Long time no see WEC - lets get back to racing!

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

It's been so long now since the last round of the World Endurance Championship that we can't actually remember what stage of which season we have got to but at least the Championship is due back on track again from Spa Francorchamps in Belgium this weekend for what is now the closing trilogy of races of the year.

Apparently there is still unfinished business within Season 8 of the FIA sanctioned Championship to complete before the next season can begin in early 2021 as the world still comes to terms with the devastation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The last round of the Championship was raced at the Circuit of the Americas way back at the tail end of February before a global lockdown and a radical rethink in calendar commitments across the board forced the WEC organisers to delay until a planned (but severely impacted) return to motor racing from Spa Francorchamps this weekend - date that was originally proposed for late April!!

Of course, the last round at CoTA was rather a successful one for the Aston Martin Racing and TF Sport V8 Vantage GTE contingent as Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen claimed a convincing GTE Pro class win aboard their #95 car whilst the #90 GTE Am car from TF Sport claimed the top step in that class with their #98 AMR stablemates a close second.

Having had to miss the next scheduled race in the calendar at Sebring because of COVID-19, the results after CoTA left both Thiim and Sorensen at the top of the GTE Pro drivers championship, twenty six points clear of the Ferrari crew in second whilst in the Am class Salih Yoluc, Jonny Adam and Charlie Eastwood lay just two points behind their Ferrari Am title challengers in second with the #98 crew of Paul Dalla Lana and Ross Gunn in third.

Over the course of the enforced sabbatical, we learned of the news that Darren Turner was to step aside from the #98 GTE Am car and allow Augusto Farfus to take his position for the remainder of the season that now included just Spa, the Le Man 24hr in September before rounding off in Bahrain in November.

During the break in the WEC calendar, some drivers have been fortunate to be able to hone their skills within other real or e-race scenarios. Most of the AMR factory drivers competed within the WEC's own simulated Le Mans 24Hr event with the #95 car finishing in second in that whilst others have been using other category/classes of racing to keep themselves fit and alert before getting back to business at one of the toughest tracks about this weekend.

Whilst the #98 AMR GTE stayed within ACO rules racing for the opening rounds of the European Le Mans Series from Paul Ricard and last week at Spa, TF Sport's Yoluc and Eastwood spent last weekend away in Hungary racing a near identical GT3 version of the Vantage at the opening round of the International GT Open Series. Both crews came away with some spoils for their efforts so will already be race focussed for Spa.

Just six cars again grace the entry list of the GTE Pro class with two cars apiece from Aston Martin, Ferrari and Porsche whilst the Am class sees a reduced ten car grid ahead of Sundays six hour race.

We believe that there are no Balance of Performance adjustments to either class of AMR Vantage GTE going into this round so they each race with the performance levels that they did at CoTA and hot off a recent Michelin tyre test that all the AMR drivers did at Motorland Aragon circuit in Spain last month.

This has been a long time coming, having seen series like the ELMS, GT World Challenge Europe and other leading race series (including now of course the Le Mans 24hr) being forced to conduct their racing activities from behind closed doors shows us how perilous the regional or global situation still is with CV-19.

It's a crying shame that fans cannot access any of these circuits to enjoy what these race series still have to offer at the moment but if that is the cost that society has to pay today to remain fit and healthy tomorrow - then so be it we say.

And wear a mask too - there are lots a of snazzy ones about to if you look hard enough!!

Heres to the Spa 6Hrs.
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