, finished in second place. Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber &ndash; who retires from racing at the end of 2016 &ndash; and Brendon Hartley&rsquo;s No.1 Porsche in third.</p> <p>The No.5 Toyota was 36 seconds down in the leaders in fourth, ahead of the No.2 Porsche and the No.13 Rebellion LMP1 privateer.</p> <p>The LMP2 win was closely fought and saw the No.26 G-Drive Racing car of Will Stevens, Roman Rusinov and Alex Brundle claimed the team&rsquo;s first victory in the class.</p> <p>The RGR Sport car of Bruno Senna, Filipe Albuquerque and Ricardo Gonzalez finished just behind in second place, having held the lead after the final stops.</p> <p>Ford dominated in GTE Pro to win with the No.67 of Harry Tincknell and Andy Priaulx finishing 15 seconds clear of the No.66 of Olivier Pla and Stefan Mucke.</p> <p>The GTE Am victory went to the No.98 Aston Martin of Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda for the fourth time this year.</p>, Derani and Menezes get nod for WEC rookie testSat, 15 Oct 2016 21:59:39 GMT<p><strong>Antonio Giovinazzi, Pipo Derani and Gustavo Menezes have been selected as the three drivers taking part in the FIA World Endurance Championship&rsquo;s rookie test.</strong></p> <p>The test will take place on the 20 November at the Bahrain International Circuit, one day after the 2016 season concludes with the 6 Hours of Bahrain.</p> <p>Audi, Porsche and Toyota will once again give young, up-and-coming drivers a chance to sample LMP1 machinery at the test.</p> <p>At least one car per manufacturer will be used at the test, with the rookie drivers getting 30 laps or more behind the wheel. Other drivers selected by the teams can also take part.</p> <p>Tequila Patr&oacute;n ESM LMP2 driver Derani has been competing in the WEC this year and will test for Toyota.</p> <p>GP2 series championship leader and new ESM driver Giovinazzi will test for Audi at the Bahrain circuit.</p> <p>Menezes and his Signatech Alpine team-mates in the No.36 car have taken four LMP2 wins this year, he will take part in the rookie test for Porsche.</p> <p>&ldquo;Of the many candidates we considered for selection, these three have shown both outstanding performances and great potential which we considered merited the test drives in Bahrain,&rdquo; said Pierre Fillon, president of the ACO.</p> <p>&ldquo;Pipo&rsquo;s excellent performances for ESM in the USA at the start of the year backed up an impressive 2015 WEC season and some extraordinary podium-gaining feats in 2016.</p> <p>&ldquo;Antonio is relatively new to endurance racing, compared to the other two, but he has shown a talent for it which cannot be ignored and has the potential for a long future with us should he choose it, while Gustavo has been consistently impressive in the Signatech Alpine this season alongside more experienced team mates.</p> <p>&ldquo;We congratulate them on their selection and we wish them every success at the test.&rdquo;</p> snatches Fuji WEC pole from Porsche by just 0.025sSat, 15 Oct 2016 10:36:07 GMT<p><strong>The #8 Audi driven by Lucas di Grassi and&nbsp;Loic Duval snatched pole position for the WEC 6 Hours of Fuji by just 0.025s from the #1 Porsche of&nbsp;Mark Webber and&nbsp;Timo Bernhard, in a closely-fought battle.</strong></p> <p>Although Audi&#39;s combined time of 1m23.570s was eight-tenths slower than last year&#39;s pole time, it was enough to beat Porsche this year by the slimmest of margins, whilst the #5 Toyota of&nbsp;Sebastien Buemi and Kauzki Nakajima&nbsp;was third, just over a tenth off the pace.</p> <p>It was a good day for Toyota as they locked-out the second row, with the sister car&nbsp;0.042s behind in fourth ahead of the second Audi and Porsche LMP1 entries.</p> <p>In the privateer battle, it was Rebellion that came out on top against ByKolles, 5.3s off the pace of the frontrunners.</p> <p>The #26 G-Drive car of Alex Brundle and Roman Rusinov took the LMP2 class pole, lapping under the&nbsp;1m32 mark.</p> <p>The #66 Ford claimed its first WEC pole in the GTE Pro class with&nbsp;Stefan Mucke and Olivier Pla setting a combined time of 1m37.681s, 0.044s ahead of the sister car driven by&nbsp;Harry Tincknell and Andy Priaulx to make it a 1-2 for the American team.</p> <p>Pole in GTE-Am meanwhile went to the #98 machine of Pedro Lamy, Mathias Lauda and Paul Dalla Lana.</p> Webber announces retirement from racing at end of 2016Thu, 13 Oct 2016 13:59:32 GMT<p><strong>Mark Webber will retire from racing at the end of the 2016 season, Porsche has officially announced.</strong></p> <p>The Australian driver won nine Formula 1 races during his 12-year stint in the series, before making the switch to the FIA World Endurance Championship with Porsche.</p> <p>Together with his team-mates Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley, Webber won the 2015 WEC championship and the trio have won seven races in the series since 2014.</p> <p>Webber&rsquo;s final race will be the 6 Hours of Bahrain next month, before he retires from racing and will become a Porsche representative.</p> <p>&ldquo;I have arrived where I belong,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;Porsche is the brand I always loved most and the one that suits me the best. &nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;I will miss the sheer speed, downforce and competition, but I want to leave on a high and I&rsquo;m very much looking forward to my new tasks.</p> <p>&ldquo;It was a big change from Formula 1 to LMP1 and an entirely new experience. But it came at the right time for me.</p> <p>&ldquo;I found I liked sharing a car and the chemistry between Timo, Brendon and me is special and something I&rsquo;ll always remember.</p> <p>&ldquo;It will be strange getting into the race car for the very last time in Bahrain but for now I will thoroughly enjoy every moment of the remaining races.&rdquo;</p> to make WEC return with G-Drive Racing at FujiThu, 29 Sep 2016 16:29:58 GMT<p><strong>Former Formula 1 driver Will Stevens will return to the FIA World Endurance Championship for the 6 Hours of Fuji.</strong></p> <p>He will compete for G-Drive Racing, who he raced for at this year&rsquo;s 24 Hours of Le Mans, and will join the driver line-up of the No.26 car.</p> <p>Stevens will sub for Rene Rast, who is competing in the DTM season finale at the Hockenheimring for Audi.</p> <p>The British driver returns to the WEC for the first time since Le Mans, where his car finished second. He drove for Manor in the first two rounds of the season.</p> <p>Stevens joins Roman Rusinov and Alex Brundle in the No.26 ORECA 05-Nissan LMP2 car for the 6 Hours of Fuji in Japan.</p> <p>&ldquo;I am delighted to return to WEC with G-Drive Racing for the Fuji event,&rdquo; he said.</p> <p>&ldquo;I really enjoyed my time with the team at Le Mans where we showed we could mount a strong challenge for a potential victory.</p> <p>&ldquo;Fuji is a new circuit for me but one which I think we will have a very strong package in the G-Drive Racing ORECA 05-Nissan.&rdquo;</p> Lynn to make WEC debut in Fuji with ManorWed, 28 Sep 2016 18:31:08 GMT<p><strong>GP2 racer and Williams development driver Alex Lynn will make his FIA World Endurance Championship debut at the next round in Japan with the Manor team.</strong></p> <p>The British driver has been a part of the Williams F1 outfit since the start of 2015 and has completed several test days with the team.</p> <p>He&rsquo;s currently in his second GP2 season with DAMS and is eighth in the drivers&rsquo; standings ahead of this weekend&rsquo;s penultimate round in Malaysia.</p> <p>Lynn has won four times during his GP2 career so far, having moved up to the series after claiming the 2014 GP3 title.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"> <p dir="ltr" lang="en">We are pleased to announce the return of the #45 and welcome <a href="">@shinjinakano24</a> and <a href="">@alexlynnracing</a> to Manor <a href="">#6hFuji</a> 👍 <a href=""></a></p> &mdash; ManorWEC (@ManorWEC) <a href="">September 28, 2016</a></blockquote> <script async src="//" charset="utf-8"></script> <p>He will partner ex-F1 driver Shinji Nakano and Tor Graves at the wheel of the No.45 Manor LMP2 car at the Fuji circuit for the next WEC race.</p> <p>Lynn hasn&rsquo;t raced in the WEC before but he did trial Toyota&rsquo;s LMP1 car during a test in Bahrain last year.</p> Webber drives Porsche 919 Hybrid through LondonTue, 27 Sep 2016 10:58:06 GMT<p><strong>Mark Webber took to the streets of central London this morning at the wheel of his Porsche 919 Hybrid.</strong></p> <p>The Australian passed iconic landmarks like Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square and Big Ben as he drove from Park Lane to South Bank.</p> <p>The Porsche 919 Hybrid has claimed two Le Mans victories, 12 FIA WEC wins and two championships &ndash; the drivers&rsquo; and constructors&rsquo; in 2015 &ndash; so far in the series.</p> <div class="article-gallery"> <p><img alt="" height="420" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/WEC/low_919_hybrid_panamera_4_e_hybrid_london_2016_porsche_ag(2).jpg" width="770" /></p> <p>Webber&rsquo;s run in London with the LMP1 prototype took place between 6am and 7am, taking to the streets with rush-hour traffic (helped by a police escort).</p> <p>The WEC car was accompanied by the new Porsche Panamera E-Hybrid, which is also powered by a combustion engine and hybrid electric motor.</p> <p><img alt="" height="420" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/WEC/low_919_hybrid_panamera_4_e_hybrid_london_2016_porsche_ag(3).jpg" width="770" /></p> <p>It proved trickier than a typical demo run, due to cooling concerns with the car running so slowly around the city streets.</p> <p>The next round of the WEC takes place at the Fuji circuit in Japan on the 16 October, with Porsche looking for a fourth consecutive win.</p> </div> confirms WEC entry from 2018, Formula E partnership with AndrettiTue, 27 Sep 2016 08:28:38 GMT<p><strong>BMW will enter the FIA World Endurance Championship from the 2018 season as part of its planned realignment of its motorsport programme.</strong></p> <p>BMW last raced at Le Mans back in 2011 prior to the formation of the WEC, but will now hit the grid in 2018 after intensifying its commitment to production-based racing.</p> <p>The German marque will also continue racing in DTM and&nbsp;the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in the United States, as well as enjoying a technical partnership with the MS Amlin Andretti team in Formula E, the latter being made public for the first time.</p> <p>&quot;The plan is for BMW to enter the FIA World Endurance Championship in the 2018 season,&quot; a statement from BMW read.</p> <p>&quot;The highlight of this championship is the 24-hour race in Le Mans. BMW claimed overall victory there in 1999 with the open prototype BMW V12 LMR.</p> <p>&quot;The last time a BMW took its place on the grid at the endurance classic near the river Sarthe was in 2011: back then, the BMW M3 GT finished third in the LM GTE class.</p> <p>&quot;Since it was launched in 2012, the championship has enjoyed a positive development, forged new paths in many regards, and won a lot of fans.</p> <p>&quot;Further details, such as the model of car to be used and the team responsible for the car, will be confirmed and announced over the coming months.&quot;</p> <p>BMW motorsport director Jens Marquardt said: &quot;It is fantastic that the BMW Group will be even more broadly positioned and represented in all relevant areas in the future.</p> <p>&quot;We will continue to focus on Europe in the DTM, and are looking forward to continuing the extremely close competition with the other premium manufacturers over the coming years.</p> <p>&quot;Starting with the 2018 season, we want to further expand our activities in GT racing and compete in the FIA World Endurance Championship, as well as the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.</p> <p>&quot;This obviously also includes our return to Le Mans, which we are particularly looking forward to. The way the WEC has developed so well makes us confident that there is a big future for GT racing.&quot;</p> <p>BMW also confirmed that it is planning a works involvement in Formula E from season five via Andretti, with whom it has initially agreed a two-year technical deal.</p> <p>&quot;It incorporates, for example, cooperation at engineer level and the mutual use of resources,&quot; the statement read.</p> <p>&quot;Depending on the general development of the racing series, a works involvement is envisaged as of the series&rsquo; season five, 2018/2019, provided the conditions and circumstances are right.</p> <p>&quot;As part of this commitment, BMW Motorsport will provide its works driver Ant&oacute;nio F&eacute;lix da Costa&nbsp;as a driver for Andretti Formula E. The Portuguese, who has featured on the top step of the DTM podium with BMW and has already tasted victory in Formula E, will contest the entire 2016/17 FIA Formula E Championship.&quot;</p> WEC calendar announced for 2017 seasonThu, 22 Sep 2016 19:46:38 GMT<p><strong>The 2017 calendar for the FIA World Endurance Championship has been officially announced, comprising of nine rounds.</strong></p> <p>There&rsquo;s an unchanged schedule for the sixth season of the WEC, with the series visiting the same tracks and venues as it did in 2016.</p> <p>Of the nine races, the change in weekend is the Nurburgring round being moved forward by one week. It will now take place on the 16 July.</p> <p>Meanwhile the Mexico City race, which debuted in 2016, has been shuffled from a Saturday event to a Sunday one.</p> <p>All of the events will last six hours, other than the famous 24 Hours of Le Mans, which is from the 17-18 June.</p> <p>It has been presented by the WEC to the FIA Endurance Commission and will need to be approved by the World Motor Sport Council at next week&rsquo;s meeting.</p> <p>The two-day pre-season test event will take place at the Monza circuit in Italy from the 24-25 March.</p> <p>&ldquo;The opportunity to start our season at Monza is one we are sure will please competitors, fans and media alike,&rdquo; said G&eacute;rard Neveu, CEO of the WEC.</p> <p>&ldquo;We hope that our calendar not only meets the expectations and requirements of all our partners and competitors, and makes economic and logistical sense, but also that it fits in with the increasing number of events that each venue hosts.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;The WEC continues to offer fans access to the most technologically relevant, competitive, and open championship possible, as well as offering our manufacturers Aston Martin, Audi, Ferrari, Ford, Porsche and Toyota the perfect showcase for their products on and off track.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>2017 provisional WEC calendar:</strong></p> <p>The WEC Prologue &ndash; Monza: 24/25 March</p> <p>6 Hours of Silverstone &ndash; UK: 16 April</p> <p>6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps &ndash; Belgium: 6 May</p> <p>Le Mans 24 Hours &ndash; France: 17/18 June</p> <p>6 Hours of Nurburgring &ndash; Germany: 16 July</p> <p>6 Hours of Mexico &ndash; Mexico: 3 September</p> <p>6 Hours of COTA &ndash; USA: 16 September</p> <p>6 Hours of Fuji &ndash; Japan: 15 October</p> <p>6 Hours of Shanghai &ndash; China: 5 November</p> <p>6 Hours of Bahrain &ndash; Bahrain: 18 November</p> Highlights from the WEC 6 Hours of COTAThu, 22 Sep 2016 11:01:40 GMT<p><strong>Watch race highlights from the FIA World Endurance Championship&#39;s sixth round of the 2016 season, the 6 Hours of COTA, as the No.1 Porsche takes the overall win. </strong></p> announces WEC driver line-up changesTue, 20 Sep 2016 11:37:11 GMT<p><strong>Tequila Patron ESM has confirmed changes to its LMP2 driver line-up in the FIA World Endurance Championship for the remainder of the 2016 season.</strong></p> <p>The team has announced new title sponsorship from KFC Indonesia for the No.30 car, with Jagonya Ayam-backed drivers Antonio Giovinazzi and Sean Gelael joining the line-up.</p> <p>The two GP2 racers will be joined by ex-F1 driver Giedo van der Garde, who is currently racing in the European Le Mans Series with G-Drive Racing.</p> <p>The new line-up will debut at the next FIA WEC round at the Fuji Speedway in Japan and will also drive at the final two races in Shanghai and Bahrain.</p> <p>The No.31 car will be unchanged for the rest of 2016, retaining its driver line-up of Ryan Dalziel, Pipo Derani and Chris Cumming.</p> <p>&ldquo;Jagonya Ayam expressed interest in getting a taste of a P2 program, and we already had the car, crew and full season entry,&rdquo; team owner Scott Sharp said.</p> <p>Jagonya Ayam sporting manager Francesco Principe added: &ldquo;We are really proud to be part of this program with a professional team such as Tequila Patr&oacute;n ESM.</p> <p>&ldquo;The cars look competitive and we are confident our line-up will do their best during each session.&rdquo;</p> #1 crew takes third straight WEC victory at COTA as Audi hits troubleSun, 18 Sep 2016 10:19:26 GMT<p><strong>Porsche&#39;s #1 crew of Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber and Brendon Hartley claimed their third straight win in the FIA World Endurance Championship on Saturday night in Austin after issues ended&nbsp;Audi&#39;s hopes of victory.</strong></p> <p>Porsche arrived at the Circuit of The Americas braced for a tight battle with Audi and Toyota for top honours in LMP1, and was left to settle for P3 and P5 on the grid as Audi locked out the front row.</p> <p>Audi&#39;s one-lap dominance extended into the race as the #8 R18 shared by Loic Duval, Lucas di Grassi and Oliver Jarvis led from the sister #7 car, enjoying an advantage of over a minute on the trailing Porsches.</p> <p>However, an electrical issue for the #8 car damaged its win hopes, with Porsche picking up the lead after&nbsp;a lucky break under a full course yellow allowed Hartley to pit and lose less time compared to his rivals.</p> <p>A crash for the #7 Audi with Benoit Treluyer behind the wheel cost the German marque six laps in the pits, leaving the #8 to take the fight to Porsche alone.</p> <p>Ultimately, Bernhard was able to keep Andre Lotterer at an arm&#39;s length through the final stint before crossing the line with an advantage of 23 seconds.</p> <p>The result marks the third straight win for the Bernhard/Hartley/Webber trio, but the sister #2 Porsche 919 Hybrid shared by Marc Lieb, Romain Dumas and Neel Jani retains the championship lead after finishing the day fourth. The #6 Toyota rounded out the podium, less than three seconds behind the second-placed Audi.</p> <p>LMP2 saw the #36 Signatech Alpine entry shared by Gustavo Menezes, Nicolas Lapierre and Stephane Richelmi claim their fourth win in five races, finishing a lap clear of the RGR Sport by Morand entry that won last time out in Mexico. G-Drive fought back from qualifying exclusion to round out the podium with its #26 Oreca Nissan.</p> <p>Aston Martin swept the board in the GTE classes, with the #95 V8 Vantage shared by Nicki Thiim and Marco S&oslash;rensen converting class pole into victory in GTE Pro. The &#39;Dane train&#39;&nbsp;finished&nbsp;11 seconds clear of Gianmaria Bruni and James Calado in the&nbsp;#51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 to record its first win of the season. Mathias Lauda, Paul Dalla Lana and Pedro Lamy claimed their third win of the season in GTE Am in the #98 AMR entry, finishing over a minute clear of the field.</p> secures one-two in FIA WEC 6 Hours of COTA qualifyingSat, 17 Sep 2016 11:46:29 GMT<p><strong>Audi swept to a one-two finish in Friday&#39;s qualifying session for this weekend&#39;s&nbsp;FIA World Endurance Championship round at the Circuit of The Americas in Austin.</strong></p> <p>Audi arrived at COTA licking the wounds from its defeat in Mexico two weeks ago, but managed to bounce back in impressive fashion by leaving Porsche trailing in its wake.</p> <p>The no. 7 Audi R18 shared by Marcel Fassler and Andre Lotterer in qualifying swept to pole despite having one of its laps scratched for using too much fuel. Fassler&#39;s lost effort was made up for by Lotterer, who turned in a fastest time of 1:45.703 to give the pair an average of 1:45.750 come the end of the session.</p> <p>Fassler, Lotterer and the returning Benoit Treluyer will be joined on the front row by the sister no. 8 Audi R18, shared in qualifying by Loic Duval and Oliver Jarvis as they finished two-tenths of a second further back.</p> <p>Porsche rolled the dice by switching tyres mid-way through the session, but was unable to match the pace of the Audis which completed the running on a single set. The no. 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid of Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber and Brendon Hartley was third, eight-tenths off the pole time, while Toyota impressed to split the Porsches with it no. 6 TS050 Hybrid sitting fourth.</p> <p>LMP2 pole went to the Signatech Alpine squad as Gustavo Menezes and Nicolas Lapierre finished almost a second clear of the pack, aided by the exclusion of rivals G-Drive for a series of track limits violations.</p> <p>Aston Martin Racing did not falter despite being hit with a balance of performance penalty for COTA as its no. 95 Vantage V8 shared by Nicki Thiim and Marco S&oslash;rensen grabbed pole in GTE Pro, defeating the no. 71 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE by just 0.042 seconds. Ford finished third in qualifying with its no. 66 entry.</p> <p>Aston Martin also picked up pole in GTE Am, the no. 98 entry shared by Paul Dalla Lana and Pedro Lamy in qualifying as they went six-tenths of a second clear of the no. 88 Abu Dhabi Proton Racing entry.</p> Fine-tuned - The Art of Pit-Stops with Toyota Gazoo RacingMon, 12 Sep 2016 17:24:29 GMT<p>Pit-stops play a massive part in a team&rsquo;s chance of success in endurance racing, often proving to be the margin between winning and losing. Mobil 1 The Grid went trackside with Toyota Gazoo Racing&#39;s Sebastian Buemi and Anthony Davidson to discover more about what goes into fine-tuning a complex endurance pit-stop.</p> 6 Hours of Mexico race highlightsTue, 06 Sep 2016 19:40:43 GMT<p><strong>Watch race highlights from last weekend&rsquo;s FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Mexico, which was won by the No.1 Porsche.</strong></p> #1 car survives late storm for FIA WEC Mexico victorySun, 04 Sep 2016 01:47:32 GMT<p><strong>Porsche survived a late scare to pick up its fourth victory of the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship season in the 6 Hours of Mexico on Saturday.</strong></p> <p>The #1 919 Hybrid shared by Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber and Brendon Hartley bounced back from a drive-through penalty before&nbsp;seeing&nbsp;off a stiff challenge from Audi&#39;s #7 R18 to win by just over a minute after six hours of racing.</p> <p>After taking pole on Saturday, Audi enjoyed an early lead at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez as Lucas di Grassi produced a rapid first stint to take the no. 8 car into the lead.</p> <p>Porsche dug deep to bring itself back into contention around the three-hour mark before rain hit the track in the fourth hour, prompting a strategy rethink.</p> <p>Porsche&#39;s #1 car suffered a setback when it was given a stop/go penalty for crossing the pit entry line and not then entering the pit lane, giving Audi a healthy buffer up front.</p> <p>However, a brake issue sent Oliver Jarvis spinning into the wall, ending hopes of a second win for the #8 crew and giving the advantage back to Porsche.</p> <p>Andre Lotterer looked to take the fight to Porsche in the #7 Audi, running five seconds per lap quicker as the #1 car tried to make it through a wet tyre stint on a drying track. However, a lock-up for Lotterer and glance with the wall eased the pressure once again, allowing Porsche to get back onto slicks.</p> <p>A late rain shower threatened to scupper Bernhard&#39;s charge to victory, again giving the pit wall a tough call to make. Audi rolled the dice and fitted Lotterer with intermediates, tasked with making up an 80-second gap to the leader.</p> <p>Bernhard gave Porsche a scare with five minutes remaining when he hit the kerb coming out of the stadium section and kissed the barrier, losing 20 seconds but avoiding damage. As a result, he was able to tentatively round the final few laps before coming home to take the crew&#39;s second straight victory.</p> <p>Audi&#39;s two-man team of Lotterer and Marcel Fassler was left disappointed in second place, while Toyota picked up a podium finish with the #6 car in third place.</p> <p>In LMP2, RGR Sport by Morand picked up an emotional home victory after a brake failure saw G-Drive lose the lead in the final hour. Signatech Alpine&#39;s late charge was valiant, but fell two seconds short of victory come the chequered flag.</p> <p>Aston Martin Racing dominated in GTE Pro as the #97 Vantage V8 shared by Darren Turner and Richie Stanaway saw off the challenge of the #51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE to take class victory. The #95 AMR entry came home third despite taking a trip into the barrier during the mid-race shower.</p> <p>Abu Dhabi Proton Racing won GTE Am after a race-long battle with AF Corse and KCMG, the trio freed up to fight after the #98 Aston Martin crashed early on and dropped out of contention for victory. Pat Long brought home the #88 Porsche 911 RSR to take the Abu Dhabi team&#39;s first win of the year.</p> pip Porsche by 0.042s to steal Mexico 6 Hours poleFri, 02 Sep 2016 22:56:52 GMT<p><strong>Audi snatched pole position from Porsche for the WEC 6 Hours of Mexico on Friday, with just 0.042 seconds splitting the two manufacturers&nbsp;at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.​</strong></p> <p>The #7 Audi R18 driven by Lucas di Grassi and Loic Duval set the quickest combined time, to give them an average of 1m25.069 to pip the #2 Porsche 919 of&nbsp;Neel Jani and Marc Lieb.</p> <p>The #8 Audi of Marcel Fassler and Andre Lotterer set the quickest time, but Fassler&#39;s effort wasn&#39;t quick enough, placing the pair third, more than two-tenths adrift of the sister car.</p> <p>An Audi-Porsche top four, with the #1 of&nbsp;Brendon Hartley and Mark Webber fourth, saw Toyota manage just fifth and sixth almost nine tenths shy for the #5 TS050 and more than two seconds adrift for the #6 car.</p> <p>Rebellion lead ByKolles in seventh and eighth to complete the LMP1 field.</p> <p>LMP2 saw local hero&nbsp;Ricardo Gonzalez score pole for the&nbsp;RGR Sport by Morand outfit, with team-mate Bruno Senna placing the #43 Ligier at the top of the timing screens with a 1m36.283, three-tenths ahead of the&nbsp;#36 Signatech Alpine, which caused a red flag when&nbsp;Nicolas Lapierre crashed.</p> <p>Meanwhile Aston Martin led both the Pro and Am&nbsp;GT classes. The #95 car of Marco Sorenson and Nicki Thiim pipped the #97 of Richie Stanaway and Darren Turner by 0.142s.</p> <p>Ferrari were third with the #51 entry of&nbsp;Gianmaria Bruni and James Calado.</p> <p>Pedro Lamy and Paul Dalla Lana took pole in the Am class for Aston ahead of the Proton and Gulf Porsches.</p> forces Benoit Treluyer to miss FIA WEC 6 Hours of Mexico CityFri, 02 Sep 2016 18:03:56 GMT<p><strong>Audi has confirmed that Benoit Treluyer will miss this weekend&#39;s FIA World Endurance Championship round at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City through injury.</strong></p> <p>Treluyer was forced to miss the last race at the Nurburgring after suffering a minor spinal injury while training, but aimed to be fit to race for the WEC&#39;s first visit to Mexico.</p> <p>Treluyer took part in practice on Friday and said it was a &quot;good opportunity to get used to the car again&quot;, but will be rested for the remainder of the weekend.</p> <p>&quot;In the race, Benoit needs to be absolutely fit,&quot; Audi head of motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich said.</p> <p>&quot;In agreement with our team physician, we have decided to give Ben more time to recover and to build up his fitness again in order to be one hundred percent fit for the 6-hour race in Austin in two weeks&rsquo; time.&quot;</p> <p>Just as it was at the Nurburgring, the no. 7 Audi R18 will be shared by Marcel Fassler and Andre Lotterer for qualifying and the race on Saturday.</p> <p>Treluyer&#39;s withdrawal follows that of Toyota LMP1 driver Anthony Davidson, who is also being rested after sustaining an injury while testing last month.</p> Davidson to miss WEC 6 Hours of Mexico City through injuryThu, 01 Sep 2016 20:32:25 GMT<p><strong>Anthony Davidson will miss this weekend&#39;s FIA World Endurance Championship round in Mexico City due to a&nbsp;rib injury sustained while testing.</strong></p> <p>Davidson suffered a high-speed crash while testing for Toyota at Magny-Cours last month, bruising a rib that was expected to have healed sufficiently for him to race at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez.</p> <p>However, after taking part in the first test session on Thursday morning, Davidson and Toyota made a joint decision to withdraw from the remainder of the weekend.</p> <p>&quot;The&nbsp;decision was taken to ensure he is fully recovered in time for the 6 Hours of Circuit of the Americas on 17 September. High temperatures in Austin make it essential for each car to have its full complement of three drivers,&quot; a statement from Toyota reads.</p> <p>&quot;Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima will share the #5 TS050 Hybrid for the remainder of the Mexico event.&quot;</p> <p>&quot;It is disappointing to come all the way here and then not be able to race but it&rsquo;s the right decision,&quot; Davidson said.</p> <p>&quot;I wasn&rsquo;t comfortable in the car this morning and there is no point to take any risks, especially with Austin coming up. It&rsquo;s not a problem to race here with two drivers but it would be impossible in Austin due to the high temperatures.</p> <p>&quot;So I&rsquo;ll be a frustrated spectator for the rest of the week but I know Seb and Kazuki will do a good job.&quot;</p> Around the world with Porsche's WEC teamWed, 31 Aug 2016 17:29:05 GMT<p>Fresh from their season-defining victory at this year&rsquo;s 24 Hours of Le Mans, Porsche&rsquo;s Neel Jani, Marc Lieb and Romain Dumas now have their sights on success away from Europe. As the World Endurance Championship heads to the Americas, Mobil 1 The Grid spoke to the drivers about life on the road and the prospect of what will be a maiden series outing at the revamped Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico.</p> confirms one-car entry for 6 Hours of MexicoMon, 22 Aug 2016 20:08:06 GMT<p><strong>The Manor WEC team has confirmed that it will field just one car at the FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Mexico.</strong></p> <p>The No.44 LMP2 car will be the sole ORECA-Nissan 05 at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez, standing down the No.45 for the race.</p> <p>Matt Rao and Richard Bradley will share the only Manor WEC car in Mexico with Alfonso &#39;Picho&#39; Toledano Jr.</p> <p>The Mexican has previously raced in Formula Renault and Formula BMW, more recently competing in the Formula Accelleration 1 series.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s expected his WEC drive is just for one race, but with two seats available at Manor when it returns to a two-car outfit following the departures of Will Stevens and James Jakes, he could return.</p> <p>&ldquo;I am extremely happy to be joining Manor for my home race. I&#39;ve been working on this project for almost one year and I am very excited to have the opportunity to make my WEC debut with Manor, a team that has made a great start to their first season in sports cars,&rdquo; Toledano said.</p> <p>&ldquo;It will be the biggest challenge in my career so far but with the support of the team, I am confident it will be a positive debut. I&#39;m really looking forward to racing with Manor in my home race and hopefully in more races.&rdquo;</p> Racing withdraws No. 12 car as it chooses to focus on 2017Fri, 05 Aug 2016 14:05:59 GMT<p><strong>Rebellion Racing has confirmed it will drop one car from its line-up for the remainder of the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship, leaving it with a single entry as it focuses&nbsp;on its preparations for the 2017 season.</strong></p> <p>The Swiss team will withdraw the #12 R-One&nbsp;entry driven by&nbsp;Nicolas Prost,&nbsp;Nick Heidfeld and&nbsp;Nelson Piquet Jr (replaced by&nbsp;Mathias Beche at the Nurburgring), instead opting to keep the line-up of&nbsp;Dominik Kraihamer, Alexandre Imperatori and Matheo Tuscher in the #13 car which currently heads the LMP1 privateer&nbsp;standings.</p> <p>Team manager Bart Hayden says the move is necessary to ensure Rebellion can invest the required resources into updating its car for the 2017 season with the FIA recently confirming new technical regulations to make the series more attractive to new privateer entrants.</p> <p>&quot;The level of competition in LMP1 is being taken to ever greater heights by the manufacturer entrants, so to improve our own competitiveness in the category, we feel the need to invest more time and resources into updating the Rebellion R-One cars ready for the 2017 season,&quot; said Hayden.</p> <p>&quot;As a small private team with limited resources, we have decided to focus on racing one car rather than two in the remaining FIA WEC events and this will allow us to put more effort into updating the cars for 2017.&nbsp;</p> <p>&quot;Earlier this year at Le Mans, the FIA and the ACO announced some changes to the regulations for privateer LMP1 cars for 2017 and we need to take those changes and make them into reality to put us in a more competitive position going forward.&quot;</p> <p>He added: &quot;Splitting our focus between running one car in the remaining races and on updating the cars for next year will mean that we can continue to be a part of the World Endurance Championship whilst at the same time making sure that we are as competitive as possible next year.</p> <p>&quot;We have decided to continue racing with the Rebellion R-One number 13 as that car is closer in the LMP1 Privateer Teams championship points standings to our rivals at ByKolles and it makes the fight for the championship a bigger challenge.&quot;</p> <p>The withdrawal of the #12 entry leaves the privateer LMP1 class with just two cars, the second of which is the&nbsp;#4 ByKolles entry.</p> V8 3.5 joins WEC support bill for 2017 seasonThu, 28 Jul 2016 19:14:07 GMT<p><strong>The FIA World Endurance Championship has confirmed that Formula V8 3.5 will join its support bill for the 2017 season.</strong></p> <p>FV8 3.5 will become a feeder series for the endurance championship, supporting six WEC rounds next year.</p> <p>The single-seater series will help young talent move up to the WEC&rsquo;s LMP1, LMP2 and GTE classes, with the top three in the championship being awarded a spot on the WEC&rsquo;s Rookie Test in Bahrain.</p> <p>FV8 3.5 is experiencing a transitional season following the withdrawal of backing from Renault Sport at the end of 2015.</p> <p>It will join the WEC for events in Japan, Bahrain, Mexico, as well as European rounds at Silverstone, Spa and the Nurburgring.</p> <p>Jaime Alguersuari, RPM President: &ldquo;Today, I am pleased to announce that this agreement with the FIA World Endurance Championship is the most exciting project of my professional career,&rdquo; said Jamie Alguersuari, RPM president.</p> <p>&ldquo;Cost control has always been one of my biggest concerns in order to help the drivers, their families and sponsors.&nbsp; I have been always concerned with the development of the drivers&rsquo; career as well.</p> <p>&ldquo;The new series, linked to the FIA WEC, is a historic challenge because a single-seater championship of this level has never before offered such a wide international calendar at an affordable budget.</p> <p>G&eacute;rard Neveu, FIA WEC CEO, added: &ldquo;It is very good news that the V8 3.5 series will join the FIA WEC race meetings from 2017.</p> <p>&ldquo;Great news for the fans, but also for the young drivers who are the champions of the future, and the future is tomorrow.</p> <p>&ldquo;It make sense to offer to the new generation of drivers access to a well-established championship such as the FIA WEC.</p> <p>&ldquo;The fact that the champions will have an opportunity to take part in the WEC&rsquo;s official rookie test at the end of the season will be additional motivation and a target for everyone on the grid.&rdquo;</p> 6 Hours of Nurburgring race highlightsTue, 26 Jul 2016 19:59:22 GMT<p><strong>Race highlights of last weekend&#39;s 6 Hours of Nurburgring FIA World Endurance Championship round, which was won by the No.1 Porsche 919 Hybrid of Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard. </strong></p> beats Audi to 6 Hours of Nurburgring victorySun, 24 Jul 2016 18:53:24 GMT<p><strong>Mark Webber, Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley claimed their first victory of the 2016 season at the 6 Hours of Nurburgring driving their No.1 Porsche 919 Hybrid.</strong></p> <p>The FIA World Endurance Championships&rsquo; visit to the German track marked the fourth round of the year. Reigning WEC champions Webber, Bernhard and Hartley finished nearly one minute clear of their nearest rivals.</p> <p>Porsche and Audi looked closely matched throughout the race, with some intense battles between the 919 and R18 e-tron quattro cars at the Nurburgring.</p> <p>The two Audi machines featured at the very front of the field, before Porsche took a more controlled grip on the race after the half-way mark.</p> <p>The No.2 Porsche of Neel Jani, Marc Live and Romain Dumas led the way until early in the fifth hour when Lieb hit a backmarker and was forced to pit for a new nose, as well as picking up a drive-through penalty.</p> <p>Bernhard took over at the front and crossed the line to win the race, with the No.8 Audi of Lucas di Grassi, Oliver Jarvis and Loic Duval in second place. The No.7 R18 e-tron quattro of Andre Lotterer and Marcel Fassler completed the podium.</p> <p>The second Porsche crossed the line fourth after a further tangle late on, with the No.5 and No.6 Toyotas in fifth and sixth respectively. The No.13 Rebellion was seventh and the only LMP1-L entry left running at the finish.</p> <p>The LMP2 class win was taken by the No.36 Signature Alpine of Nicolas Lapierre, Gustavo Menezes and Stephane Richelmi, backing up their Le Mans win.</p> <p>The trio took over the lead after the No.26 G-Drive entry hit a gearbox problem in the third hour. The No.42 RGR Sport entry of Bruno Senna, Filipe Albuquerque and Ricardo Gonzalez finished second, with the No.31 ESM car of Pipo Derani, Chris Cumming and Ryan Dalziel in third.</p> <p>The GTE Pro win went to Gianmaria Bruni and James Calado in the No.51 Ferrari, with the No.71 car of Sam Bird and Davide Rigon in second.</p> <p>The GTE Am class was won by the No.98 Aston Martin of Pedro Lamy, Mathias Lauda and Paul Dalla Lana.</p>