Posts tagged world endurance championship
Filed under: Motorsports
The 15th running of Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta is slated for this weekend, and there promises to be plenty of exciting racing in the last event of the American Le Mans Series. Despite being dropped from the World Endurance Championship in favor of the 6 Hours of Bahrain, the field of cars remains bountiful thanks to the European Le Mans Series joining in and making the 10-hour endurance race its series finale as well.
To set the starting order for tomorrow’s race, each of the teams ran a 15 minute qualifying session this afternoon split up by class.
In P1 the Rebellion Racing Lola-Toyota qualified on pole, just ahead of the Muscle Milk Racing HPD ARX-03a that has dominated the class in ALMS this year. Rebillion Racing finished 5th in last year’s event and are looking to add a victory at Petit Le Mans to their extensive list of wins already achieved this year.
In the hotly contested GT class it was a pair of Extreme Speed Ferrari 458 Italias leading the way in a 1-2, followed by BMW and Corvette. The SRT Viper team, constantly improving since their debut at Mid-Ohio, qualified in 6th and 10th.
Check out the complete list of qualifying times here (PDF), and check out our photos from the practice and qualifying sessions in the gallery above.
When Porsche launches a new 911, it doesn’t just launch one model, it starts a process that will see literally dozens of variants to follow. Some with turbos, some without. Some with all-wheel drive, some driving just the rear. Coupes, convertibles, targas, lightweight models, and yes, even racing versions.
The 911, after all, is one of the most prolific racing cars on circuits around the world. This example, however, is not based on the new 911. What you see here is still based on the old 997. But it is the pinnacle of Porsche Motorsport’s range of customer racing cars.
The new GT3 RSR is built to race in the ACO’s GTE category, making it instantly eligible for competition in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Le Mans Series, the American Le Mans Series and the new FIA World Endurance Championship, as well as the International GT Open and a variety of other series and events.
Its 4.0-liter boxer six drives 460 horsepower (kept in check by a mandatory air restrictor) to the rear wheels via a six-speed sequential gearbox. Porsche has also fitted larger wheels front and rear, and given it a completely new aero package to keep it glued to the tarmac, slicing through the air and at front of the pack.
The best part is that you can buy one yourself. That is, assuming you’ve got half a million euros (about $675k) to spend on a track toy. Either way, you can check it out in the high-res image gallery and the press release after the jump.
Toyota is dead serious about its new Le Mans effort. To that end, the Japanese auto giant is developing an all-new hybrid LMP1 racer, it has retained the considerable services of Team Oreca to help with trackside logistics, and it has now announced its driver lineup. And make no mistake about it, these are no rookies.
Headlining the roster is Alex Wurz, who holds the title as the youngest winner in the history of Le Mans. The Austrian driver won again for Peugeot two years ago, and he has also taken the checkered flag at the Petit Le Mans, the Spa 1,000km and the Sebring 12 Hours, to name just a few. And as if that weren’t enough, he’s also an accomplished former Formula One driver, having driven for and scored podium finishes for a variety of teams including Benetton, McLaren and Williams (though not Toyota).
Joining Wurz will be Nicolas Lapierre, a French driver with a distinguished record in both lower formula racing (like F3 and A1GP) and endurance racing, including a win at Sebring this year. Finally, Toyota has added Kazuki Nakajima (one of Japan’s best F1 drivers of the modern era) to the team that will be developing and fielding the new LMP1 at La Sarthe and other FIA World Endurance Championship races next season. The car is expected to make its debut “early in the new year” at a yet-to-be-determined European venue.
Toyota recruits top drivers for new Le Mans program originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 07 Nov 2011 18:20:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Its services have also been solicited by automakers looking to challenge various racing classes, including development and production of the Dodge Viper Competition Coupe and the successful campaigning of the Mazda 787B at Le Mans in 1991. Oreca also worked with Toyota to prepare of the Corolla that Alain Prost drove in the Andros Trophy ice racing series.
Toyota isn’t looking for help from Oreca to build or develop its new hybrid LMP1 racer – that’s being done in-house. Instead, the automaker is soliciting Oreca’s services to actually field the car at Le Mans and other races in the new FIA World Endurance Championship starting next year. Follow the jump for the official announcement.
Toyota will reportedly challenge diesel-burning entries from Audi and Peugeot at the 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans by fielding a hybrid prototype LMP1 racer of its own. The Japanese automaker is expected to participate in a handful of 2012 FIA World Endurance Championship races, but its main focus will be on winning the grueling 24-hour event in France.
The LMP1 prototype is a custom-built racer with Toyota Motorsports Gmbh handling chassis development and design duties, while Japan’s Toyota Motor will engineer its hybrid powertrain.
According to Autocar, development of Toyota’s gas-electric LMP1 is “well underway” and the racecar is expected to make its on-track debut in January of 2012.
Tadashi Yamashina, Toyota senior managing officer, told Autocar:
Toyota Motor Corporation has entered Le Mans before but by using our hybrid technology this time will be a completely new challenge. We want to write a new page in the history of the Le Mans 24 Hours, as well as in the FIA World Endurance Championship, through our use of hybrid technology.
The last time Toyota competed at Le Mans was with the GT-One (pictured) back in 1999. Toyota has never won the 24-hour event, but hope springs eternal. Let the hybrid versus diesel battle commence.
Toyota to return to Le Mans with LMP1 hybrid in 2012 originally appeared on AutoblogGreen on Fri, 14 Oct 2011 17:41:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Toyota has announced that it is returning to the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile’s World Endurance Championship in 2012. The car it will be contesting the series with is a new prototype that will use a hybrid gasoline/electric powertrain. We can only hope the experience will equal more exciting future models under the Prius range…
The last time Toyota competed in Le Mans racing was in 1999, just before the Japanese automaker abandoned the GT-One program to focus on Formula One.
We don’t expect Toyota’s new LMP1 racer to have anything in common with the erstwhile GT-One, which was powered by a 600-horsepower 3.6-liter twin-turbo V8 engine. Though always fast, Toyota’s last-gen endurance racer never quite put together a complete race. Here’s hoping the effort produces more consistent results this time around. Check out the official announcement after the break.
Filed under: Motorsports
There’s a lot of changes going on in the world of sports car racing, the bulk of them resulting from the rekindled friendship between the ACO (which organizes Le Mans and its related series) and the FIA (which until now governed just about every other form of motorsport). However, the FIA’s own GT racing championships have also had their own fluctuations over the past few years.
What started out as the FIA GT Championship then split into the GT1 World Championship, GT3 European Championship and GT4 European Cup. The classes are set to rejoin next year, though, as the SRO which organizes them on the FIA’s behalf has announced the formation of the new FIA GT World Championship.
Rather than have a variety of cars competing in different classes, SRO and the FIA are working to equalize the performance of existing cars to have them all fighting for the same prize. As a result, organizers are expecting a bigger grid. Teams representing Aston Martin, Audi, BMW, Ferrari, Ford, Lamborghini and Nissan are all expected to return from the current GT1 series, while talks are also underway to bring Mercedes-Benz, Alpina and Chevrolet teams to the grid. With all these challengers lining up, we’d be surprised not to see any Porsches jumping in, too.
The series is expected to return to circuits across Europe, Asia and South America next season, however discussions are underway to expand to such locations as Australia, Russia and even North America in the near future.
So what’s the difference between the reformatted FIA GT Championship and the new FIA World Endurance Championship also starting next year? In two words, race length. While the latter will go with the ACO’s format of round-the-clock racing, the former will stick with the current series’ one-hour sprint-race format.
A whole lot of stars need to be aligned in order to get a good slew of manufacturers fielding factory works teams in any major racing series. But those factors seem to be coming together at the pinnacle of endurance racing.
With the FIA and the ACO getting along with a new World Endurance Championship, more cost-effective regulations in place and an unsurpassed spectacle to showcase their metal and their mettle, more and more manufacturers are flocking to Le Mans. And not just for the GT classes, either.
With Audi and Peugeot dueling for top honors, Aston Martin also graduated from its dominance of the GT classes to the top-tier LM1 category as well. Porsche has announced its impending return for 2014, Toyota is reportedly preparing an assault of its own, and now word on the street circuit is that Jaguar is gearing up to take on the LMP1 class as well.
The program reportedly has the enthusiastic blessing of parent company Tata Motors, and if it comes to fruition, would mark the first time the marque has competed at Le Mans since 1991, the year after it won its seventh 24 Hours of Le Mans in the Silk Cut XJR-12.
Mending a rift in motor racing is good for everybody. It was good for American open-wheel racing when the Champ Car and IndyCar Series put aside their differences to rejoin forces. And it will be good for sports car racing now that the FIA and the ACO are in the same corner.
Just as Indy is set to grow with new manufacturers participating, so is it expected of the new FIA World Endurance Championship. Toyota is one of the major automakers reportedly working on a new LMP1 program, and now reports indicate that the Chrysler Group could be preparing to rejoin endurance racing with a competition version of the upcoming next-generation Viper.
As you may recall, the original Viper bred the GTS-R that claimed overall wins in the Nürburgring 24 Hours and Rolex 24 at Daytona. It also scored back-to-back class wins at Le Mans in 1998, ’99 and 2000, Sebring in 2000 and numerous others, including several titles in the FIA GT Championship and American Le Mans Series.
In bringing the next Viper back into the fold, Chrysler would look to challenge the likes of the Chevrolet Corvette C6.R, BMW M3 GT2 and Ferrari 458 GTC in the GTE category. That last bit would be particularly interesting, as the two companies are now corporate cousins under the Fiat umbrella.
The automaker has reportedly brought Riley Technologies, the chassis manufacturer behind eight years running of Grand Am champions, to evaluate the new Viper for competition potential. We’ll be watching to see how this development unfolds.
Filed under: Motorsports
Isn’t it nice when we can all get along? After decades of rift between the FIA (which governs such premier racing series as F1, the WRC and the WTCC) and the ACO (which organizes Le Mans and its related series), the two have gotten together to form the new FIA World Endurance Championship.
The rapprochement is widely credited to FIA President Jean Todt, who lead Peugeot’s factory team to victory at Le Mans before running the Scuderia Ferrari. After the initial announcement a few days ago, Todt and his ACO counterpart Jean-Claude Plassart held a press conference just two days before the start of this year’s 24-hour race at La Sarthe to announce further details on what we can expect from the new series.
For starters, it would appear that the FIA World Endurance Championship will replace both the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup and the FIA GT1 World Championship in 2012, basing the new calendar on the ILMC’s current season now underway. The official calendar will be announced in the fall, and will consist of seven races of at least six hours each: two in the United States (likely Sebring and the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta), two in Asia (probably in China and Abu Dhabi) and three in Europe (including Le Mans and two others – we’d guess Spa and Silverstone).
Points will be awarded on the same scale used in all FIA championships, awarding 25 points for first place, 18 for second, 15 for third, then 12, 10, 8, 6, 4, 2 and 1 point for tenth place. The headline 24 Hours of Le Mans, however, will be worth double points towards the titles. The classes will follow the ACO’s formula, consisting of LMP1, LMP2, GTE Pro ad GTE Amateur. For more details check out the full announcement after the jump.
ACO & FIA announce details for joint World Endurance Championship originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 10 Jun 2011 07:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.