ABOUT FIA WORLD ENDURANCE CHAMPIONSHIP.
A CHALLENGE OF SPEED
The current FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) was launched in 2012 and is now entering its fifth year. The WEC series traces its history back to 1953 when the World Championship for Sports Cars was launched, becoming the Endurance Championship in 1981. The current WEC series was born out of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup, which was also organized by the ACO and ran for two years from 2010-2011.
The crown jewel of the WEC is inarguably Le Mans, an endurance race steeped in history and tradition. TOYOTA GAZOO Racing is going after the championship, as well as focusing on developing cutting edge innovations in hybrid technology.
The competing cars are classified into prototype sports cars and Grand Touring (GT) cars, which compete in four classes—LMP1 and LMP2 for prototype sports cars and LMGTE-Pro and LMGTE-Am for GT cars—and all run together in the same race. In the LMP1 class, the manufacturers must compete with hybrid cars equipped the latest technologies. Under the sporting regulations the drivers are ranked by their experience and achievement in motorsport into Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze. Each class has specific requirements on driver lineups.
Le Mans prototype
Le Mans Prototypes are two-seaters with no limit on minimum production numbers required that cantake full advantage of state-of-the-art technology. As the name suggests, they are generally builtespecially for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but also for the WEC, ELMS and USCR (United Sport CarRacing series) races. Le Mans Prototypes are purpose-built for circuit racing, complying with ACOtechnical regulations, and utilizing cutting-edge technology that provides extreme performancelevels, making them the top status of endurance racing. Le Mans Prototypes are divided into twoclasses: LMP1 (usually reserved for manufacturers) and LMP2 (privateer entrants).
This is the very top class of the WEC— the class in which the TOYOTA TS050 HYBRID competes. The regulation for LMP1 has undergone significant change for the 2016 season. It is split into two classes. One is LMP1 (Non Hybrid) for privateer non-hybrids with a minimum weight of 855kg. The other is LMP1-H (Hybrid) for manufacturers’ works hybrid-powered cars with Energy Recovery System (ERS) and with a minimum weight of 875kg. Both of them must be closed cockpit, and the maximum width is 1,900mm. Engine capacity is not subject to restrictions; instead, there is limitation on energy consumption and fuel flow. Fuel tanks for petrol engine LMP1 are 67.4 liters, and LMP1-H are 62.5 liters. Fuel tanks for diesel engine LMP1 are 53.7 liters, and LMP1-H are 49.9 liters. No Bronze drivers are permitted to enter in this class.
This class is defined as being ‘a category especially for privateers’ and employs ‘cost capping’. They are open or closed cockpit cars of at least 900kg in weight. Only mass-produced engines are allowed, and they are limited to a maximum of 8 cylinders and 5,000cc capacity for normally-aspirated petrol cars, and 6 cylinders and 3,200cc for turbo/supercharged petrol cars. Diesel engines are not allowed. Fuel tanks are 75 liters. One of the drivers must be in Silver or Bronze category.
Le Mans Grand Touring Endurance
Le Mans GT Endurance cars are competition models based on a production sport car with two doors, either 2 or 2+2 seats, and a maximum width of 2,050mm. The class is separated into LMGTE Pro for professional drivers and LMGTE Am for gentleman (amateur) drivers.
A two-door production GT car with 2 or 2+2 seats, constructed by an ACO-recognized manufacturer. The maximum total length is 4,800mm, and the front and rear overhangs are a maximum of 1,250mm/1,100mm. The total width can be extended up to +100mm, but the total height and wheelbase must be the same as the original model. The minimum weight is 1,245kg, and maximum engine capacity is 5,500cc for NA petrol engines, 4,000cc for turbo/supercharged petrol engines. Fuel tanks are 90 liters.
This class is provided for gentleman drivers, and unlike the LMGTE Pro, the car must be at least one year old or have the same specifications as the car from the previous year. LMGTE Pro has no restrictions on the driver category while in LMGTE Am at least one Bronze and one Bronze or Silver must be included in a crew.
The 2016 WEC season will take place across nine countries this year, with newcomer Mexico taking the fifth round. The Silverstone Circuit (United Kingdom) will open the season in April; while the final race will take place at the Bahrain International Circuit (Bahrain). Race distances are six hours, with the exception of the Le Mans race.