ABOUT FIA WORLD ENDURANCE CHAMPIONSHIP.
World Championship with Grueling Endurance Races of 6 to 24 Hours
The FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) is a world endurance racing championship run by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) and the Automobile Club of the West of France (ACO), known for hosting the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The races are contested in a format where prototype cars and GT cars run together. The regulations stipulate that each race must be at least six hours long, and the longest race of the season is the 24 hour race at Le Mans as Round 4 of the series.
Although the current WEC started in 2012, the world endurance racing championships have a long history, dating back to 1953. A total of seven races were held that year, including the 12 Hours of Sebring, the Mille Miglia, the 24 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. World endurance championship races were also held in Japan, at Fuji Speedway from 1982 to 1988, at Suzuka Circuit from 1989 to 1992, at Autopolis in 1991, and annually at Fuji since 2012. In 2020 and 2021, these races had to be canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but in 2022, a round was once again held at Fuji for the first time in three years. In that race, fans were thrilled to watch a 1-2 finish by the cars of the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing team.
And this year, many of the world's leading automakers are entering the Hypercar class that TOYOTA GAZOO Racing participates in, as the WEC enters a new era.
The Championship and its Titles
The 2023 WEC will be contested in three classes: Hypercar, LMP2 and LMGTE Am. TOYOTA GAZOO Racing will compete for three titles in the Hypercar class, while the LMP2 and LMGTE Am classes each have two trophies to compete for, with championship points depending on the length of the race. Manufacturers (carmakers) competing in the FIA Hypercar World Endurance Championship can enter up to two cars. The Competition Rules stipulate that manufacturers entering more than two cars must compete in the FIA World Cup Hypercar Team Division.
The titles of the Hypercar class are as follows:
FIA Hypercar World Endurance Drivers Championship
FIA Hypercar World Endurance Manufacturer’s Championship
FIA World Cup Hypercar Team Division
A maximum of three drivers per car is allowed in each class. Drivers are classified into four categories based on their performance: Platinum, Gold, Silver, and Bronze, and the possible line-ups of a team’s drivers from these ranks are designated for each class according to the FIA Driver Classification Regulations.
One of the new features of the WEC Competition Rules for 2023 is the change in the way qualifying is conducted. Previously, two sessions for prototypes (Hypercar and LMP2) and GT cars (LMGTE Pro and LMGTE Am) were held for 10 minutes each, but from this year there are three 15-minute sessions for each class.
The Hypercar class and LMP2 class adopt one-make systems with a single designated supplier, and Michelin and Goodyear, respectively, will exclusively supply the tires for all car in these classes. In 2023, it was decided that any form of tire heating, such as tire warmers, will be banned.
The number of tire specs permitted for each race are as follows.
|Number of specs for dry-use tires||Number of specs
|24 Hours of Le Mans||Other races||Season overall|
The number of tires that can be used in each race is as follows (separate table below for the 24 Hours of Le Mans). There is no limit to the number of tires used in rainy weather.
|Free Practice||Qualifying and Race|
|6-hour races||8-hour races|
Number of tires at the 24 Hours of Le Mans
|Free practice and qualifying||HyperPole||Race|
Classes and participating car specifications
There are three classes, Hypercar, LMP2, and LMGTE Am, of which Hypercar is the pinnacle class, and this is the class that the TOYOTA GR010 HYBRID competes in. In addition to LMH vehicles, LMDh vehicles will be able to participate from 2023. On the other hand, non-hybrid LMP1 vehicles that were previously allowed to participate after performance adjustment are no longer permitted. The class of prototype cars for privateers is the LMP2 class. As for GT cars, the LMGTE Pro class was discontinued from 2022, so there will only be the LMGTE Am class this season.
This is the pinnacle class of the WEC, and LMH and LMDh cars can participate in it. There are no limits concerning driver classification, but Bronze class drivers are not allowed to participate. The base color of the race number is red. The tires are one-make Michelin tires. Performance Adjustment (BoP) is applied.
Le Mans Hypercar(LMH)
Cars that comply with the LMH technical regulations of the FIA and ACO are defined as prototype cars, and they can be designed to enhance the automaker's image with a "Hypercar" appearance. Also, cars complying to the Hypercar race specification can be legally driven on public roads. The average lap time in the 24 Hours of Le Mans race is expected to be 3 min. and 30 sec. Hypercars have a closed body, an overall length of less than 5,000 mm, an overall width of 2,000 mm or less, an overall height of 1,150 mm or more from the reference surface, and they have a minimum vehicle weight of 1,030 kg. There are no limits on engine displacement, number of cylinders, etc., and the adoption of a hybrid system is also permitted.
Le Mans Daytona h(LMDh)
From 2023, cars complying with the LMDh specifications will be able to participate in the Hyperper class. Many of the world's leading automobile manufacturers have entries in this class. Originally conceived as a regulation to replace IMSA's Daytona Proto (DPi) category in the United States, cars complying with this regulation can compete in the WEC and, of course, the IMSA series. These cars take as their base the next-generation LMP2 chassis manufactured by four companies, Oreca, Dallara, Ligier, and Multimatec, and they are required to be equipped with a standard hybrid system (consisting of a Bosch motor unit, Williams Advanced Engineering battery and an X-Truck gearbox) to reduce cost. However, it can be said that, overall, there is less degree of design and production freedom compared to the Hypercar regulation.
Le Mans Prototype 2(LMP2)
This is a prototype category limited to privateers independent of chassis constructors and engine suppliers. A budget cap system has been introduced for this class, and the applicable chassis manufactured by Dallara and the four other designated constructors have a maximum price limit. The engine is a 4.2-liter V8, NA (naturally aspirated) one-make spec supplied by Gibson Technology. The cars have a closed body with an overall length of 4,750 mm or less, a width of 1,800 mm to 1,900 mm, and an overall height of 1,050 mm or more. The minimum vehicle weight is 930 kg. The maximum fuel tank capacity is 75 liters. The race number plate base color is blue. As for driver line-ups, each driver team is required to include one Silver or Bronze rank driver.
Le Mans Grand Touring Endurance Am(LMGTE Am)
LMGTE cars must be FIA/ACO approved in the LMGTE category, four-wheel drive and four-wheel steering are prohibited, while traction control is permitted. Minimum values, etc., are not set for machine weight, fuel tank capacity, rear wing height, air restrictor, turbo boost pressure, etc. However, the cars are subject to BoP restrictions to be decided by the Endurance Committee.
LMGTE Am is a category for amateurs and the cars eligible for participation are defined as ones that are at least one season old or ones fully compliant with the specifications of previous seasons. The race number plate base color is orange. Driver line-ups must include at least one Bronze driver, plus one driver who can be either of Bronze or Silver rank. In addition, in the LMGTE Am class exclusively, cars entering the championship will be subject to Success Ballast (weights) allocations, with the exception of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
1000 MILES OF SEBRING
6 HOURS OF PORTIMAO
6 HOURS OF SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS
24 HOURS OF LE MANS
6 HOURS OF MONZA
6 HOURS OF FUJI
8 HOURS OF BAHRAINS