Motorsport Week - WEC News Catch up on all WEC news, here at Motorsport Week RSS Feed! 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> locks out front row for 6 Hours of NurburgringSat, 23 Jul 2016 17:06:59 GMT<p><strong>Audi made the most of a drying track to take its second pole position of the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship season during qualifying for the 6 Hours of N&uuml;rburgring on Saturday.</strong></p> <p>Racing without injured teammate Benoit Treluyer this weekend,&nbsp;Andre Lotterer and Marcel Fassler teamed up to take pole by two-tenths of a second in the no. 7 Audi R18.</p> <p>Lucas di Grassi posted the fastest time of qualifying in the sister no. 8 car, but a slow time from partner Oliver Jarvis on his first run meant they had to settle for second place on the grid at Audi&#39;s home race.</p> <p>&quot;I&nbsp;had no traffic and managed a sensational lap,&rdquo; Lotterer said after scoring pole.&nbsp;&ldquo;Staying out for three laps was the right choice because we became faster and faster.&rdquo;</p> <p>&quot;We were instantly very fast today,&quot; Fassler added.&nbsp;&quot;A thank you goes to our new engineer Erik Schuivens.</p> <p>&quot;It&rsquo;s a shame that our teammate Benoit Treluyer can&rsquo;t be with us today. We&rsquo;re in close contact with him and he&rsquo;s sharing the thrill with us.&rdquo;</p> <p>Porsche entered qualifying hopeful of picking up a third pole of the year, only to fade to third and fourth on the grid. 2015 N&uuml;rburgring winners Mark Webber and Timo Bernhard edged out Marc Lieb and Neel Jani in the sister 919 Hybrid to secure P3 for the start on Sunday. Toyota struggled to match the pace of the German marques, finishing over one second off the pole time in fifth and sixth.</p> <p>G-Drive Racing continued its 100% pole record in 2016 by topping the timesheets in LMP2 thanks to a stunning final effort from Rene Rast, who lapped almost a second quicker than any other driver in class. The no. 26 Oreca will line up on pole ahead of the no. 36 Signatech Alpine squad, who finished seven-tenths of a second further back in second.</p> <p>Aston Martin Racing scored its first pole of the season in GTE Pro as Nicki Thiim and Marco S&oslash;rensen&#39;s average saw them finish two-tenths of a second clear of the no. 66 Ford GT piloted by Stefan M&uuml;cke and Olivier Pla. The second AMR entry driven by Richie Stanaway and Darren Turner&nbsp;followed in P3, while Le Mans pole-sitters Gianmaria Bruni and James Calado finished fourth in the AF Corse Ferrar 488 GTE.</p> <p>Abu Dhabi Proton Racing scored its second pole of the season in GTE Am as Khaled Al&nbsp;Qubaisi and Patrick Long took advantage of a rapidly drying track to beat fellow Porsche 911 RSR runner KCMG by two-tenths of a second. The no. 98 Aston Martin Vantage V8 followed in third place, 0.361 seconds off class pole.</p> <p>The FIA WEC 6 Hours of N&uuml;rburgring kicks off at 1pm local time in Germany (12pm BST).</p> Jakes replaced by Matt Howson at Manor LMP2 for NurburgringFri, 22 Jul 2016 12:24:45 GMT<p><strong>Matt Howson will replace James Jakes at Manor for the Nurburgring round of the World Endurance Championship.</strong></p> <p>Howson will join Tor Graves and Antonio Pizzonia in&nbsp;the Manor LMP2 #44 Oreca 05-Nissan this weekend as part of a revised driver line-up which has also seen Will Stevens lose his seat.</p> <p>Manor have yet to confirm if Howson will remain in the car after the Nurburgring, or whether Jakes will return.</p> <p>The 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours LMP2 class winner made his racing debut with Manor in Formula Renault back in 2001 and is excited&nbsp;to be racing with the marque&nbsp;once again.</p> <p>&quot;It is really nice to be back with the team and I am really thankful to Graeme [Lowdon]&nbsp;and John [Booth],&quot;&nbsp;said Howson. &quot;I only got notified to be here a few days ago but I am ready to go. The team have shown already that they are bang on the pace and can challenge for podiums.</p> <p>&quot;I am just about to have my seat fitting in the car and in some respects I will be &lsquo;plug-in and play&rsquo; because I obviously know the ORECA LMP2 car well from my races with KCMG.</p> <p>&quot;Last season here we had a really good race and won it, but this season of course there are many more ORECAS out there and I think it will be much tougher, but I am really looking forward to working with the Manor team.&quot;</p> <p>Both Howson and Pizzonia&nbsp;will get their first run in the car on Friday&nbsp;afternoon in the first practice.</p> keen to forget Le Mans heartache at the NurburgringMon, 18 Jul 2016 12:52:13 GMT<p><b>Toyota has set its sights on forgetting&nbsp;the heartache of its agonising defeat in the 24 Hours of Le Mans by bouncing back in this weekend&#39;s FIA World Endurance Championship round at the Nurburgring.</b></p> <p>Toyota&#39;s #5 car came within 10 minutes of winning the marque&#39;s first overall title at Le Mans before a turbo failure allowed Porsche to snatch victory on the final lap.</p> <p>This weekend&#39;s race at the Nurburgring acts as Toyota&#39;s first home race of the season, the track being just an hour away from its European base in Cologne.</p> <p>The team will take a revised aerokit for its TS050 Hybrid to the Nurburgring, opting for a high-downforce package to reflect the tight and short nature of the track.</p> <p>&quot;After putting the heartache of Le Mans behind me, I am definitely more fired up than ever to get back behind the wheel of our TS050 Hybrid,&quot; Anthony Davidson of the #5 car said.</p> <p>&quot;The Nurburgring is a circuit I really enjoy and hopefully the car will be as competitive as it was in the last two races. It would also be a nice boost for the team to be able to win so close to home.</p> <p>&quot;Having so many colleagues from Cologne visiting us at the track makes this a really special race for us. The great atmosphere and team spirit makes me even more eager to go racing this weekend.&quot;</p> <p>Davidson&#39;s teammate Sebastien Buemi arrives in Germany off the back of his Formula E title victory in London two weeks ago, and believes getting back behind the wheel for&nbsp;Toyota will help to ease some of the Le Mans heartache.</p> <p>&quot;I&rsquo;m very much looking forward to the Nurburgring; it&rsquo;s good that it is pretty close to Le Mans and we can go back racing,&quot; Buemi said.</p> <p>&quot;I think we will be able to fight again for the win. We need to look positively on the first part of the season. Out of the three races we were leading two of those until very late so I&rsquo;m very confident that we will have a good performance level at Nurburgring as well.</p> <p>&quot;We all know how hard Le Mans was but this is behind us and it&rsquo;s time to look to the rest of the season. We definitely want to win our first race of the year.&quot;</p> Treluyer ruled out of Nurburgring WEC race through injurySun, 10 Jul 2016 21:42:31 GMT<p><strong>Benoit Treluyer will miss the upcoming FIA World Endurance Championship round at the Nurburgring in Germany through injury.</strong></p> <p>Treluyer has raced in the WEC since its formation&nbsp;alongside Audi teammates Andre Lotterer and Marcel Fassler, winning the first title in 2012 and claiming three victories at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.</p> <p>However, the Frenchman will not be part of the #7 Audi R18 line-up for the 6 Hours of Nurburgring after suffering an injury&nbsp;while training on a mountain bike following last month&#39;s race at Le Mans.</p> <p>&quot;While training on his mountain bike three-time Le Mans winner Beno&icirc;t Tr&eacute;luyer fell and injured his spinal column,&rdquo; a statement from Audi read.</p> <p>&ldquo;The injury will heal without surgical intervention and have no further consequences. As the recovery period will be several weeks, the 39-year-old Frenchman has to skip round four of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC).</p> <p>&ldquo;As a result, his teammates, Marcel F&auml;ssler and Andr&eacute; Lotterer, will be contesting the race at the N&uuml;rburgring on July 24 as a team of two in the number 7&nbsp;Audi R18.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;On behalf of Audi Sport, I wish Beno&icirc;t a speedy and full recovery so that he&rsquo;ll be ready to race again in the subsequent event in Mexico,&rdquo; head of Audi motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich added.</p> Martin Racing makes changes to WEC GTE-Pro driver line-upFri, 08 Jul 2016 16:24:10 GMT<p><strong>Aston Martin Racing has announced a number of changes to its driver line-up for the remainder of the FIA World Endurance Championship season.</strong></p> <p>The rearrangement of its GTE-Pro line-ups will come into force from the next round of the series at the Nurburgring.</p> <p>Darren Turner will move over to join Richie Stanaway at the No.97 Aston Martin entry, while the Danish pairing of Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen will remain at the wheel of the No.95 car.</p> <p>Aston Martin is switching from a three to a two-driver line-up after the Le Mans 24 Hours, like several other GTE-Pro teams.</p> <p>Jonny Adam and Fernando Rees raced with Stanaway in the No.97 and are not scheduled to take part in any more WEC rounds, but they do remain with the team.</p> <p>&quot;With the second half of the season due to begin, we have had to consider what is best for the team,&rdquo; said team boss Paul Howarth.</p> <p>&ldquo;With a focused driver line-up, this should help give us the best possible chance of success this year. I hope that Nicki, Marco, Darren and Richie will continue to push hard and keep us at the top of the GT manufacturers table.</p> <p>&quot;I&#39;d like to thank Fernando and Jonny for their efforts this year, particularly on their sterling job at Le Mans.</p> <p>&ldquo;They have each put in fantastic performances and we look forward to continuing to work with them in our wider Aston Martin Racing activities.&rdquo;</p> Tincknell to remain at Ford for remainder of WEC seasonFri, 08 Jul 2016 16:07:26 GMT<p><strong>Ford has confirmed that Harry Tincknell will remain with the Chip Ganassi Racing team for the remainder of the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship season.</strong></p> <p>Initially it was announced that the British driver would partner Marino Franchitti and Andy Priaulx at the No.67 Ford GT car for the first three races of the year.</p> <p>However, he has secured a deal to remain with the team for the remaining six rounds of the FIA WEC season.</p> <p>The No.67 car finished second in GTE-Pro at Spa earlier this year in the FIA WEC but suffered a difficult 24 Hours of Le Mans.</p> <p>Tincknell, who is still under contract with Nissan, will also continue to race in the European Le Mans Series with G-Drive Racing.</p> <p>&ldquo;Since I moved across from single-seaters to endurance racing in 2014, it&rsquo;s always been my ambition to compete full time in the WEC,&rdquo; he said.</p> <p>&ldquo;Additionally, it&rsquo;s incredible that my first full WEC season will have been with the factory Ford team.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m already looking forward to getting back onto the GTE-Pro podium after what was a historic Le Mans victory for Ford but a tough 24 Hour race for our No. 67 Ford GT.&rdquo;</p> Williamson joins Strakka for FIA WEC 6 Hours of NurburgringTue, 05 Jul 2016 12:18:53 GMT<p><strong>Lewis Williamson will make his sportscar racing debut with Strakka Racing at the FIA WEC 6 Hours of Nurburgring later this month.</strong></p> <p>Williamson, 26, currently races with Strakka in the Renault Sport Trophy Championship, having spent much of his junior career in single-seater championships including GP3 and Formula Renault 3.5.</p> <p>Strakka confirmed on Tuesday that Williamson would be joining its line-up for the next WEC race, racing alongside Jonny Kane and Nick Leventis in the team&#39;s LMP2 Gibson 015S at the Nurburgring on July 24.</p> <p>&quot;No doubt, this is an immense opportunity for me. Strakka has given me a chance very few drivers get and I intend to make the very most of it,&quot; Williamson said.</p> <p>&quot;I&rsquo;ve done well in the past at the Nurburgring,&nbsp;picking up a second in GP3 and the Gibson was the fastest car on last year&rsquo;s test day so I reckon we should in the mix.</p> <p>&quot;The weather always plays its part at the N&uuml;rburgring and whilst it was hot last year, I know it could also be foggy and raining. You just don&rsquo;t know.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;We are in the process of evaluating all our options for 2017; our race programme, drivers, the lot,&rdquo; team principal Dan Walmsley added.</p> <p>&ldquo;We felt we could use this weekend to put Lewis in a race weekend and gauge his performance against one of the most competitive LMP2 fields we have witnessed in sportscar racing in recent times.</p> <p>&quot;His pace in the R.S.01, his approach in the simulator and his efforts at the factory are worthy of an outing in WEC and we want to see how he performs.&quot;</p> Brundle confirmed at G-Drive for remainder of 2016 WEC seasonThu, 30 Jun 2016 15:20:56 GMT<p><strong>British driver Alex Brundle has been confirmed at G-Drive Racing in LMP1 for the remainder of the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship season.</strong></p> <p>Nathanael Berthon parted ways with the team ahead of this year&rsquo;s Le Mans 24 Hours, with former Formula 1 driver Will Stevens taking his place.</p> <p>However, with Stevens having a full-time drive with Manor, a seat has become available on the No.26 car.</p> <p>Brundle has been announced as car&rsquo;s third driver, joining Roman Rusinov and Rene Rast for the next WEC round at the Nurburgring.</p> <p>He will race with the Jota Sport-run outfit in the WEC alongside his European Le Mans Series commitments in LMP3 with United Autosport.</p> <p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m delighted to be driving for G-Drive Racing in the final six races of the FIA WEC, especially with the incredibly strong package that the team has put together for this season,&rdquo; he said.</p> <p>&ldquo;The Nurburgring event can&rsquo;t come soon enough and it&rsquo;s fantastic to be re-joining this global series, representing my long term sponsors Richard Mille.</p> <p>&ldquo;It will be a real privilege to work with the team, who have proven it to be one of the best endurance outfits worldwide.</p> <p>&ldquo;With the massive experience of Rene and the pace of Roman I think we will make a potent combination, to deliver strong results for the remainder of the season.&rdquo;</p> confirms cause of 24 Hours of Le Mans failureThu, 23 Jun 2016 16:06:28 GMT<p><strong>Toyota have confirmed the cause of the failure which cost the Japanese manufacturer its first 24 Hours of Le Mans victory on the final lap of the race, handing the victory to Porsche.</strong></p> <p>The #5 Toyota TS050 Hybrid was just minutes away from claiming victory before driver Kazuki Nakajima reported a loss of power as he rounded the final few corners of the penultimate lap, with a one minute lead over the #2 Porsche 919.</p> <p>Nakajima came to a halt on the start/finish straight, allowing the Porsche to pass for the lead. The Japanese driver finally got going again, but wasn&#39;t classified despite completing the same number of laps as the leader, as he failed to finish within 50 per cent of the leader&#39;s lap time.</p> <p>The cause remained a mystery until Toyota were able to return the car to their factory and analyse it further, with&nbsp;Toyota finally confirming on Thursday&nbsp;that the cause was a &quot;defective air line between the turbo charger and intercooler&quot;.</p> <p>&quot;Car #5 suffered a technical defect on a connector on the air line between the turbo charger and the intercooler, causing a loss of turbo charger control.</p> <p>&quot;The team attempted to modify the control settings to restore power and this was eventually achieved, allowing the car to complete the final lap.&nbsp;However, it was achieved too late to complete that lap within the required six minutes.</p> <p>&quot;Currently it is not clear exactly why this failure occurred as we have verified the process used to produce the part here in Cologne. Further analysis is required to determine the root cause.&nbsp;It is clear that the issue has no link whatsoever to the engine issues experienced at Spa earlier this season.</p> <p>&quot;Comprehensive investigations are underway at TMG to determine the precise reason for this issue with the aim of establishing countermeasures to avoid any repeat in the future.&quot;</p> will return to Le Mans 'stronger and more determined to win'Tue, 21 Jun 2016 17:17:32 GMT<p><strong>Toyota Gazoo Racing&rsquo;s team president Toshio Sato says the Japanese outfit will return to Le Mans &ldquo;stronger and more determined to win&rdquo; after missing out on this year&rsquo;s victory.</strong></p> <p>The No.5 car looked set to take a clear victory but Anthony Davidson, S&eacute;bastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima missed out on the final lap after a late reliability problem.</p> <p>Nakajima was at the wheel when the car suffered a loss of power. He stopped on the main straight with one lap to go and was overtaken by the No.2 Porsche, which went on to win.</p> <p>The car was able to get back going and cross the finish line but the final lap of the Circuit de la Sarthe was too slow for the No.5 to be classified.</p> <p>&ldquo;I am incredibly proud of our team effort, not just today but since Le Mans last year,&rdquo; Sato said. &ldquo;Thank you to the team in Higashi-Fuji and Cologne, as well as our partners Oreca.</p> <p>&ldquo;The way we have responded to the pain of our 2015 disappointment, by developing an all-new chassis and powertrain in a short timeframe, has been impressive and the performance of the TS050 HYBRID was strong.</p> <p>&ldquo;We worked as one team and took part in an amazing Le Mans 24 Hours. Congratulations to Porsche on its victory. I have no words to describe our emotions.</p> <p>&ldquo;It is simply heartbreaking but we will return stronger and more determined to win.&rdquo;</p> 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans - Race highlightsMon, 20 Jun 2016 17:55:40 GMT<p><strong>Catch up on the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans with race hightlights from the dramatic endurance race which went down to the very wire!</strong></p> engine failure hands Porsche dramatic 24 Hours of Le Mans victory in closing minutesSun, 19 Jun 2016 14:19:24 GMT<p><strong>Porsche took a dramatic victory in the 84th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with the lead changing just three minutes from the end when the leading Toyota suffered a loss of power.</strong></p> <p>The #2 Porsche Team 919, driven by Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb, crossed the line after 24 hours to take back-to-back victories for Porsche, having been locked in a race long battle with the Toyota&rsquo;s.</p> <p>However in the closing hours of the race, the #5 Toyota Gazoo TS050 driven by Anthony Davidson, Sebastien Buemi and Kabuki Nakajima, emerged as the lead car with a healthy lead, particularly as the #2 Porsche was forced to make a late stop.</p> <p>But with five minutes remaining, the unthinkable happened as Nakajima reported a loss of power for the lead car, before eventually coming to a halt on the start/finish straight, handing the victory to Porsche - its 18th overall win.</p> <p>The #5 Toyota managed to get going again before stopping a little further down the road. Therefore failing to be classified and handing second to the&nbsp;sister car driven by Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Stephane Sarrazin.</p> <p>Audi suffered a nightmare of a race, but secured a podium finish&nbsp;as the #8 R18 finished third followed by the #7 sister car in fourth.</p> <p>The former suffered a suspension failure which forced a 40-minute stoppage as it was replaced in the 21st hour of the race.</p> <p>The second Porsche, driven by defending champions Mark Webber, Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley spent a long time in the garage for a coolant leak, and was unable to regain the lost time on track.</p> <p><strong>LMP2</strong></p> <p>Victory in the LMP2 class went to the&nbsp;#36 Signatech Alpine 460 driven by Nicolas Lapierre and Le Mans rookies Gustavo Menezes and Stephane Richelmi.</p> <p>The all-French team took the lead during the night when the&nbsp;#46 Thiriet by TDS Racing Oreca crashed out, whilst the&nbsp;#26 G-Drive Oreca was second, more than two minutes adrift. The&nbsp;#37 BR01 of Vitaly Petrov, Viktor Shaitar and Kirill Ladygin was third.</p> <p><strong>GTE Pro</strong></p> <p>Ford&#39;s comeback to Le Mans saw it take victory with the&nbsp;#68 Chip Ganassi Team USA entry of Dirk Muller, Joey Hand and Sebastien Bourdais, with the sister #69 entry of Ryan Briscoe, Richard Westbrook and Scott Dixon taking third.</p> <p>The Ford GTs were split by the #82&nbsp;Ferrari car&nbsp;of Giancarlo Fisichella, Toni Vilander and Matteo Malucelli.</p> <p><b>Retirements</b></p> <p>The first retirement came after just five hours when the LM GTE Am #89 Proton Competition Porsche 911 hit oil put down by the #91 Porsche Motorsport 911, causing Marc Miller to lose control and spin off into the wall.</p> <p>The #89 had a tough race ahead as only Miller and Cooper MacNeil qualified for the race, meaning each would have to driver 12 hours apiece after Leh Keen failed to complete the mandatory five night time practice laps.</p> <p>The #91 would also eventually retire as a result of the coolant leak, which was caused by a rock which punctured the radiator.</p> <p>The second retirement came in the LMP2 field as the #47 KMCG Oreca 05 suffered an electrical issue.</p> <p>Porsche Motorsport saw a second retirement hours later when the #92 sister car suffered a front-right suspension failure, leaving no factory Porsche&rsquo;s remaining in the race.</p> <p>As the second half of the race approached, it was Ferrari&rsquo;s turn to suffer. The LM GTE Pro #51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE exited the race with an overheating engine and was shortly followed by the #71 Corse Ferrari 488 GTE when a wheel rim failed with Davide Rigon behind the wheel.</p> <p>The #4 ByKolles CLM P1/01 had a fiery exit at 7am which saw the car retire on the sport - the first LMP1 car to retire.</p> <p>With the #12 Rebellion Racing entry joining ByKolles on the sidelines, it left just one privateer LMP1 car in the race.</p> <p>The #64 Corvette Racing C7.R (LM GTE Pro) retired when it hit the tyre wall at speed when Tommy Milner lost control heading into Turn 1. Milner escaped unharmed.</p> <p>Driver Nelson Panciatici, driving the #35 Baxi DC Alpine A460 (LMP2) also hit the barrier, but protested when the marshals went to remove his car from the circuit, believing he could rejoin. The damage was however race ending.</p> <p>Whilst fighting for the LMP2 lead, Pierre Thiriet went off in the #46 Thiriet Racing Oreca 05, ending his race.</p> <p>With the race heading into the final hours, the drama didn&rsquo;t stop as an unusual incident saw the #44 Manor Oreca retire from the LMP2-class. A bodywork failure caused the nose to snap, which became stuck under the front wheels sending the car straight into the barriers.</p> of Performance changes made in GTE Pro ahead of Le MansFri, 17 Jun 2016 14:44:38 GMT<p><strong>The Endurance Committee has made changes to the Balance of Performance (BoP) rules in the GTE Pro class ahead of this weekend&rsquo;s Le Mans 24 Hours.</strong></p> <p>The No.68 Ford GT will start from pole position in GTE Pro after setting the pace following <a href="">two qualifying sessions</a> at the Circuit de la Sarthe.</p> <p>&nbsp;A meeting of the ACO, the FIA and members of the GTE Pro manufacturers took place on Friday, resulting in several modifications being introduced.</p> <p>Ferrari and Ford have been pegged back, with 25kg and 5kg increases in the base weights of the cars respectively.</p> <p>Meanwhile Aston Martin and Corvette have received 0.4mm and 0.3mm reductions to their engine restrictor diameters.</p> <p>Ford has been hit by a boost decrease, while the fuel volume has been changed. Porsche, Corvette and Ferrari have had increases of eight litres, seven litres and four litres.</p> locks out front row in 24 Hours of Le Mans qualifying after Thursday washoutThu, 16 Jun 2016 23:02:37 GMT<p><strong>The no. 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid of Neel Jani, Romain Dumas and Marc Lieb will lead the field away for the 24 Hours of Le Mans on Saturday afternoon after securing pole position following the conclusion of qualifying.</strong></p> <p>Jani, Dumas and Lieb paced the field during the first qualifying session on Wednesday night, finishing half a second clear of the sister no. 1 Porsche at the head of the timesheets.</p> <p>Light rain during Q2 on Thursday evening meant that only teams that had not completed a clean run on Wednesday were able to improve their times before the final session was affected by even worse conditions.</p> <p>A handful of cars ventured out onto the track early on, but returned to the pits after 20 minutes when the session was red flagged due to the downpour.</p> <p>A course car was sent out to gauge the conditions 10 minutes later, only to nearly spin through the esses in the first sector of the Circuit de la Sarthe.</p> <p>The session resumed after almost an hour under the red flag once the rain had eased, allowing drivers who still had to complete their required night-time driving allocation to get out on track.</p> <p>As a result, Porsche will lead the field away with both its cars on the front row of the grid, giving itself the best position from which to defend its Le Mans crown from 2015.</p> <p>Jani&#39;s lap of 3:19.733 was enough to give the no. 2 Porsche pole position, with Timo Bernhard&#39;s best effort giving the no. 1 car second place for the start of the race on Saturday.</p> <p>Toyota edged out Audi in the battle to be best of the rest, with the no. 6 TS050 Hybrid finished a second down on the pole-sitting Porsche in third place. The sister no. 5 car will start fourth ahead of the no. 7 and no. 8 Audi R18s in P5 and P6 respectively.</p> <p>In LMP2, G-Drive Racing secured pole position with its no. 26 Oreca Nissan driver by&nbsp;Roman Rusinov, Will Stevens and Rene Rast. Rast set the quickest time of the session on Wednesday, a lap of 3:36.605 securing class pole by half a second from the no. 35 Baxi DC Racing Alpine entry and the no. 36 Signatech Alpine car in second and third respectively.</p> <p>Amid an ongoing debate over the Balance of Performance penalties applied in the GTE Pro class to balance out the field, Ford Chip Ganassi Racing locked out four of the top five positions in its class ahead of its Le Mans comeback on Saturday. The two IMSA entries headed the class timesheets, the no. 68 Ford GT of Joey Hand, Dirk Muller and Sebastien Bourdais leading the no. 69 car.</p> <p>AF Corse split up Ford&#39;s dominance in GTE Pro, qualifying its F488 GTE in third place ahead of the no. 67 and no. 66 Ford entries. Both Aston Martin and Porsche failed to get anywhere near the pace of the class leaders, finishing roughly four seconds away from the top time.</p> <p>In GTE Am, Clearwater Racing picked up class pole with its no. 61 Ferrari 458 Italia, finishing three-tenths of a second clear of the no. 98 Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage in second place. The no. 88 Abu Dhabi Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR qualified third ahead of&nbsp;AF Corse in&nbsp;fourth and fifth respectively.</p> <p>The 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans begins at 3pm local time (2pm BST) on Saturday.</p> <table> <tbody> <tr> <td>Pos.</td> <td>#</td> <td>Drivers</td> <td>Car</td> <td>Class</td> <td>Time</td> <td>Gap</td> </tr> <tr> <td>1</td> <td>2</td> <td><span class="name">Romain Dumas</span><br /> <span class="name">Neel Jani</span><br /> <span class="name">Marc Lieb</span></td> <td>Porsche 919 Hybrid</td> <td>LMP1</td> <td>3:19.733</td> <td>&nbsp;</td> </tr> <tr> <td>2</td> <td>1</td> <td><span class="name">Mark Webber</span><br /> <span class="name">Timo Bernhard</span><br /> <span class="name">Brendon Hartley</span></td> <td>Porsche 919 Hybrid</td> <td>LMP1</td> <td>3:20.203</td> <td>0.470</td> </tr> <tr> <td>3</td> <td>6</td> <td><span class="name">St&eacute;phane Sarrazin</span><br /> <span class="name">Kamui Kobayashi</span><br /> <span class="name">Mike Conway</span></td> <td>Toyota TS050 Hybrid</td> <td>LMP1</td> <td>3:20.737</td> <td>1.004</td> </tr> <tr> <td>4</td> <td>5</td> <td><span class="name">Anthony Davidson</span><br /> <span class="name">Kazuki Nakajima</span><br /> <span class="name">S&eacute;bastien Buemi</span></td> <td>Toyota TS050 Hybrid</td> <td>LMP1</td> <td>3:21.903</td> <td>2.170</td> </tr> <tr> <td>5</td> <td>7</td> <td><span class="name">Andre Lotterer</span><br /> <span class="name">Marcel Fassler</span><br /> <span class="name">Benoit Tr&eacute;luyer</span></td> <td>Audi R18</td> <td>LMP1</td> <td>3:22.780</td> <td>3.047</td> </tr> <tr> <td>6</td> <td>8</td> <td><span class="name">Lucas di Grassi</span><br /> <span class="name">Loic Duval</span><br /> <span class="name">Oliver Jarvis</span></td> <td>Audi R18</td> <td>LMP1</td> <td>3:22.823</td> <td>3.090</td> </tr> <tr> <td>7</td> <td>13</td> <td><span class="name">Alexandre Imperatori</span><br /> <span class="name">Dominik Kraihamer</span><br /> <span class="name">Matheo Tuscher</span></td> <td>Rebellion R-One</td> <td>LMP1</td> <td>3:26.586</td> <td>6.853</td> </tr> <tr> <td>8</td> <td>12</td> <td><span class="name">Nick Heidfeld</span><br /> <span class="name">Nelson Piquet Jr.</span><br /> <span class="name">Nicolas Prost</span></td> <td>Rebellion R-One</td> <td>LMP1</td> <td>3:27.348</td> <td>7.615</td> </tr> <tr> <td>9</td> <td>4</td> <td>Oliver Webb<br /> Pierre Kaffer<br /> Simon Trummer</td> <td>CLM P1/01</td> <td>LMP1</td> <td>3:34.168</td> <td>14.435</td> </tr> <tr> <td>10</td> <td>26</td> <td><span class="name">Will Stevens</span><br /> <span class="name">Roman Rusinov</span><br /> <span class="name">Ren&eacute; Rast</span></td> <td>Oreca 05</td> <td>LMP2</td> <td>3:36.605</td> <td>16.872</td> </tr> <tr> <td>11</td> <td>35</td> <td><span class="name">Nelson Panciatici</span><br /> <span class="name">Ho-Pin Tung</span><br /> <span class="name">David Cheng</span></td> <td>Alpine A460</td> <td>LMP2</td> <td>3:37.175</td> <td>17.442</td> </tr> <tr> <td>12</td> <td>36</td> <td><span class="name">Nicolas Lapierre</span><br /> <span class="name">Gustavo Menezes</span><br /> <span class="name">St&eacute;phane Richelmi</span></td> <td>Alpine A460</td> <td>LMP2</td> <td>3:37.225</td> <td>17.492</td> </tr> <tr> <td>13</td> <td>44</td> <td><span class="name">Roberto Merhi</span><br /> <span class="name">Tor Graves</span><br /> <span class="name">Matthew Rao</span></td> <td>Oreca 05</td> <td>LMP2</td> <td>3:38.037</td> <td>18.304</td> </tr> <tr> <td>14</td> <td>49</td> <td><span class="name">Laurens Vanthoor</span><br /> <span class="name">John Pew</span><br /> <span class="name">Oswaldo Negri Jr</span></td> <td>Ligier JS P2</td> <td>LMP2</td> <td>3:38.837</td> <td>19.104</td> </tr> <tr> <td>15</td> <td>31</td> <td><span class="name">Pipo Derani</span><br /> <span class="name">Ryan Dalziel</span><br /> <span class="name">Chris Cumming</span></td> <td>Ligier JS P2</td> <td>LMP2</td> <td>3:39.366</td> <td>19.633</td> </tr> <tr> <td>16</td> <td>46</td> <td><span class="name">Mathias Beche</span><br /> <span class="name">Pierre Thiriet</span><br /> <span class="name">Ryo Hirakawa</span></td> <td>Oreca 05</td> <td>LMP2</td> <td>3:39.375</td> <td>19.642</td> </tr> <tr> <td>17</td> <td>42</td> <td><span class="name">Nick Leventis</span><br /> <span class="name">Danny Watts</span><br /> <span class="name">Jonny Kane</span></td> <td>Gibson 015S</td> <td>LMP2</td> <td>3:39.394</td> <td>19.661</td> </tr> <tr> <td>18</td> <td>47</td> <td><span class="name">Matthew Howson</span><br /> <span class="name">Richard Bradley</span><br /> <span class="name">Tsugio Matsuda</span></td> <td>Oreca 05</td> <td>LMP2</td> <td>3:39.436</td> <td>19.703</td> </tr> <tr> <td>19</td> <td>23</td> <td><span class="name">Paul-Loup Chatin</span><br /> <span class="name">Fabien Barthez</span><br /> <span class="name">Timoth&eacute; Buret</span></td> <td>Ligier JS P2</td> <td>LMP2</td> <td>3:39.470</td> <td>19.737</td> </tr> <tr> <td>20</td> <td>33</td> <td><span class="name">Tristan Gommendy</span><br /> <span class="name">Pu Junjin</span><br /> <span class="name">Nick de Bruijn</span></td> <td>Oreca 05</td> <td>LMP2</td> <td>3:40.631</td> <td>20.898</td> </tr> <tr> <td>21</td> <td>38</td> <td><span class="name">Giedo van der Garde</span><br /> <span class="name">Simon Dolan</span><br /> <span class="name">Jake Dennis</span></td> <td>Gibson 015S</td> <td>LMP2</td> <td>3:40.685</td> <td>20.952</td> </tr> <tr> <td>22</td> <td>43</td> <td><span class="name">Bruno Senna</span><br /> <span class="name">Ricardo Gonzalez</span><br /> <span class="name">Filipe Albuquerque</span></td> <td>Ligier JS P2</td> <td>LMP2</td> <td>3:40.899</td> <td>21.166</td> </tr> <tr> <td>23</td> <td>27</td> <td><span class="name">Maurizio Mediani</span><br /> <span class="name">Nicolas Minassian</span><br /> <span class="name">Mikhail Aleshin</span></td> <td>BR01</td> <td>LMP2</td> <td>3:41.132</td> <td>21.399</td> </tr> <tr> <td>24</td> <td>28</td> <td><span class="name">Leo Roussel</span><br /> <span class="name">In&egrave;s Taittinger</span><br /> <span class="name">Remy Striebig</span></td> <td>Morgan</td> <td>LMP2</td> <td>3:41.285</td> <td>21.552</td> </tr> <tr> <td>25</td> <td>30</td> <td><span class="name">Scott Sharp</span><br /> <span class="name">Ed Brown</span><br /> <span class="name">Johannes van Overbeek</span></td> <td>Ligier JS P2</td> <td>LMP2</td> <td>3:41.406</td> <td>21.673</td> </tr> <tr> <td>26</td> <td>37</td> <td><span class="name">Vitaly Petrov</span><br /> <span class="name">Viktor Shaytar</span><br /> <span class="name">Kirill Ladygin</span></td> <td>BR01</td> <td>LMP2</td> <td>3:41.776</td> <td>22.043</td> </tr> <tr> <td>27</td> <td>25</td> <td>Michael Munemann<br /> Chris Hoy<br /> Andrea Pizzatola</td> <td>Ligier JS P2</td> <td>LMP2</td> <td>3:42.088</td> <td>22.355</td> </tr> <tr> <td>28</td> <td>41</td> <td>Memo Rojas<br /> Nathanael Berthon<br /> Julien Canal</td> <td>Ligier JS P2</td> <td>LMP2</td> <td>3:42.570</td> <td>22.837</td> </tr> <tr> <td>29</td> <td>48</td> <td><span class="name">Jeroen Bleekemolen</span><br /> <span class="name">Ben Keating</span><br /> <span class="name">Marc Goossens</span></td> <td>Oreca 03R</td> <td>LMP2</td> <td>3:43.508</td> <td>23.775</td> </tr> <tr> <td>30</td> <td>34</td> <td><span class="name">Shinji Nakano</span><br /> <span class="name">Nicolas Leutwiler</span><br /> <span class="name">James Winslow</span></td> <td>Oreca 03R</td> <td>LMP2</td> <td>3:43.590</td> <td>23.857</td> </tr> <tr> <td>31</td> <td>22</td> <td><span class="name">Erik Maris</span><br /> <span class="name">Vincent Capillaire</span><br /> <span class="name">Jonathan Coleman</span></td> <td>Ligier JS P2</td> <td>LMP2</td> <td>3:44.347</td> <td>24.614</td> </tr> <tr> <td>32</td> <td>84</td> <td>Frederic Sausset<br /> Christophe Tinseau<br /> Jean-Bernard Bouvet</td> <td>Morgan</td> <td>CDNT</td> <td>3:45.178</td> <td>25.445</td> </tr> <tr> <td>33</td> <td>40</td> <td><span class="name">Tracy Krohn</span><br /> <span class="name">Nic Jonsson</span><br /> <span class="name">Joao Barbosa</span></td> <td>Ligier JS P2</td> <td>LMP2</td> <td>3:45.213</td> <td>25.480</td> </tr> <tr> <td>34</td> <td>68</td> <td><span class="name">S&eacute;bastien Bourdais</span><br /> <span class="name">Joey Hand</span><br /> <span class="name">Dirk M&uuml;ller</span></td> <td>Ford GT</td> <td>LMGTE PRO</td> <td>3:51.185</td> <td>31.452</td> </tr> <tr> <td>35</td> <td>69</td> <td><span class="name">Ryan Briscoe</span><br /> <span class="name">Scott Dixon</span><br /> <span class="name">Richard Westbrook</span></td> <td>Ford GT</td> <td>LMGTE PRO</td> <td>3:51.497</td> <td>31.764</td> </tr> <tr> <td>36</td> <td>51</td> <td><span class="name">Gianmaria Bruni</span><br /> <span class="name">James Calado</span><br /> <span class="name">Alessandro Pier Guidi</span></td> <td><span data-bubbles="team" data-value="ferrari">Ferrari</span> 488 GTE</td> <td>LMGTE PRO</td> <td>3:51.568</td> <td>31.835</td> </tr> <tr> <td>37</td> <td>67</td> <td><span class="name">Harry Tincknell</span><br /> <span class="name">Andy Priaulx</span><br /> <span class="name">Marino Franchitti</span></td> <td>Ford GT</td> <td>LMGTE PRO</td> <td>3:51.590</td> <td>31.857</td> </tr> <tr> <td>38</td> <td>66</td> <td><span class="name">Stefan M&uuml;cke</span><br /> <span class="name">Olivier Pla</span><br /> <span class="name">Billy Johnson</span></td> <td>Ford GT</td> <td>LMGTE PRO</td> <td>3:52.038</td> <td>32.305</td> </tr> <tr> <td>39</td> <td>71</td> <td><span class="name">Sam Bird</span><br /> <span class="name">Davide Rigon</span><br /> <span class="name">Andrea Bertolini</span></td> <td><span data-bubbles="team" data-value="ferrari">Ferrari</span> 488 GTE</td> <td>LMGTE PRO</td> <td>3:52.508</td> <td>32.775</td> </tr> <tr> <td>40</td> <td>82</td> <td><span class="name">Giancarlo Fisichella</span><br /> <span class="name">Toni Vilander</span><br /> <span class="name">Matteo Malucelli</span></td> <td><span data-bubbles="team" data-value="ferrari">Ferrari</span> 488 GTE</td> <td>LMGTE PRO</td> <td>3:53.176</td> <td>33.443</td> </tr> <tr> <td>41</td> <td>92</td> <td><span class="name">Fr&eacute;d&eacute;ric Makowiecki</span><br /> <span class="name">Earl Bamber</span><br /> <span class="name">J&ouml;rg Bergmeister</span></td> <td>Porsche 911 RSR (2016)</td> <td>LMGTE PRO</td> <td>3:54.918</td> <td>35.185</td> </tr> <tr> <td>42</td> <td>95</td> <td><span class="name">Marco Sorensen</span><br /> <span class="name">Nicki Thiim</span><br /> <span class="name">Darren Turner</span></td> <td>Aston Martin Vantage</td> <td>LMGTE PRO</td> <td>3:55.261</td> <td>35.528</td> </tr> <tr> <td>43</td> <td>91</td> <td><span class="name">Nick Tandy</span><br /> <span class="name">Patrick Pilet</span><br /> <span class="name">Kevin Estre</span></td> <td>Porsche 911 RSR (2016)</td> <td>LMGTE PRO</td> <td>3:55.332</td> <td>35.599</td> </tr> <tr> <td>44</td> <td>97</td> <td><span class="name">Fernando Rees</span><br /> <span class="name">Richie Stanaway</span><br /> <span class="name">Jonathan Adam</span></td> <td>Aston Martin Vantage</td> <td>LMGTE PRO</td> <td>3:55.380</td> <td>35.647</td> </tr> <tr> <td>45</td> <td>77</td> <td><span class="name">Richard Lietz</span><br /> <span class="name">Michael Christensen</span><br /> <span class="name">Philipp Eng</span></td> <td>Porsche 911 RSR (2016)</td> <td>LMGTE PRO</td> <td>3:55.426</td> <td>35.693</td> </tr> <tr> <td>46</td> <td>64</td> <td><span class="name">Oliver Gavin</span><br /> <span class="name">Tommy Milner</span><br /> <span class="name">Jordan Taylor</span></td> <td>Chevrolet Corvette C7R</td> <td>LMGTE PRO</td> <td>3:55.848</td> <td>36.115</td> </tr> <tr> <td>47</td> <td>61</td> <td><span class="name">Rob Bell</span><br /> <span class="name">Mok Weng Sun</span><br /> <span class="name">Keita Sawa</span></td> <td><span data-bubbles="team" data-value="ferrari">Ferrari</span> F458 Italia</td> <td>LMGTE AM</td> <td>3:56.827</td> <td>37.094</td> </tr> <tr> <td>48</td> <td>98</td> <td><span class="name">Pedro Lamy</span><br /> <span class="name">Paul Dalla Lana</span><br /> <span class="name">Mathias Lauda</span></td> <td>Aston Martin Vantage V8</td> <td>LMGTE AM</td> <td>3:57.198</td> <td>37.465</td> </tr> <tr> <td>49</td> <td>88</td> <td><span class="name">David Heinemeier Hansson</span><br /> <span class="name">Patrick Long</span><br /> <span class="name">Khaled Al Qubaisi</span></td> <td><span data-bubbles="team" data-value="ferrari">Porsche 911 RSR</span></td> <td>LMGTE AM</td> <td>3:57.513</td> <td>37.780</td> </tr> <tr> <td>50</td> <td>55</td> <td><span class="name">Duncan Cameron</span><br /> <span class="name">Matt Griffin</span><br /> <span class="name">Aaron Scott</span></td> <td><span data-bubbles="team" data-value="ferrari">Ferrari</span> F458 Italia</td> <td>LMGTE AM</td> <td>3:57.596</td> <td>37.863</td> </tr> <tr> <td>51</td> <td>83</td> <td><span class="name">Fran&ccedil;ois Perrodo</span><br /> <span class="name">Emmanuel Collard</span><br /> <span class="name">Rui Aguas</span></td> <td><span data-bubbles="team" data-value="ferrari">Ferrari</span> F458 Italia</td> <td>LMGTE AM</td> <td>3:57.742</td> <td>38.009</td> </tr> <tr> <td>52</td> <td>63</td> <td><span class="name">Jan Magnussen</span><br /> <span class="name">Antonio Garcia</span><br /> <span class="name">Ricky Taylor</span></td> <td>Chevrolet Corvette C7R</td> <td>LMGTE PRO</td> <td>3:57.967</td> <td>38.234</td> </tr> <tr> <td>53</td> <td>50</td> <td><span class="name">Pierre Ragues</span><br /> <span class="name">Yutaka Yamagishi</span><br /> <span class="name">Jean-Philippe Belloc</span></td> <td>Chevrolet Corvette C7-Z06</td> <td>LMGTE AM</td> <td>3:58.018</td> <td>38.285</td> </tr> <tr> <td>54</td> <td>60</td> <td><span class="name">Christina Nielsen</span><br /> <span class="name">Johnny Laursen</span><br /> <span class="name">Mikkel Mac</span></td> <td><span data-bubbles="team" data-value="ferrari">Ferrari</span> F458 Italia</td> <td>LMGTE AM</td> <td>3:58.760</td> <td>39.027</td> </tr> <tr> <td>55</td> <td>78</td> <td><span class="name">Christian Ried</span><br /> <span class="name">Wolf Henzler</span><br /> <span class="name">Joel Camathias</span></td> <td>Porsche 911 RSR</td> <td>LMGTE AM</td> <td>3:59.034</td> <td>39.301</td> </tr> <tr> <td>56</td> <td>62</td> <td>Bill<span class="name"> Sweedler</span><br /> <span class="name">Townsend Bell</span><br /> J<span class="name">eff Segal</span></td> <td><span data-bubbles="team" data-value="ferrari">Ferrari</span> F458 Italia</td> <td>LMGTE AM</td> <td>4:00.008</td> <td>40.275</td> </tr> <tr> <td>57</td> <td>89</td> <td><span class="name">Marc Miller</span><br /> <span class="name">Cooper MacNeil</span><br /> <span class="name">Lehman Keen</span></td> <td>Porsche 911 RSR</td> <td>LMGTE AM</td> <td>4:00.107</td> <td>40.374</td> </tr> <tr> <td>58</td> <td>86</td> <td><span class="name">Michael Wainwright</span><br /> <span class="name">Adam Carroll</span><br /> <span class="name">Ben Barker</span></td> <td>Porsche 911 RSR</td> <td>LMGTE AM</td> <td>4:01.046</td> <td>41.313</td> </tr> <tr> <td>59</td> <td>57</td> <td><span class="name">Mark Patterson</span><br /> <span class="name">Johnny O&#39;Connell</span><br /> <span class="name">Oliver Bryant</span></td> <td>Chevrolet Corvette C7-Z06</td> <td>LMGTE AM</td> <td>4:02.326</td> <td>42.593</td> </tr> <tr> <td>60</td> <td>99</td> <td><span class="name">Gary Hirsch</span><br /> <span class="name">Liam Griffin</span><br /> <span class="name">Andrew Howard</span></td> <td>Aston Martin Vantage V8</td> <td>LMGTE AM</td> <td>4:03.148</td> <td>43.415</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> Legacy Makers - Corvette Racing and Le MansThu, 16 Jun 2016 18:45:13 GMT<p>Laying claim to eight victories in 16 attempts at the famous Circuit de la Sarthe, Corvette Racing&rsquo;s rich pedigree in modern day Le Mans history is growing stronger ever year. Doug Fehan, Program Manager for the American team, tells us what it is about the race that makes it so special.</p> set to be introduced for LMP1 privateer teams in 2018Thu, 16 Jun 2016 15:10:45 GMT<p><strong>The ACO, organisers of the Le Mans 24 Hours, and FIA have announced that a drag reduction system (DRS) will be introduced for LMP1 privateer teams in 2018, as well as revealing several new rules for next season.</strong></p> <p>The changes to the FIA World Endurance Championship regulations are set to be introduced in a bid to close the gap between the factory LMP1 hybrid cars and the privateer entries.</p> <p>It is also to try and make the privateer category in LMP1 more attractive. Full DRS details will be confirmed soon.</p> <p>For 2017, the minimum weight for privateer cars will be reduced from 858kg to 830kg, while there will be a single fuel flow metre, the removal of the torque meter and no engine number limitations.</p> <p>There will also be no cubic capacity and the rear wing and front bodywork sizes will be increased.</p> <p>Meanwhile the current chassis rules are set to be kept in place for the next three years to keep costs down. These changes will be put to the World Motor Sport Council for ratification.</p> <p>Just three cars have been entered in the LMP1 privateer class at this weekend&rsquo;s Le Mans &ndash; two from Rebellion and one from the ByKolles team.</p> mandatory 2017 LMP2 engine officially unveiledThu, 16 Jun 2016 14:40:36 GMT<p><strong>The new Gibson Technology engine powering the LMP2 category of the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2017 has officially been uncovered.</strong></p> <p>New rules will see a mandatory engine debut in LMP2 next season, with the Gibson GK428 being used in the FIA WEC, as well as the European Le Mans Series.</p> <p>The first examples of the 600bhp, 4.2 litre V8 engine are currently being produced, with the four units being sent to constructors in mid-August.</p> <p>ORECA, Onroak/Ligier, Dallara and Riley/Multimatic have been selected to create new P2 cars for the 2017 season.</p> <p>The initial batch of engines will be delivered in time to support the constructor&rsquo;s test schedules.</p> <p>The Gibson GK428 will also be used in the Asian Le Mans Series in 2019 and the SportsCar Championship if it chooses to use the engine.</p> 365 days after the Ford GT first turned a wheelMon, 13 Jun 2016 12:26:59 GMT<p><strong>Ford GT drivers reflect on the 365 days between the car&#39;s first shakedown at Calabogie Motorsports Park and the Chip Ganassi Racing team&#39;s final test before the Le Mans 24 Hours. </strong></p> U.S. Invasion - Ford and Corvette At Le Mans 2016Wed, 08 Jun 2016 21:08:39 GMT<p>Ford&rsquo;s eagerly-anticipated return to Le Mans this year is turning the heads of motorsport fans and GT rivals (Corvette) alike. Mobil 1 The Grid spoke to the men behind the so-called U.S. invasion to find out more about why having an American presence at the famous 24-hour race is vital for the sport. Ford GT&rsquo;s Scott Dixon and Joey Hand both feature alongside Corvette Racing&rsquo;s Doug Fehan, Tommy Milner and brothers Jordan &amp; Ricky Taylor.</p> ends Le Mans test day quickest ahead of PorscheSun, 05 Jun 2016 20:59:02 GMT<p><strong>Audi topped the timing screens during the Le Mans test day on Sunday, with Lucas Di Grassi posting the quickest lap of the day, a time of 3m21.375s, on the 13.6km Circuit de 24 Heures track.</strong></p> <p>Di Grassi, behind the wheel of the #8 R18, set his time in the afternoon, displacing Porsche which had led during the opening four hours of the session.</p> <p>However the gap between Audi and Porsche remained small come the eighth and final hour, with just nine-tenths between them, thanks to Mark Webber&#39;s 3m22.270s lap.</p> <p>Audi and Porsche completed the top four positions, but Toyota were also close - running their Le Mans aero kit for the first time - in fifth and sixth, however failing to improve on their times in the afternoon.</p> <p>The Rebellion R-Ones managed to find a chunk of time in the afternoon, but were still six seconds off the pace of their LMP1 rivals.</p> <p>It remains extremely close between all&nbsp;LMP2 competitors, with Signatech Alpine, the #26 G-Drive Racing and the #38 G-Drive entry&nbsp;in close succession behind ELMS entrant Eurasia Motorsport.&nbsp;</p> <p>Manor and KCMG both put in strong performances &ndash; the first on its debut at Le Mans and the second on its return to the LMP2 category.</p> <p>Chevrolet Corvettes topped the time sheets in LMGTE Pro and Am, with WEC entrant Larbre Competition stopping the clocks at 3m57.999s to set the fastest time of the day in the Am&nbsp;class.&nbsp;</p> <p>The No.50 Corvette C7 ZO6 was circulating in the hands of Yutaka Yamagishi, Pierre Ragues and &ndash; for this test day, in place of the injured Paolo Ruberti, Nicky Catsburg and Jean-Philippe Belloc.</p> <p>During the morning there was one red flag for the #83 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia, which had to be retrieved from the track.</p> <p>The afternoon saw a second red flag&nbsp;period to extract the Krohn Racing entry from the gravel, and the session was concluded 28 minutes early after another LMP2 competitor impacted the barriers hard which required repairs taking longer than the time available.</p> <p>A number of incidents required slow zones, with several drivers making small mistakes, though none serious.</p> Catch up with Rebellion Racing's Prost and Piquet JrThu, 02 Jun 2016 18:43:48 GMT<p><strong>Nicolas Prost and Nelson Piquet Jr. carry surnames that are well known to the Motorsport community, but despite both their fathers&rsquo; F1 rivalry, the two team-mates now make up 50% of Rebellion Racing&rsquo;s LMP1 driver line-up for 2016. Mobil 1 The Grid went trackside to catch-up with the duo to talk Le Mans, famous fathers and goals for the 2016 WEC season ahead.</strong></p> Berthon and G-Drive Racing split ahead of Le MansThu, 02 Jun 2016 10:51:53 GMT<p><strong>G-Drive Racing and Nathanael Berthon have parted company ahead of the 24 Hours of Le Mans later this month.</strong></p> <p>Berthon joined G-Drive for the full FIA World Endurance Championship season at the beginning of the year, aiding the team to a third place finish at the 6 Hours of Silverstone in April.</p> <p>Berthon finished fifth at Spa last time out alongside Rene Rast and Roman Rusinov&nbsp;in the no. 26 ORECA-Nissan LMP2 car, but has now left the team with immediate effect.</p> <p>&quot;I would like to thanks Nathanael for his efforts with the team in 2016,&rdquo; G-Drive Racing&rsquo;s David Clark said in a statement.</p> <p>&ldquo;We achieved two solid results in the first races at Silverstone and Spa and he showed he can be part of a front running team and we wish him every success in the future.&quot;</p> <p>Berthon had been listed on the entry list for Le Mans, and was due to take part in the first test day ahead of the race on Sunday.</p> <p>In a subsequent statement, G-Drive confirmed that ex-Formula 1 driver Will Stevens will race in place of Berthon at Le Mans after being drafted in from Manor.</p> <p>&quot;&ldquo;The offer to join G-Drive specifically for Le Mans and share the car with Rene and Roman was compelling,&quot; Stevens said.</p> <p>&quot;My partnership with Rene at WRT Audi is working well and with his and Roman&rsquo;s experience in this race, it offered me a race winning opportunity which I&rsquo;m pleased to accept.</p> <p>&quot;I&rsquo;m grateful to the Manor WEC Team for releasing me for this occasion and we will continue to work together for the remainder of their first season in endurance racing.</p> <p>&quot;I&rsquo;m very much looking forward to my first 24-hour race within this line-up and am very grateful to G-Drive for the opportunity. I&rsquo;m enjoying the whole endurance racing scene and no doubt my first Le Mans will be a special event in my career.&quot;</p> <p>Manor has drafted in Roberto Merhi to replace Stevens, having only entered one car to Le Mans despite running two for the remainder of the WEC season. He will race alongside Matt Rao and Tor Graves.</p> <p>&quot;I am very excited to be taking part in this great race that has so much history,&quot; Merhi said.</p> <p>&quot;I am really looking forward to racing with Matt and Tor and seeing what we can achieve together.&nbsp;I would like to thank the team for this amazing opportunity.&quot;</p> Get to know the #1 Porsche LMP1 WEC teamFri, 20 May 2016 12:05:36 GMT<p><strong>Getting on with your team-mates is vital in endurance racing, especially if you&rsquo;re reigning World Champions. Mobil 1 The Grid goes trackside with Porsche&rsquo;s LMP1 defending champions Mark Webber, Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley to discover what it takes to create the perfect winning formula.</strong></p> Pitt announced as 24 Hours of Le Mans starterFri, 13 May 2016 17:56:38 GMT<p><strong>Brad Pitt will wave off the 60 cars competing&nbsp;in&nbsp;the 84th instalment of the 24 Hours of Le Mans this June, the series has confirmed.</strong></p> <p>The Hollywood star will attend the prestigious event on June 18 and will wave the starter flag,&nbsp;president of the Automobile Club de l&#39;Ouest, Pierre Fillon, confirmed on Twitter.</p> <p>The decision may surprise some, but Pitt has previously been linked with a Le Mans film focussing on the head-to-head battles between&nbsp;Ford and Ferrari in the 1960s.</p> <p>The film is listed as &quot;under development&quot; by IMDB, with Tom Cruise lined up to play the part of&nbsp;Carroll Shelby.</p> <p>Other race startes have included Fernando Alonso in 2015, FIA president Jean Todt and&nbsp;former-Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo.</p> 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps WEC race highlightsMon, 09 May 2016 19:44:26 GMT<p>Race highlights from the second round of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) from Spa-Francorchamps...</p> wins thrilling 6 Hours of Spa as rivals hit troubleSat, 07 May 2016 20:12:26 GMT<p><strong>Audi has secured its first victory of the season with an unlikely win at the WEC&nbsp;6 Hours of Spa, as all of its rivals hit trouble to hand the win to the #8 Audi R18 e-tron driven by&nbsp;Oliver Jarvis, Lucas di Grassi and Loic Duval.</strong></p> <p>Both Porsche and Toyota looked set for victory at some stage, but reliability proved to be their downfall, allowing Audi to seize the chance to secure its first win since last year&#39;s Spa race following its exclusion from the season-opening Silverstone event.</p> <p>The start of the race saw the&nbsp;#1 Porsche, driven by Brendon Hartley, open&nbsp;up a healthy&nbsp;lead ahead of the #2 Porsche 919 Hybrid&nbsp;before trouble struck Marc Lieb. The German suffered a hybrid failure, causing him to drop off the pace, falling several seconds behind the lead Porsche and out of contention.</p> <p>Toyota then emerged as Porsche&#39;s nearest rival with the #5 TS050 Hybrid taking second from #7 Audi of Benoit Treluyer - who later hit trouble himself when debris caused damage to his floor, resulting in numerous pit stops to try and rescue their car, pace and race.</p> <p>The #5 Toyota would eventually claim the lead during the first&nbsp;stops with Sebastien Buemi behind the wheel, whilst Timo Bernhard took over from Hartley in the Porsche, with 20 seconds now between first and second.</p> <p>Two punctures ruined Bernhard&#39;s stint before more trouble struck as a gearbox mechanism needed attention, costing Porsche 20 minutes, dropping the #1 to the back of the field.</p> <p>Toyota therefore looked set for victory as the #5 car&nbsp;lapped the #8 Audi with ease - meanwhile the second Toyota hit trouble, retiring with an electrical problem.</p> <p>But it wasn&#39;t to be as during&nbsp;Kazuki Nakajima&#39;s stint, engine failure struck, bringing Toyota&#39;s reign to an end and handing the victory to Audi ahead of the second Porsche, two laps down and therefore&nbsp;somewhat unchallenged.</p> <p>A late Safety Car added to the drama when the #66 Ford GT driven by Stefan Mucke crashed out after a tyre failed through Eau Rouge, sending the car spinning into the barriers at&nbsp;Raidillon at full speed. Mucke escaped unharmed, but debris littered the track.</p> <p>Rebellion&#39;s Alexandre Imperatori, Matheo Tuscher and Dominik Kraihamer completed the podium, four laps down on the leader.</p> <p>The LMP2 class was won by the #36 Alpine team driven by&nbsp;Gustavo Menezes, Nicolas Lapierre and&nbsp;Stephane Richelmi, with just six seconds splitting the four teams as the #31 Ligier and the #45 ORECA completed the podium.</p> <p>Ferrari&#39;s Sam Bird and Davide Rigon led the LMGTE Pro field, with Aston Martin&#39;s&nbsp;Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and&nbsp;Mathias Lauda winning the LMGTE Am class.</p> <p><a href="">For full race results, click here.</a></p> locks out front row for WEC 6 Hours of SpaFri, 06 May 2016 16:58:23 GMT<p><strong>Porsche returned to the front row of the FIA World Endurance Championship grid, securing a one-two in qualifying for the 6 Hours of Spa.</strong></p> <p>Audi broke the team&rsquo;s run of qualifying success at the Silverstone season opener, but Porsche backed up its 1-2 finish in FP3 to take first and second for Saturday&rsquo;s race in Belgium.</p> <p>Running with a low downforce aero package, the No.1 Porsche 919 Hybrid of Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard set the best two-lap average with a 1:55.793. The No.2 car of Marc Lieb and Neel Jani was seven tenths further back.</p> <p>The No.6 Toyota finished third, with the No.8 Audi next up after hitting traffic. The No.5 Toyota and No.7 Audi followed, with the positions from third to sixth split by just three tenths of a second.</p> <p>In LMP2, the No.26 G-Drive Racing car of Roman Rusinov and Rene Rast secured pole position in the class, ahead of the No.36 Signatech Alpine machine. Manor&rsquo;s two cars were third and fifth, split by the No.38 Gibson car.</p> <p>The No.71 Ferrari of Sam Bird and Davide Rigon took pole in GTE-Pro, with the sister No.51 car and the No.97 Aston Martin next up, just ahead of the two Ford GTs. In GTE-Am, Aston Martin&rsquo;s No.98 car will line up first in class, ahead of the No.83 Ferrari and No.88 Abu Dhabi Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR.</p> leads Porsche to take 1-2 in second Spa practiceThu, 05 May 2016 17:41:53 GMT<p><strong>Toyota took a surprise 1-2 in second practice for the Belgian round of the FIA World Endurance Championship, after lagging behind rivals Porsche in the opening session by more than 1.4 seconds.</strong></p> <p>Stephane Sarrazin in the #6 Toyota TS050 led the way with a best time of&nbsp;1m58.556s, whilst the second #5 Toyota, driven by Kazuki Nakajima, was just 0.155s adrift of the sister car,</p> <p>The Japanese marque had a comfortable lead over the Porsche cars. The #1 driven by Mark Webber could only get to within seven-tenths off the lead Toyota, whilst the #2 was a further fourt-tenths back with Marc Lieb setting the quickest time of the trio.</p> <p>Audi ended up fifth fastest thanks to Benoit Treluyer, albeit 1.7s off the pace. Meanwhile the sister car failed to take part in the session due to a drivetrain failure, which the team were unable to repair in time for the session.</p> <p>ByKolles split the two Rebellion cars to complete the LMP1 field, with the trio between six and seven seconds back.</p> <p>In the LMP2 field, it was the new Manor team that set the pace as ex-Formula 1 racer Roberto Merhi went quickest in the #45 ORECA, leading fellow ex-F1 driver Giedo van der Garde in the G-Drive Jota Sport car - eight-tenths behind.</p> <p>The GTE Pro class was led by the #51 AF Corse Ferrari driven by James Calado and the GTE AM class by Rui Aguas.</p> <p>The session was stopped with seven minutes left on the clock when the #50 Larbre Chevrolet&nbsp;car of Yutaka Yamagishi ended up in the barriers, bringing out the&nbsp;red flags.</p> Davidson takes a detailed look at the Toyota TS050Tue, 03 May 2016 18:18:09 GMT<p><strong>With a brand new package which debuted at the 6 Hours Of Silverstone, Toyota Gazoo Racing have high hopes for the TS050 Hybrid and the 2016 World Endurance Championship season.</strong></p> withdraws Silverstone WEC exclusion appealThu, 21 Apr 2016 19:02:01 GMT<p><strong>Audi Motorsport has withdrawn its appeal against its exclusion from the opening round of the season in Silverstone, after its #7 car - which crossed the finish line first on&nbsp;Sunday - was found to have a worn skid-block above the maximum tolerances.</strong></p> <p>The Audi R18 of Marcel Fassler, Andre Lotterer and Benoit Treluyer won the event, but hours later was excluded, handing the win to Porsche. Audi chose to appeal the decision, but have now withdrawn it and accept the decision according to&nbsp;Head of Audi Motorsport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich.</p> <p>&quot;We accept the exclusion from the classification and, in the interest of the sport, jointly look ahead,&quot; he said.</p> <p>According to the team, unexpected &quot;bouncing&quot; caused the block to wear more than they anticipated and it&#39;s something they will look to resolve before the next round of the championship.</p> <p>&ldquo;It it is our job to avoid increased wear &ndash; we accept this responsibility,&rdquo; Ullrich added.</p> <p>&ldquo;We made our decision in the interest of the sport and hope that the eight remaining world championship rounds will be similarly thrilling as the season opener.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p> Porsche WEC champions look at the season aheadThu, 21 Apr 2016 09:17:57 GMT<p><strong>Speaking from the WEC Prologue at Circuit Paul Ricard, Mobil 1 The Grid meets LMP1 defending champions Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard as they share their thoughts on the challenge ahead for 2016. Sister car team drivers Marc Lieb, Romain Dumas and Neel Jani also feature.</strong></p> appeals No.7 exclusion from 6 Hours of SilverstoneMon, 18 Apr 2016 10:46:41 GMT<p><strong>Audi Sport Team Joest has appealed the decision by the FIA World Endurance Championship stewards to exclude the No.7 car from the 6 Hours of Silverstone.</strong></p> <p>The No.7 LMP1 entry of Marcel Fassler, Andre Lotterer and Benoit Treluyer claimed a clear overall victory at the WEC season opener.</p> <p>But the car underwent post-race scrutineering and was found to be over the permitted <a href="">skid plank wear tolerances</a> allowed under the series&rsquo; regulations.</p> <p>The stewards deemed the No.7 Audi&#39;s skid block exceeded the maximum allowed by just 5mm. The car was excluded and the win went to the No.2 Porsche 919 Hybrid of Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb.</p> <p>Early on Monday morning Audi released the following statement, confirming it is appealing the exclusion:</p> <p>&quot;Audi Sport Team Joest has appealed against the exclusion of winners Marcel Fassler/Andre Lotterer/Benoit Treluyer. Hence the result of the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) season opener remains provisional.</p> <p>&quot;The stewards of the meeting received a report from the Technical Delegate explaining that the thickness of the front skid block of car no. 7 doesn&rsquo;t comply with article 3.5.6 a3 of the LMP1 Technical Regulations. Audi Sport Team Joest has appealed the decision to exclude the number 7 car from the results. Hence the race result will depend on the decision of a sport tribunal.&quot;</p> Audi excluded, Porsche handed Silverstone winMon, 18 Apr 2016 00:07:01 GMT<p><strong>The 6 Hours of Silverstone race-winning No. 7 Audi has been disqualified over a technical infringement, provisionally handing overall victory to the No. 2 Porsche.</strong></p> <p>The Audi R18, driven&nbsp;to victory by&nbsp;Andre Lotterer, Benoit Treluyer and Marcel Fassler on Sunday at the opening-round of the season in Silverstone, underwent post-race&nbsp;scrutineering&nbsp;and was found to be over the permitted skid plank wear tolerances allowed under the regulations.</p> <p>A bulletin posted by the stewards revealed that the wear on the Audi&#39;s skid block exceeded the maximum allowed by just 5mm, which the team blamed on &quot;circumstances during the race&quot;.</p> <p>It added: &quot;The stewards consider it is the liability of the competitor to respect&nbsp;the Technical Regulations&nbsp;in any case in order the car complies after the race with this regulation.&quot;</p> <p>Therefore their decision was&nbsp;to exclude the car&nbsp;from the results, handing victory to the Porsche 919 Hybrid driven by&nbsp;Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb.</p> <p>Audi can appeal their exclusion and must inform the FIA before midnight if the wish to do so, though it&#39;s believed they won&#39;t.</p> <p>The revised podium sees the No. 6 Toyota&nbsp;TS050 Hybrid of Stephane Sarrazin, Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayshi elevated to second, with the final step filled by the&nbsp;No. 13 Rebellion R-One AER driven by Alexandre&nbsp;Imperatori, Dominik&nbsp;Kraihamer and Matheo&nbsp;Tuscher.</p> 6 Hours of Silverstone WEC race highlightsSun, 17 Apr 2016 23:24:17 GMT<p><strong>Race highlights from the opening round of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) from Silverstone.</strong></p> 7 Audi storms to clear 6 Hours of Silverstone victory Sun, 17 Apr 2016 18:18:05 GMT<p><strong>The No. 7 Audi R18 of Marcel Fassler, Andre Lotterer and Benoit Treluyer stormed to a clear victory at the 6 Hours of Silverstone as the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship season got underway.</strong></p> <p>The car started on pole position but lost the lead on lap 16 to the No. 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid of Mark Webber. It fell to third after the opening round of pit stops but found itself second during the mid-race safety car.</p> <p>It was deployed following a scary crash for race leader Brendon Hartley, driving the No. 1 Porsche. He made contact with Michael Wainwright&rsquo;s Gulf Racing GTE-Am Porsche two hours into the race, with his prototype almost flipping over.</p> <p>The No.8 Audi then hit trouble with a hybrid failure and retired, promoting Marc Lieb&rsquo;s No. 2 Porsche to the lead. Lieb and Treluyer enjoyed a frantic battle after the safety car, before the Porsche dropped back with a spin and a puncture.</p> <p>The No. 2 cut the gap to the No. 7 Audi late on but had to pit for fuel with 10 minutes remaining. Fassler crossed the line 46 seconds clear of the field to claim the German marque&#39;s first win since Spa last year, finishing ahead of the No. 2 Porsche and the No. 6 Toyota of Kamui Kobayashi, Stephane Sarrazin and Mike Conway.</p> <p>It proved to be a mixed day for all three LMP1 manufacturers. Porsche and Audi each lost a car, while the No. 5 Toyota of Kazuki Nakajima picked up a puncture early in the fourth hour, which caused the car to go into the pits for repairs due to bodywork damage. It returned but finished well down the field.</p> <p>In LMP2, the RGR Sport by Morand car of Ricardo Gonzalez, Filipe Albuquerque and Bruno Senna claimed the class win, beating the No. 31 Extreme Speed Motorsports car and the No. 26 G-Drive Racing machine, which started on pole and led a large chunk of the race.</p> <p>The No. 71 AF Corse Ferrari of Davide Rigon and Sam Bird dominated the GTE-Pro class, beating the sister No. 51 car despite the latter having an early&nbsp;three-minute penalty for Gianmaria Bruni and James Calado due to an engine change overnight. The AF Corse sweep continued in GTE-Am with the No.83 machine of Francois Perrodo, Emmanuel Collard and Rui Aguas triumphing ahead of the No.98 Aston Martin Racing Vantage V8.</p> <p>The WEC returns in three weeks&#39; time with the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps.</p> <p><a href=""><em>Click here for full race results.</em></a></p> locks out front row for 6 Hours of SilverstoneSat, 16 Apr 2016 13:52:11 GMT<p><strong>The No.7 Audi secured pole position for the 6 Hours of Silverstone, after Andre Lotterer and Marcel Fassler ended qualifying fastest.</strong></p> <p>Their combined two-lap averages produced a 1m53.204, beating the No.8 Audi of team-mates Loid Duval and Lucas Di Grassi by 0.104 seconds. Lotterer and Fassler will race alongside Benoit Treluyer on Sunday.</p> <p>The fastest times from Audi has brought to an end Porsche&rsquo;s 11-race run of qualifying success in the WEC, giving the German manufacturer its first pole since Fuji in 2013.</p> <p>Porsche&rsquo;s two entries were third and fourth, with Mark Webber and Brendon Hartley&rsquo;s No. 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid ahead of the sister No.2 machine of Neel Jani and Romain Dumas.</p> <p>The Toyota TS050 Hybrids were fifth and sixth respectively, with ByKolles best of the LMP1 privateers. G-Drive Racing proved quick in practice and backed that up with pole position in LMP2, thanks to Rene Rast.</p> <p>Meanwhile in GTE-Pro, Davide Rigon and Sam Bird had the quickest two-lap combined average with a 2m12.440 in their No.71 Ferrari 488 GTE.</p> <p>They finished 1.34 seconds clear of the No.77 Dempsey Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR of Richard Lietz and Michael Christensen. The No.66 Ford GT of Olivier Pla and Stefan Muecke were third.</p> <p>In GTE-Am Klaus Bachler and Khaled Al Qubaisi were quickest in their No.88 Porsche 911 RSR, beating the KCMG-backed Porsche of Wolf Henzler and Christian Ried.</p> third practice at Silverstone cut short by snowSat, 16 Apr 2016 10:37:57 GMT<p><strong>Third practice for this weekend&rsquo;s FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Silverstone was cut short due to sleet and snow.</strong></p> <p>Conditions were treacherous throughout the session, but several drivers did head out onto the circuit for installation laps.</p> <p>There was just 12 minutes of green flag running in total, with two red flags before the session was wrapped up early with 25 minutes still left on the clock.</p> <p>Anthony Davidson was one of the drivers to briefly take to the track but he went off in his No. 5 Toyota TS050 Hybrid, beaching the LMP1 prototype in the gravel.</p> <p>Rain showers and sleet fell early in the session before the showers turned to snow. Qualifying is set to take place at 11:50am at Silverstone.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="" width="640"></iframe></p> storms to 1-2 in second Silverstone WEC practiceFri, 15 Apr 2016 18:12:27 GMT<p><strong>Porsche continued its strong start to the 6 Hours of Silverstone race weekend by storming to another one-two finish in second practice on Friday evening.</strong></p> <p>Coming off the back of its dominant display in the FIA World Endurance Championship last year, Porsche enters the new campaign with a refined version of its 919 Hybrid to defend both titles.</p> <p>Timo Bernhard set the pace in the opening practice session for Porsche to head up a one-two finish, and FP2 proved to be a repeat affair as the no. 1 car shared by Bernhard, Mark Webber and Brendon Hartley finished in top spot.</p> <p>A fastest lap of 1:39.655 was enough to give Porsche P1 in a damp second practice, with the no. 2 of Marc Lieb, Romain Dumas and Neel Jani slotting into second place, albeit 1.6 seconds down.</p> <p>Audi had a productive session, completing 83 laps with its pair of R18 cars as Loic Duval, Oliver Jarvis and Lucas di Grassi ended FP2 in third place ahead of Toyota&#39;s no. 6 car. The sister Audi ended the session fifth ahead of the second Toyota in P6.</p> <p>In LMP2, Strakka Racing&#39;s Nick Leventis, Jonny Kane and Danny Watts topped the timesheets, edging out the debutant Manor team by less than one-tenth of a second. Signatech Alpine rounded out the top three in class with its no. 36 car.</p> <p>AF Corse continued to dominate in GTE Pro as the no. 51 Ferrari 488 GTE of Gianmaria Bruni and James Calado swept to P1 in the timesheets, the Briton setting the fastest lap. His time was two-tenths of a second quicker than that of former teammate Davide Rigon, who finished second alongside Sam Bird. Richard Lietz was the best of the rest for the Dempsey Proton team, finishing third in his Porsche 911 RSR.</p> <p>Porsche bit back in GTE Am though as the no. 86 Gulf Racing car topped the class, finishing seven-tenths of a second clear of the no. 98 Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage of Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda.</p> Bernhard leads Porsche one-two in opening Silverstone WEC practiceFri, 15 Apr 2016 13:57:29 GMT<p>Timo Bernhard picked up where he left off at the end of 2015 by topping the timesheets for Porsche in first practice for the 6 Hours of Silverstone on Friday.</p> <p>Bernhard arrives at the FIA World Endurance Championship opener sharing the no. 1 car with Mark Webber and Brendon Hartley after the trio won the drivers&rsquo; championship in Bahrain last year.</p> <p>Porsche enjoyed a significant edge over the WEC field throughout 2015, and showed few signs of slowing down in a damp first practice at Silverstone.</p> <p>Webber set the early pace in the 919 Hybrid car, only for Hartley and Bernhard to both go faster still during their runs.</p> <p>With less than five minutes remaining in the session, Bernhard produced a lap of 1:42.182 seconds to beat Hartley&rsquo;s time by half a second and claim P1 in the final timesheets.</p> <p>Marc Lieb followed in the sister Porsche, finishing eight-tenths of a second adrift in second place, while Anthony Davidson&nbsp;finished as the best of the rest in the new Toyota TS050 Hybrid in third place, 1.5 seconds down on P1.</p> <p>Oliver Jarvis led Audi&rsquo;s charge in fourth place, two-tenths of a second further back from Davidson, while the no. 6 Toyota of Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Stephane Sarrazin followed in P5 ahead of the second Audi.</p> <p>In LMP2, Rene Rast set the pace in his first official practice outing with defending class champions G-Drive as the Russian outfit led from Signatech Alpine&rsquo;s no. 35 entry and the debutant RGR Sport by Morand Ligier in P3.</p> <p>Manor enjoyed a solid first outing at Silverstone, with Roberto Merhi finishing fourth in class in FP1. The British team completed 47 laps between its two cars in the 90 minute session, offering some much-needed mileage heading into the rest of the weekend.</p> <p>AF Corse led the way in GTE Pro courtesy of James Calado in the no. 51 Ferrari 488 GTE, heading up a one-two for the Italian marque ahead of the no. 71 of Davide Rigon and Sam Bird. AF Corse also led in GTE Am, with the no. 83 458 Italia edging out the no. 86 Gulf Racing entry for P1 in class by less than one-tenth of a second.</p> Gade to leave Audi after 24 Hours of Le MansThu, 14 Apr 2016 14:43:18 GMT<p><strong>Audi has confirmed that no. 7 car engineer Leena Gade is set to leave the team following the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June.</strong></p> <p>Since joining Audi in 2007, Gade has established herself as one of the most prominent figures in top-line&nbsp;sportscar racing, becoming the first female engineer to win Le Mans in 2011 with Andre Lotterer, Benoit Treluyer and Marcel Fassler.</p> <p>The trio followed this up with victory in the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2012 before claiming a second Le Mans victory with Gade in 2014.</p> <p>However, Gade is now set to move on to a new challenge, with Audi confirming in a short statement on Thursday that she would be leaving following the 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 19.</p> <p>&quot;Leena Gade, the race engineer for the number 7&nbsp;Audi R18, will be leaving Audi Sport after the Le Mans 24 Hours,&quot; the team said.</p> <p>&quot;However, she is&nbsp;breaking in her successor, Erik Schuivens, in testing and racing operations. His involvement will begin with the season opener at&nbsp;Silverstone.&quot;</p> <p>Gade is rumoured to be joining Bentley&#39;s motorsport programme, but an Audi spokesperson could only confirm to&nbsp;<em>Grand Prix Times</em>&nbsp;that she was leaving the German marque after Le Mans.</p> Porsche previews 2016 FIA WEC seasonWed, 13 Apr 2016 22:37:56 GMT<p><strong>Porsche shares a preview video ahead of the opening round of the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship season this weekend at the Silverstone circuit, as the German manufacturer prepares to defend its titles.</strong></p> Rossiter joins ByKolles for Silverstone, Spa WEC racesTue, 05 Apr 2016 11:28:11 GMT<p><strong>James Rossiter has joined the ByKOLLES LMP1 team for the first two rounds of the FIA World Endurance Championship at Silverstone and Spa.</strong></p> <p>Rossiter will deputise for Pierre Kaffer&nbsp;due to clashing commitments for the German driver that make him unvailable for the two six-hour&nbsp;races.</p> <p>Rossiter has been racing in the Japanese Super Formula and Super GT championships in recent years, and raced for Colin Kolles&#39; Lotus WEC team sporadically between 2012 and 2014.</p> <p>&ldquo;Pierre has other contractual racing duties.&nbsp;Therefore, we had to look for an adequate replacement for the first two races - and we found it in James Rossiter,&quot; ByKOLLES racing director of operations Boris Bermes said.</p> <p>&quot;We know James very well from the past; he was racing in past for us in the LMP1 and LMP2 classes.&nbsp;James is technically competent and a very fast driver. Together with Simon Trummer and Oliver Webb he will make a strong driver line-up, and they will be able to fight for good results despite the strong competition in the WEC. Pierre Kaffer will be back at the wheel for the 24 hour race in Le Mans.</p> <p>&ldquo;I can&rsquo;t wait to drive the LMP1 car,&quot; Rossiter said. &quot;I have raced in Le Mans prototypes many times. It&rsquo;s fantastic to contest in the WEC again. The season opener will take place at Silverstone. It is my home race and therefore a very special event for me. I am looking forward to supporting the ByKOLLES Racing Team in the further development of the car.</p> <p>&quot;We aim for the best possible results at Silverstone and Spa; at the same time we want to prepare the car for the important race in Le Mans.&quot;</p> cycling champion Sir Chris Hoy to make Le Mans debutFri, 01 Apr 2016 19:28:29 GMT<p><strong>Six-time Olympic cycling champion Sir Chris Hoy will make his debut at the 24 Hours of Le Mans this year with the Algarve Pro Racing LMP2 team.</strong></p> <p>He will share the Nissan-powered Ligier JSP2 with Michael Munemann and Parth Ghorpade. It is the latest step in his development programme with Nissan, having previously raced with the manufacturer in the British GT and European Le Mans championships.</p> <p>Last year Hoy raced a factory-run Ginetta-Nissan and claimed the European Le Mans Series LMP3 title alongside Charlie Robertson.</p> <p>&quot;In motorsports terms, it&rsquo;s everything,&rdquo; the Scottish Olympic champion and driver said on the news. &quot;24 Hours of Le Mans is the pinnacle for me. It&rsquo;s what I&rsquo;ve been working for over the past three years.</p> <p>&quot;To get the news that I have the seat for Le Mans is amazing. I still can&rsquo;t quite believe it. It&rsquo;s exciting but there are a lot of steps to take between now and then so I&rsquo;m trying to focus on the short-term.&quot;</p> <p>Hoy has already completed three LMP2 tests, one with Algarve Pro Racing, and will also drive for the team at the opening two European Le Mans Series rounds.</p> Merhi completes Manor's 2016 WEC driver line-upWed, 30 Mar 2016 10:08:04 GMT<p><strong>The Manor FIA World Endurance Championship team has announced Roberto Merhi will complete its driver line-up for the 2016 season.</strong></p> <p>Merhi joins former Manor F1 team-mate Will Stevens, Tor Graves, James Jakes, Matt Rao and Richard Bradley at the British LMP2 outfit.</p> <p>The Spaniard won the Formula 3 Euro Series in 2011 before spending two seasons racing in the DTM series for Mercedes. In 2015 he was a test driver for the Caterham F1 team and finished third in the Formula Renault 3.5 series.</p> <p>Last year Merhi made the step up to F1 with Manor, racing in 14 of the 19 rounds for the team and scoring a best finish of 12<sup>th</sup> at Silverstone. He was not retained for 2016 but has now joined Manor in the WEC.</p> <p>&quot;I&rsquo;m really excited to be part of this new exciting chapter with Manor,&quot; he said. &quot;It is a great opportunity to work with Graeme, John and the team again.</p> <p>&quot;This is my first time at endurance racing, LMP2 is a very strong championship and I am looking forward to getting into the ORECA 05 LMP2 and seeing what we can all achieve together.&quot;</p> <p>Team principal John Booth added: &quot;It has been a very exciting week with the debut of our ORECA 05 LMP2 and also completing our driver line up. It is great to welcome Roberto back to Manor.</p> <p>&quot;Roberto is a talented driver with plenty of speed and experience. I know that he will fit in straight away having worked with many of the team before and also been a team mate to Will Stevens last year.&quot;</p> Booth: Manor in good shape ahead of WEC debutSun, 27 Mar 2016 22:45:44 GMT<p><strong>Manor team principal John Booth believes that the debutant LMP2 outfit will be in good shape for the start of the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship at Silverstone on April 17.</strong></p> <p>After resigning from the Manor Marussia Formula 1 Team at the end of 2015, Booth and long-time colleague Graeme Lowdon announced in February they would be entering the WEC for 2016 with a team in the LMP2 class.</p> <p>The Manor WEC team got on-track for the first time at the collective Prologue&nbsp;test at Paul Ricard earlier this week, completing 242 laps with its Oreca 05 car.</p> <p>&quot;It was great to see the car run for the first time yesterday and I am really happy with the mileage that we have achieved,&quot; Booth said.</p> <p>&quot;We are now starting to really understand the car which should put us in good shape for Silverstone.</p> <p>&ldquo;This is the first time that this team have all worked together and they have done a great job.&quot;</p> <p>Manor&#39;s driver line-up for 2016 includes Will Stevens, who raced for Booth in F1 last year, and former IndyCar driver James Jakes.</p> <p>&quot;It has been really nice to get to grips with an LMP2 car over the last few days,&quot; Stevens said.</p> <p>&quot;We have focused mainly on gathering data but we had an opportunity at the end to push a little more and I am very happy with where we have got to in such a short space of time.</p> <p>&quot;I am now looking forward to my home race at Silverstone.&quot;</p> <p>Jakes added: &quot;We have had a positive couple of days considering that we came here with a brand new car. We have managed to cover a lot of miles and completed most of our test plan.</p> <p>&quot;We now switch our focus to Silverstone which I am very excited about with it being my home race.&quot;</p> Hartley leads for Porsche as WEC Prologue endsSat, 26 Mar 2016 18:48:42 GMT<p><strong>Brendon Hartley set the pace at Paul Ricard on Saturday as Porsche closed out the FIA World Endurance Championship pre-season Prologue at the top of the timesheets.</strong></p> <p>Hartley&#39;s fastest time of 1:37.445 on Saturday was good enough to give him P1 on the overall timesheets for the two-day test, edging out teammate Neel Jani by less than half-a-tenth of a second.</p> <p>Picking up where it left off in 2015 when it won both LMP1 championships, Porsche locked out the top three positions in the final standings&nbsp;ahead of the season opener at Silverstone.</p> <p>Toyota continued to impress as it did on Friday as Stephane Sarrazin finished as the best of the rest, slotting into fourth on the timesheets,&nbsp;eight-tenths of a second behind Hartley.</p> <p>Teammate Kamui Kobayashi&#39;s first public LMP1 test saw him finish fifth-fastest, although his running on Saturday was limited after being told to&nbsp;stop the TS050 Hybrid car as a precaution.</p> <p>After repairing the R18 car overnight due to suspension damage, Audi returned to the track on Saturday but was unable to get close to either Porsche or Toyota, with Benoit Treluyer eventually finishing 1.4 seconds down in P8 overall.</p> <p>In LMP2, Signatech Alpine enjoyed a strong Saturday of running to rise to P1 in the overall timings. Gustavo Menezes&#39; lap was just 0.002 seconds quicker than that of Strakka&#39;s Jonny Kane, who was forced to settle for P2.</p> <p>AF Corse continued its impressive start to life with the new Ferrari 488 GTE as Gianmaria Bruni and James Calado led a 1-2-3 for the Italian marque in the final classification. Ford Chip Ganassi Racing followed seven-tenths of a second off P1, enjoying a solid first official WEC test run with the new GT car, while&nbsp;GTE Am was topped by Larbre Competition courtesy of Paolo Ruberti.</p> <p>The WEC season kicks off with the 6 Hours of Silverstone on April 17.</p> quickest on opening day of WEC Prologue at Paul RicardFri, 25 Mar 2016 21:12:27 GMT<p><strong>Porsche showed few signs of letting things slip over the winter as it topped all three sessions of the first day of collective pre-season testing ahead of the new FIA World Endurance Championship season.</strong></p> <p>The two-day WEC Prologue at Paul Ricard kicked off on Friday with defending champions Porsche setting the pace in the morning, afternoon and evening running as the updated 919 Hybrid stretched its legs.</p> <p>Neel Jani ultimately set the fastest time of the day, recording a best lap of 1:37.487 in the evening session to finish eight-tenths of a second clear of Toyota&#39;s Kazuki Nakajima at the checkered flag.</p> <p>Toyota enjoyed a strong first day of running with the new TS050 Hybrid, but the same could not be said of Audi as it suffered a number of issues on the new R18 car.</p> <p>Andre Lotterer was sidelined by an issue in the evening session that brought Audi&#39;s day to an early end, following on from a mechanical problem in the afternoon.</p> <p>British team Strakka Racing set the pace in LMP2 as Jonny Kane posted a best time of 1:46.976 in the afternoon session, while the new Manor WEC team made its public on-track debut.</p> <p>The new Ferrari 488 GTE enjoyed a strong debut for AF Corse on Friday as Gianmaria Bruni and James Calado led the way in GTE Pro, while Larbre Competition set the pace in GTE Am with its Chevrolet Corvette.</p> <p>Teams will be afforded another two sessions of running on Saturday at Paul Ricard as the Prologue comes to a close.</p> uncovers new TS050 Hybrid LMP1 carThu, 24 Mar 2016 10:46:04 GMT<p><strong>Toyota Gazoo Racing has unveiled its new TS050 Hybrid LMP1 car ahead of the first FIA World Endurance Championship test at the Paul Ricard track.</strong></p> <p>Following on from recent reveals by rival manufacturers Audi and Porsche, Toyota has now uncovered its new car it will race with in 2016.</p> <p>The TS050 Hybrid features a brand new 2.4 litre twin-turbo V6 engine and battery system, now running in the 8MJ hybrid subclass. Despite new hybrid technology, the car still uses motor generators on the front and rear axles.</p> <p>It is Toyota&rsquo;s third all-new WEC LMP1 car since joining the endurance racing series in 2012. It is also the first to be powered by a turbo engine, previously using a naturally-aspirated V8.</p> <p>Other updates to the car include changes to the gearbox and a new aerodynamic package.</p> <p>&ldquo;The team has worked extremely hard on the TS050 Hybrid, which is the result of a close, productive cooperation,&rdquo; team director Rob Leupen said.</p> <p>&ldquo;Our innovative motorsport technology, as well as the R&amp;D opportunities in Cologne, is contributing to making ever-better cars and the development of road car engineers.&rdquo;</p> <p>The No.5 car will be driven by Anthony Davidson, Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima. Meanwhile Kamui Kobayashi, Stephane Sarrazin and Mike Conway will race the No.6 machine.</p> <div style="text-align:center"> <figure class="image" style="display:inline-block"><img alt="" height="420" src="/ckfinder/userfiles/images/WEC/TS050_Studio_6.jpg" width="770" /> <figcaption>Toyota</figcaption> </figure> </div> launches 919 Hybrid for 2016 WEC and Le Mans defence Wed, 23 Mar 2016 10:22:09 GMT<p><b>Porsche has launched the car it will defend its Le Mans 24 Hours and World Endurance Championship crowns with in 2016 - the new 919 Hybrid LMP1 racer.</b></p> <p>Porsche won the 2015 manufacturer&rsquo;s title in the second year of its comeback to the top line of endurance racing, with Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Mark Webber taking the drivers&rsquo; title.</p> <p>The German manufacturer revealed the updated 919 Hybrid and its new livery on Wednesday, ahead of this weekend&rsquo;s WEC prologue test at Paul Ricard.</p> <p>As champions, Bernhard, Hartley and Webber will race with the #1 on their car, while the sister entry of Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb will carry the #2.</p> <p>Porsche says it will &ldquo;fully exploit the WEC regulations by deploying three different aerodynamic packages to make the car best suit to the respective race tracks&rdquo; in 2016.</p> <p>&ldquo;Until now, Porsche settled on a compromise for the season-opening round of the WEC and campaigned the 919 with lower downforce than would have been ideal for the Silverstone circuit,&rdquo; said the team.</p> <p>&ldquo;This compromise was for the sake of the season highlight at Le Mans.&rdquo;</p> <p>The German manufacturer says the 919 will now start the season running a high downforce package, moving to an extremely low downforce configuration for the Le Mans showpiece event, then running another high downforce package for the following six WEC races.&nbsp;</p> <p>The regulations prohibit more than three aerodynamic configurations per year.</p> <p>Porsche added that the basis of the 919 chassis structure and the hybrid drive concept is unchanged from its successful 2015 predecessor, but the weight of the turbo engine, its fuel consumption and the efficiency of the hybrid system have all been improved.</p>