The crown may have been lost already but there's still a WEC race to be won in Japan

Sunday, September 03, 2023


The GTE crown may have been already won but the prizes for the two remaining races that see out the 2023 World Endurance Championship season are still there to win as the topflight multi-class grid make their way to Fuji International for this weekend’s penultimate six-hour round.

The last round of the WEC at Monza in early July of course saw the #33 Corvette Racing team secure the final ever GTE Am Class crown with still two races to go as the ever-dominant Ben Keating retained his 2022 crown won with TF Sport and his then Aston Martin Racing powered crew.

Whilst the top slot has already been determined, there remains the principal of pride for the remaining full season entries over the final two rounds at both Fuji and in Bahrain as well as putting themselves into a position where they could be considered as part of each selected OEM’s two GT3 powered entry into next season’s full season WEC entry!

That means that three into two simply cannot go moving forward as the #25 ORT with TF Sport team contest for that accolade alongside that of the #98 Northwest AMR (Heart of Racing) crew and the #777 D’Station Racing team (amongst possibly other contenders) for that honour and that’s even IF Aston Martin Racing is given two of just twelve GT3 class entries next season.

Going into what is in effect D’Station Racing’s home event (being based just outside the circuit), the runners up position within the twelve strong GTE Am Class entry is wide open as just sixteen points cover the next five crews including that of the #25 ORT car of Ahmad Al Harthy, Michael Dinan and Charlie Eastwood.

Fortunate to have scored valuable championship points within each round so far, that achievement stands clear to the fortunes of the #777 D’Station Racing crew of Satoshi Hoshino, Tomonobu Fujii and Casper Stevenson who retain just three points going into this round having blanked upon three occasions - mainly because of misfortunate and from being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The #98 crew of Ian James, Alex Riberas and Daniel Mancinelli stand above #777 crew on twenty points from their two starts so far this season having taken over from Paul Dalla Lana just ahead of the Spa round in late April.

The #98 crew are also due to participate this time around having elected to skip the last round at Monza in favour of their IMSA Weathertech Sportscar Championship commitments when only Riberas was double booked as driving. Only time will tell if that becomes a costly decision for them.

As usual going into a WEC round at Fuji, two parameters come immediately into play – those being Balance of Performance and the weather. Whilst the latest BoP requirements in class published by the WEC only last week show no planned adaptation to any control mechanisms within any OEM platform, success ballast still applies with the #25 car still running with an additional 15kg after their P3 podium at Spa whilst the #33 Corvette will only run with plus 30kg despite enjoying more podium success.

As for the weather – that will have a mind of its own as it usually does!!

The earlier published provisional entry list shows no changes to the three Aston Martin Racing Vantage GTE line ups with the class ramping back up to thirteen cars with the return of the #98 car to the paddock.

Track action begins on Friday with the first two Free Practice sessions before the third on Saturday morning ahead of Qualifying in the afternoon. The race will be waved off on Sunday.

Photo credits – Teams / WEC / A Lofthouse
  • Digg
  • StumbleUpon
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • TwitThis
  • MySpace
  • LinkedIn
  • Live
  • Google
  • Reddit
  • Sphinn
  • Propeller
  • Slashdot
  • Netvibes