|8.2.2012||New entry to World GT Championship(FIA GT)
SRO announced today a fifth team to enter their premier championship. It will race Ferraris, the team name is to be announced yet. Thus the World GT1 Championship has 10 cars entered and there is a prospect of a few more.
|18.1.2012||Peugeot announcement(Le Mans)
Peugeot announced today they are stopping their Endurance programme with an immediate effect. There will be no factory car either in the new WEC or in Le Mans.
|16.1.2012||Morgan back to Le Mans(Le Mans)
According to today's press news from OAK, the 2012 OAK-Pescarolos will be entered as Morgans trying to emulate the achievement of the Morgan Super Sport that took class victory at the 1962 Le Mans 24 Hours. The cars will be manufactured by Onroak Automotive, OAK Racing’s constructor department. One Morgan LMP2 will be entered in this year’s FIA World Endurance Championship. From the press release is not quite clear how the customer cars will be branded, but in any case another manufacturer with a long history is officially joing the LMP field.
|2.12.2011||World GT Championship goes GT3 route(FIA GT)
Despite Stephane Ratel claimed two years ago that it was needed to have unique cars in the World Championship, which are not raced in common national championships to make it worth the title and attract spectators, now he released quite opposite idea: "The unification of the GT1 World and GT3 European Championships' technical and sporting regulations is the best solution to guarantee the growth of the sprint format for GT cars and progress toward the ultimate goal of 10 teams representing 10 brands in the World Championship". This means that GT1 cars are no more and the GT3 specification cars would race next year for the World Championship crown. This seems to be a good idea, though GT2/GTE would probably be better, however all that could have been in place two years ago, had Ratel listened to arguments of all other interested parties. Similar clearly wrong decision was made by the SRO head already in 1999 when he claimed that it is better for the FIA GT Championship to field just one class (following a demise of his GT1/LMP Sprints). This did not work well and after a single season a new N-GT was added along with quite contradicting arguments he had had a year before. Can you remember anybody making such obviously bad decisions requiring such opposite corrections, and at the same time keeping himself at the top sports car business for so many year more or less successfully? Other announced change is that the unbeloved Qualifying/Championship Race format will be adopted also for the FIA GT3 European Championship. The reason might be an expected lack of entries in both championships and possible joint race meetings. Should this kind of changes continue for several more seasons, we may expect even more teams opting for Blancpain Endurance series, which has already become the most interesting SRO championship in its first season anyway.
|12.11.2011||WEC calendar published(Le Mans)
Recently published race calendar of the new FIA World Endurance Championship revealed a few surprising things which may not have been expected. We would say that only positive change is increase of the number of races from sever to eight. But apart from that, it is very disappointing not to have the Petit Le Mans race there. Moreover it is clashing with a WEC race in Bahrain, which has absolutely no tradition in the world of endurance racing, similarly as several other venues. We also expected that if there is a Brasilian race, it would be the Mil Milhas with a tradition longer than half century, not a completely new 6 hours of Sao Paolo. China could also see a race on a new (to endurance racing) track in Shanghai, though it is not yet confirmed. On the other side, another highlight of the calendar is a return of Fuji 6 Hour race in Japan, which was part of the WEC since 1982 and usually faced best WEC entries outside the Le Mans 24 Hour.
Generally, despite a good news about establishing the new World Endurance Championship after 20 years, we have some mixed feelings about the selection of the races. Back in 1953 when the first World Championship was started, it was based on great, well established and visited events, while now it seems they are trying to establish some of the events by inclusion them into the championship, while some widely established races are ignored. Time will tell whether this was a good decision.
|11.11.2011||LMS race in Brno confirmed(LMS)
The Le Mans Series race in Brno is now confirmed and it will be held on 9th September 2012.
|14.10.2011||Toyota announced LMP1 programme today(Le Mans)
Japanese manufacturer Toyota announced today that they will enter 24 Hours of Le Mans next year along with additional selected races of the World Endurance Championship. The operation will be based on Toyota Motorsport GmbH in Cologne, Germany, where the car is already being designed as a hybrid powered LMP1 Coupé.
|4.9.2011||Le Mans Series to Brno in 2012?(LMS)
According to the Czech local press there are currently negotiations between the Brno circuit and LMS organisation regarding a race in 2012. The decision should be made by middle of this month. The race would replace the WTCC race in Brno which will be discontinued next year.
|19.8.2011||Fuji 1000 Kilometres?(International)
According to some rumours in Japan, the former traditional Japanese Endurance race may return next year as a part of the new World Endurance Championship. It would be a good news, as inclusion of this race in 1982 led to an increased Japanese involvement in sports-prototype racing during the 80's in general, but we will have to wait yet whether this is confirmed or not.
|27.7.2011||MG officially returns(LMS)
Another manufacturer will be officially present in endurance racing. MG Motor UK today announced that they will return to sports car racing by supporting existing team RLR Msport, racing older MG Lola EX265 in the Le Mans Series. MG will have official presence with team RLR in Silverstone and Estoril, the last two races of the Le Mans Series.
|22.7.2011||LMS plans for 2012 announced(LMS)
Le Mans Series revealed today their plans for the 2012 season. Basically said, LMP1 is dropped completely, which is probably the only bad part of the statement. Back in 1979-1981 three-litre sports car were allowed and nobody cared if none, one or five of them were running. And the races were really more attractive than without them. On the other hand, having several LMP2 cars running for overall wins may also help the development of the sports car scene in the near future. Apart from existing GTE and FLM classes, a new GTC formed by one-make series will be added. Expected entry is about 20-25 prototypes and similar number of GT's. Another good thing is that the races will be still pure endurance events, 6 hours long, and they will be held on famous tracks around Europe. None of the track or date will be shared with the WEC races, so there is a good prospect for endurance sports car racing future in Europe.
|21.7.2011||Level 5 Motorsport switch to HPD(LMS)
The team that almost won the LMP2 in the last ILMC race at Imola with their Lola Spyder announced today that they switch to the latest HPD chassis called ARX-01g. First two cars built will be reserved for the Level 5 team. The new car will conform with the latest ACO cost-capped rules that were introduced this season, which gives the team better chances for class victories. Two cars will be fielded in two American Le Mans Series races, Petit Le Mans and 6 Hours of Laguna Seca. The plan is, of course, to continue this partnership with Honda in 2012. Does it mean the end of coupe cars in LMP2, or will Lotus LMP2 emerge soon? So far, information is that Lotus coupe project, which was due by end of the year, is delayed.
|3.7.2011||Peugeot wins 6 Ore di Imola(LMS)
Endurance racing returned to Imola this weekend after more than a quarter of century (last 1000 km race here was held in 1984 and was won by a famous group C Porsche 956 driven by Stuck/Bellof ahead of seven identical cars and a Lancia LC2). This year it was part of the new ILMC cup, which joint with the Le Mans Series attracted a full grid of 48 cars. One more was withdrawn following a crash in practice. Several other cars were also withdrawn, already before the meeting. This allowed all reserves to take part in the race. The Imola track is shorter than for example Spa, so both championships originally attracted larger entry than Imola can accommodate. The most notable early withdrawal was the Oreca Peugeot, which was not fully prepared after the Le Mans race and the team opted to skip this race despite starting the ILMC season with an overall win at Sebring. Peugeot and Audi, both took two cars and they were of course clear favourites for the podium. Both makes originally seems to be well matched and they ran ordered as #7, #1, #8 and #2 from the grid and early in the race. Unfortunately Audi were not able to keep the pace in the middle of the race, so Peugeots lapped Audi #2 during the 3rd hour and the remaining Audi #1 in the next hour and it was decided. At least between Peugeot and Audi. Both manufacturers then provided some close inter-marquee battles, which finally saw Bourdais and Davidson as winners. Rebellion Lola took other two places after some early battle with an OAK Pescarolo #15, which later disappeared from TOP10 but still finished 33rd. Factory Pescarolo was a bit outpaced but still gathered nice seventh position in the finish.
The LMP2 class was long led by Oreca TDS #46 but they suffered troubles in the fifth hour. This resulted in a surprising leader of the class - the Level 5 Motorsport Lola Spyder, which replaced their usual nice but slow coupe (low because of the rules handicap it). Unfortunately some 30 minutes before the finish the car suffered engine problems and after couple of pit stops slowly finished the race but Bouchut at the wheel was happy to secure the third place in class ahead of another Lola Spyder. First place belonged to the Zytek of team Greaves ahead of Signatech Oreca Nissan, the only surviving Oreca 03 after having dominated early stages of the LMP2 race.
The GTE class was originally controlled by the two factory BMWs but later they faded away to allow two Ferraris of AF Corse take the honours. One BMW grabbed remaining podium finish ahead of Porsche duo (Felbermayr & IMSA Matmut). The amateur part of the class had two Porsches at the top followed by a lone Corvette in the race. Sadly both nice new Lotuses Evoras retired within the first hour of the race after keeping the very last positions.
Further reports and photos from the race meeting will follow at the end of the next week.
|1.7.2011||Porsche announces LMP1 factory programme(Le Mans)
Yesterday Porsche officially revealed they are planning to entered sports prototype racing with a factory LMP1 car and the target is another win in Le Mans - officially 17th, though three of the wins counted to Porsche were scored by other makes - twice TWR and once Dauer. So more correctly Porsche make won Le Mans 13 times followed by ten Audi and nine Ferrari victories.
|12.6.2011||Audi wins Le Mans in a closest finish since 1969(Le Mans)
The only surviving Audi R18 driven by Benoit Tréluyer, Marcel Fässler and Andre Lotterer won the famous Le Mans 24 Hour race in a closest finish here for many decades. After a huge accident of McNish at the end of the first hour followed by another big Audi crash before the midnight, it really did not look well for the Audi team despite they seemed to be slightly quicker than the Peugeots. However the remaining Audi ran quite trouble free, it was usually lapping faster than the Peugeots and the advantage of Peugeot, which was a lower fuel consumption, was partly eliminated by unfortunate timing of the several safety car periods, which in the end might have decided that Peugeot, which finished only 13 seconds behind the winning Audi, lost the race once again. Other three Peugeots took the next positions, with the private Oreca car fifth. It was a sad day for the returning Pescarolo team, which ran well fifth overall some two hours before the finish, when a slight rain fell on the track and Collard crashed the car hitting a wall.
Greaves Zytek won the LMP2 class ahead of Signatech Oreca Nissan, which was faster but suffered two major punctures, and surprisingly Lola Coupe of team Level 5 Motorsports. Unfortunatelly well running OAK Pescarolo suffered a broken suspension in the final lap and lost its fourth position in class and dropped two places in overall standings actually finishing 14th.
The GT class was won by a factory Chevrolet Corvette C6 after their first car crashed when Magnussen lost control over the car taking one of the Felbermayr Porsches along to the wall. The Corvette was followed by a Ferrari, BMW and three Porsches. A good result in GT also belonged to new Lotus, which finished seventh, and a Ford GT, which took a podium in a separate amateur GT classification behind winning Chevrolet Corvette and a Porsche 997, both entered by Larbre Competition.
|4.6.2011||FIA World Endurance Championship announced!!(International)
After twenty years of hiatus, the official FIA World Endurance Championship is back next year! This great news is a result of yesterday's meeting between FIA and ACO held in Barcelona. It was also announced that a new GT World Class will be created to replace currently defunct GT1 group. This class will consist of balanced GT1, GT2 and GT3 cars and will compete in revamped FIA GT World Championship. GTE class remains as a separate GT class for endurance races, while the GT World will be still competing in two 1-hour sprints. There are no any further details about the new World Endurance Championship but it would be very similar to the current ILMC schedule, i.e. about seven races including the Le Mans 24 Hour as its highlight of the season.
|14.5.2011||Change in FIA GT1 World Championship?(FIA GT)
Latest rumours suggest that the World Championship for GT cars might see not only GT1 cars next year. In fact to allow GT2/GTE or GT3 cars seemed to have been the only solution to save this championship as the entry had shank from last year's 23-24 cars to 17-18 this year and there are no new cars in sight to be built. Honestly, this could have been expected already before the introduction of the new GT1 class when all manufacturers but Nissan expressed their interest in GT2-like cars, not in GT1 with almost no market.
|12.3.2011||Le Mans Series split from ILMC in 2012?(LMS)
The Le Mans Series season has just started with a testing weekend and it has already been announced that the organisers are aiming for a completely separate schedule from ILMC next year. The given reason is that more than half of the LMS races are part of ILMC. So, if the plans go ahead and there would be two ACO-based races at the same track and different dates as currently suggested, could we then see for example two Spa 1000 Kilometres races in a single season?
We really do not like this idea. It is always better to have stronger field and to see one great race than to travel day and night twice to see two average races. If Patrick Peter wants to have more ILMC-independent races than those that are part of ILMC, a full schedule of 7 or more LMS races per season would be more sensitive option, we believe.
|17.9.2010||Aston Martin LMP1(Le Mans)
Factory Aston Martin recently confirmed their LMP1 two-year programme. Unfortunately the new car is not a coupe, which appears to be too complicated for the small factory, but at least we can expect a true Aston Martin in the top class, which should now pursue a more level playing field between the diesels and petrol engined cars. The problem is that the diesel technology progressed much quicker over the past few years while there was not the same space for an improvement of the classic engines.
|24.7.2010||Ford GT for Le Mans(Le Mans)
Matech Racing, the team, which after a long hiatus returned a famous Ford make back to the Le Mans 24 Hour race this year, was found disappointed by a fact that their current GT1 cars will not be eligible for Le Mans 2011. So they decided to built a new car for the new Le Mans GT Endurance category in order to be able to continue in ACO racing. The new Matech Ford GT will be based on the current car and the delivery will start in December later this year. Estimated price will be €500 000.