2013 World Endurance Championship Season Preview

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2013 World Endurance Championship Season Preview

This is just the second season of the World Endurance Championship, and is open to Le Mans Prototypes and Grand-Tourer style racing cars over four categories. There are eight 2013 rounds of the WEC, starting in April at Silverstone and finishing in November in the heat of Bahrain.  When the entry list was announced by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, 32 cars were on it – Six LMP1 cars, twelve LMP2 cars, six LMGTE Pro cars and eight LMGTE Am cars – meaning there were two cars more than in the auguaral year.  Additional cars will more than likely appear in the series’ stand-out event, the Le Mans 24 Hour race in June.

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2013 World Endurance Championship
 Class Defintions

LMP is a class for cars with no production minimum requirements, although they are still subject to a myriad of rules.  For example, minimum weight, overall dimensions and fuel tank capacity are proscribed and closely monitored. Cars are prohibited from having 4-wheel drive, and there can be no moveable parts of the bodywork when running.  There are two categories within LMP:

LMP1 – The most ‘open’ class and the fastest, petrol or diesel, from which the overall winner will likely  come. This class is designated mainly to ‘factory’ teams. Fuel capacity is limited to 75 litres petrol and 60 litres diesel. Engine size limits are:

  • 3.4 ltr atmo petrol engines, 8 cyl. max.
  • 2.0 ltr turbo petrol engines, 6 cyl. max.
  • 3.7 ltr turbo diesel engines, 8 cyl. max.

LMP2 – Chassis the same as P1, but with homologated petrol only engines (ie no diesels). This class is aimed at teams independent of manufactures and/or engine suppliers.  The chassis is subject to lengthy homologation rules, and there can be only one evolution of the car per year. The bodywork cannot be altered apart from the 2 flaps at the front, and there is an overall cost limit for the chassis/bodywork (less engine and spares) of 355,000€. Fuel capacity is limited to 75 litres. Engine size limits are:

  • 5.0 ltr maximum 8 cylinders for normally aspirated engines
  • 3.2 ltr maximum 6 cylinders for (single only) turbo engines

GRAND TOURING ENDURANCE – cars built by manufacturers for sale on the open market:  Engine sizes are limited to 5.5 litres for normally aspirated engines, and 4.0 litres for turbos.  Fuel capacity is limited to 90 litres.  These cars are based almost totally on the old GT2 specification, with a few minor changes (ie paddle shift systems allowed and display, push buttons and switches allowed on the steering wheel).  Cars not homologated by a manufacturer will also be accepted if entered by tuners – subject to separate homologation criteria.  All cars are limited to one evolution per year, to be made before the first race of the season.  LMGTE is sub-divided into two separate classes:

LMGTE-PRO – designed more especially for professionals where up-to-date models are used as the basis for the race car.

LMGTE-AM – more for the ‘amateur’, where cars must be at least one year old and without further modification.  This is designed to create a second-user market for GT cars. The crew is limited to only one professional driver.

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2013 World Endurance Championship – LMP1

Audi have been the dominant force in Endurance racing for many years now, but now face stiff competition from Toyota who will be entering their second season back in the series with more knowledge than when they arrived last year.  Both manufacturers return with strong line-ups.

The #1 Audi Sport Team Joust car is to be driven by German Andre Lotterer, along with Swiss driver Marcel Fassler and Frenchman Benoit Treluyer.  Multi-Le Mans 24 Hour race winners Tom Kristensen and Allan Mcnish team up again in the #2 Audi alongside Loic Duval, while the #3 Audi is part-time but will be driven by Spanish driver Marc Gene, Brit Oliver Jarvis and Brazilian Lucas di Grassi.

Alex Wurz leads the #7 Toyota Racing car and is joined by Frenchman Nicolas Lapierre and Japanese driver Kazuki Nakajima.  The #8 sees Brit Anthony Davidson, Swiss driver Sebastian Buemi and Frenchman Stephane Sarazzin team up.  The fight between the Toyota & Audi Hybrids should be fascinating.

Of course the LMP1 category isn’t purely for Audi and Toyota.  Rebellion Racing have an ever-growing fan base, and enter the 2013 campaign with their Lola with F1 refugee Nick Heidfeld, former A1GP champ Neel Jani and Nicolas Prost in their first full time entry, with Italian Andrea Bellicchi, Swiss driver Mathias Beche & DTM refugee Congfu Cheng.

Strakka Racing have a single HPD car to race with, and fill it with three Brits in Nick Leventis, Danny Watts & Jonny Kane, three Brits who are always up for a fight on track.

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LMP1 Entry List

Audi Sport Team Joest
1 – Andre Lotterer – Germany / Benoit Treluyer – France / Marcel Fassler – Switzerland
2 – Tom Kristensen – Denmark / Allan McNish – Great Britain / Loic Duval – France
3* – Marc Gene – Spain / Oliver Jarvis – Great Britain / Lucas di Grassi – Brazil

Toyota Racing
7 – Alexander Wurz – Austria / Nicolas Lapierre – France / Kazuki Nakajima – Japan
8 – Anthony Davidson – Great Britain / Sebastian Buemi – Switzerland / Stephane Sarrazin – France

Rebellion Racing
12 – Nicolas Prost – France / Neel Jani – Switzerland / Nick Heidfeld – Germany
13# – Andrea Bellicchi – Italy / Mathias Beche – Switzerland / Congfu Cheng – China

Strakka Racing
21 – Nick Leventis – Great Britain / Danny Watts – Great Britain / Jonny Kane – Great Britain

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2013 World Endurance Championship
– LMP2

These teams in the LMP2 class do not have the backing of the manufactuers the LMP1 teams do.  Oak Racing will be using their Morgan LMP2 cars this year, with Frenchman Olivier Pla being joined by single-seater refugee Alex Brundle and Danish driver David Heinemeier Hansson in car number 24, whilst former Formula Renault 3.5 Champion & one time Indycar driver Bertrand Baguette is joined by British driver Martin Plowman, himself once in Indycars, and former GP2 driver Ricardo Gonzalez in the #35.

The Delta-ADR & G-Drive Racing teams both have Oreca 03’s to work with in 2013.  Delta’s top driver is Brazilian Antonio Pizzonia, who drove for Jaguar and Williams in Formula 1.  He’s joined by British driver James Walker and Thai driver Tor Graves in the #25.  G-Drive have former Indycar driver Mike Conway alongside former A1GP & Superleague driver John Martin of Australia and Russian driver Roman Rusinov.

Gulf Racing Middle East have two Lola B12/80 Chassis’ to drive in 2013.  They haven’t announced more than one driver per car at present and will miss the first round at Silverstone.

Lotus have got to be a team to look out for in 2013 with its two T128’s.  The #31 sees former Formula 1 driver Vitantonio Liuzzi team up with French driver Christophe Bouchet and American Kevin Weeda, while the #32 sees German Thomas Holzer, Austrian Dominik Kraihamer and Czech driver Jan Charouz unite.

Four drivers will share the #41 entry from Greaves Motorsport, with the Zytek Z11SN being driven by Americans Chris Dyson & Michael Marsal, and British driver Tom Kimber-Smith.  Kimber-Smith will leave the #41 for the #42 when they announce their second car, which should be seen in time for Le Mans.

Argentinian team PeCom Racing have entered an Oreca 03 into the series in 2013, to be driven by Argentine Luiz Perez Companc, German Pierre Kaffer and French former Le Mans winner Nicolas Minassian.  Minassian in particular should be one to watch in the #49.  Chinese squad KCMG appear with a Morgan Nissan with Brit Matthew Howson, Swiss driver Alexander Impertoni, and Chinese driver Jim Ka To.

Unfortunately due to budget issues, the Starworks & HVM Status teams have both withdrawn their entries for the season.  HVM Status hope to run at Le Mans for the 24 hours event however.

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LMP2 Entry List

Oak Racing
24 – Olivier Pla – France / Alex Brundle – Great Britain / David Heinemeier Hansson – Denmark
35 – Bertrand Baguette – Belgium / Martin Plowman – Great Britain / Ricardo Gonzalez – Mexico
45 – Jacques Nicolet – France / Jean-Marc Merlin – France / TBA – TBA

Delta-ADR
25 – Tor Graves – Thailand / Antonio Pizzonia – Brazil / James Walker – Great Britain

G-Drive Racing
26 – Roman Rusinov – Russia / Mike Conway – Great Britain / John Martin – Australia

Gulf Racing Middle East
28 – Fabien Giroix – France / TBA – TBA / TBA – TBA
29 – Frederic Fatien – Ivory Coast / TBA – TBA / TBA – TBA

HVM Status GP
30 – Jonathan Kennard – Great Britain / TBA – TBA / TBA – TBA

Lotus
31 – Kevin Weeda – United States / Christophe Bouchet – France / Vitantonio Liuzzi – Italy
32 – Thomas Holzer – Germany / Dominik Kraihamer – Austria / Jan Charouz – Czech Republic

Greaves Motorsport
41 – Chris Dyson – United States / Michael Marsal – United States / Tom Kimber-Smith – Great Britain
42# – Tom Kimber-Smith – Great Britain / TBA – TBA / TBA – TBA

PeCom Racing
49 – Luiz Perez Companc – Argentina / Pierre Kaffer – Germany / Nicolas Minassian – France

KCMG
47 – Alexander Impertoni – Switzerland / Matthew Howson – Great Britain / Jim Ka To – China

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2013 World Endurance Championship –
LMGTE Pro

The Le Mans Grand Touring Endurance class sees the AF Corse team show off their Ferrari 458 Italia GT2’s with a host of former Formula 1 drivers.  Italian Gianmaria Bruni, who drove for Minardi & Giancarlo Fisichella, who won races for Jordan and Renault, share the #51, the third driver yet to be announced.  The #71 sees popular Japanese driver Kamui Kobayashi share with another ex-F1 race in Monagasque driver Olivier Berretta, who raced for Larrousse in 1994.  Their third driver is Finnish driver Toni Vilander, who raced in GP2 and in the FIA GT Championship in recent years.

The Porsche AG Team Manthey team have two 911 RSR’s entered for the 2013 season.  The #91 sees Germans Jorg Bergmeister, a former GT winner of Le Mans 24 hours & Timo Bernhard, a former outright Le Mans winner share with Frenchman Patrick Pilet.  The #92 sees another former outright Le Mans winner in Romain Dumas share with Marc Lieb and Richard Lietz, both twice GT2 Le Mans winners.

Aston Martin Racing have two Vantage GTE’s to play with.  Darren Turner, twice a GT1 class winner at Le Mans shares the #97 with German racer Stefan Mucke and Brazilian Bruno Senna.  The #98 sees Frenchman Frederic Makowiecki team with Portuguese driver Pedro Lamy and Canadian Paul Della Anna.  Senna’s presence at Aston Martin should bring the team some publicity.

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LMGTE Pro
Entry List

AF Corse
51 – Gianmaria Bruni – Italy / Giancarlo Fisichella – Italy / TBA – TBA
71 – Kamui Kobayashi – Japan / Toni Vilander – Finland / Olivier Beretta – Monaco

Porsche AG Team Manthey
91 – Jorg Bergmeister – Germany / Patrick Pilet – France / Timo Bernhard – Germany
92 – Romain Dumas – France / Marc Lieb – Germany / Richard Lietz – Austria

Aston Martin Racing
97 – Darren Turner – Great Britain / Stefan Mucke – Germany / Bruno Senna – Brazil
99 – Frederic Makowiecki – France / Pedro Lamy – Portugal / Paul Dalla Anna – Canada

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2013 World Endurance Championship
– LMGTE Am

The Le Mans Grand Touring Endurance Amateur class is open to GTE cars that are a year or more old without any additional modifications from the previous year.  The Larbre Competition team has a couple of Chevrolet Corvette C6.R’s at their disposal, with Frenchmen Patrick Bornhause & Julien Canal teaming up with Fernando Rees of Brazil in the #50, while Cooper MacNeil of the United States teaming up with Frenchmen Manuel Rodriguez and Philippe Dumas in the #70.

Krohn Racing is a team owned by and raced for by American Tracy Krohn.  He has a Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 to race with, and teams up with Swedish Niclas Jonsson and Italian Maurizio Mediani for this year in the #57.  AF Corse have a team in this class as well as the Pro class, again with a Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 car, with Brit Jack Gerber, Irish driver Matt Griffin, and Italian Marco Cioci driving the #61.

French team IMSA Performance Matmut have entered two Porsche 997 GT3-RSR cars into the 2013 WEC.  In the #47, they have Frenchmen Pascal Gibon and Patrice Milesi, alongside German Wolf Henzler.  The #76 sees former Indy Lights champion Jean-Karl Vernay alongside two other Frenchmen in Raymond Narac and Christophe Bourret.  Only the #76 is competing at Silverstone.

Another team with a Ferrari 458 Italia GT2 car at their disposal is the 8Star Motorsports team.  Venezuelan driver Enzo Potoilicchio teams up with Portuguese driver Rui Aguas and Swiss driver Philipp Peter.  A Porsche 997 GT3-RSR is entered by the Proton Competition team with German Christian Ried teaming up with Italians Gianluca Roda & Paolo Ruberti.

The last team sees Aston Martin Racing enter two more Vantage GTE cars alongside its Pro effort.  The #95 is an all Danish-team, with Allan Simonsen, Christoffer Nygaard and Kristian Poulsen driving.  The #96 sees German Roald Goethe alongside Brits Jamie Campbell-Walker & Stuart Hall.

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LMGTE Am
Entry List

Larbre Competition
50 – Patrick Bornhauser – France / Julien Canal – France / Fernando Rees – Brazil
70# – Cooper MacNeil – United States / Manuel Rodriguez – France / Philippe Dumas – France

Krohn Racing
57 – Tracy Krohn – United States / Niclas Jonsson – Sweden / Maurizio Mediani – Italy

AF Corse
61 – Jack Gerber – Great Britain / Matt Griffin – Ireland / Marco Cioci – Italy

IMSA Performance Matmut
67#  – Pascal Gibon – France / Patrice Milesi – France / Wolf Henzler – Germany
76 – Raymond Narac – France / Jean-Karl Vernay – France / Christophe Bourret – France

8Star Motorsport
81 – Enzo Potolicchio – Venezuela / Rui Aguas – Portugal / Philipp Peter – Austria

Proton Competition
88 – Christian Ried – Germany / Gianluca Roda – Italy / Paolo Ruberti – Italy

Aston Martin Racing
95 – Allan Simonsen – Denmark / Christoffer Nygaard – Denmark / Kristian Poulsen – Denmark
96 – Roald Goethe – Germany / Jamie Campbell-Walter – Great Britain / Stuart Hall – Great Britain

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2013 World Endurance Championship Race Schedule

Round 1 – 6 Hours of Silverstone – 14th April; Round 2 – 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps – 04th May; Round 3 – 24 Heures du Mans – 22nd June; Round 4 – 6 Hours of Sao Paulo – 01st September; Round 5 – 6 hours of Circuit of the Americas – 22nd September; Round 6 – 6 Hours of Fuji – 20 October; Round 7 – 6 Hours of Shanghai – 10th October; Round 8 – 6 Hours of Bahrain – 30th November.

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