The FIA World Endurance Championship (#WEC) has reached the grand old age of 8(and a half!) or Season 8 is upon us in more formal terms. With the fluctuating fortune across the category its proving to be an interesting, enduring time filled once again with hope for the future and storming ahead in places. We know this is the last season of full flavour LMP1 cars, with the hybrids being restrained but the pace of the conventional ICE powered cars at all time highs.
Silverstone has delivered a fine surface for the 2019 edition of the unusual short 4-Hour Endurance race. Drivers have been highly complementary about it, it delivered an excellent MotoGP race last weekend, and the times in sessions to-date for the Le Mans Prototypes have been tumbling despite the added weight and restrictions.
LMP1 sees its very own Goliath, Toyota Hybrid TS050s, being weighed down and pelted with tools to bring their performance back to the non-hybrid Davids. Will we witness a slaying today? We doubt it, with controls (but substantial budgets) Toyota still have strength, and strategies to cope with the rebel alliance of Rebellion Racing and British upstarts Ginetta. Indeed with Fuji being the next round, one strategy for the Japanese Manufacturer might just be to sit back and take a back seat just to see what the opposition has, and potentially lose a little bit of weight.
We fully expect the Rebellion R13s now well evolved and tested to make a solid performance of today’s 4-hours. For Ginetta it is still early steps for the G60 though it has of course finished Le Mans, to be competitive and successful seems a “Big Ask”, but aim for the stars and a sound competitive result/finish may be a just dessert.
In LMP2 we await a revamp of the category as it has evolved into Oreca producing the sharpest tool, slaying competitors ar will and the racing purely based upon driver performance, strategy calls and efficient pit work.
Late Driver line-up changes have been the order of the day here. Maldonado departed from Jota #38 before the Goodyear liveried car had rolled a wheel, and unfortunately a rib based karting incident has led to Anthony Davidson also being side-lined. Strangely this could give the car a modest advantage/opportunity, Roberto Gonzalez and replacement (for Maldonado) Antonio Felix Da Costa will have an excellent afternoon double-plus stinting in the glorious late summer sun at Silverstone.
The #42 Cool Racing car has also been reduced to a two driver starting line-up as Alex Coigny knocked about in an incident in the ELMS yesterday is not fit enough to participate.
The GTE-Pro category has been through its peak of 5 manufacturers, though in reality only 4 turned up with the equipment and inclination to move the collective on to a higher level of performance. We now return to the 3, Aston Martin, Ferrari and Porsche that are the rockbed of the category.
We fully expect a 4-hour battle royale from the three manufacturers and its likely to be the team that gets the cleanest run and a lucky stop that will come out on top. The Pit entry at Silverstone may under certain circumstances deliver that advantage as it cuts out some quite slow corners on this fast circuit. Look for a team to exploit track position, Safety Car or FCY moment
In GTE-Am we have multiple teams running the 3 different cars mentioned in -Pro so the blend of that with the challenges faced in LMP2 are prevalent. Strategy with the lowest ranked driver in each car having to complete 90-mins of the race, with cars that average a 60-min stint will force some interesting strategies, and it could all come down to when the least experienced driver is behind the wheel and the SC or FCY time they spend driving plus getting the above timing right. Its a little random but should deliver an interesting few rolls of the dice…
SCG’s Nick Holland sat down with Ross Gunn (AMR) to discuss the line-up, season and prospects for the #98 in this race. Hear more Here.
As ever when you look up and down the WEC field and consider the colour coded categories you will always find a fight/battle going on. S0 enjoy these categories one last time this year as from Season 9 further change will be upon us and the tools to manage the racing will be even stronger.
Coverage of the 4-hours of Silverstone (#4hSilverstone) can be found on Eurosport, BT Sport and the WEC app. If you can’t sit for 4-hours then take RadioLeMans.com coverage with you on your mobile device. Even better get trackside and see it with your own eyes. Lets Race!
GTE-Am – Strategy
Christian Reid Mr WEC
david heinemeier hansson baby due David Kolkmann standing in at #56
Andrew Watson McLaren Academy
Red River story Mowlem & Grimes