An FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) entry list headlined by two Toyota TS030 Hybrid and a two Audi R18 e-tron quattro was unveiled at the Automobile Club de l’Ouest press conference in Paris.
The two works teams – each entering their hybrid LMP1 designs into the full season for the first time – lead a 32 strong entry list for the championship that begins with the Six Hours of Silverstone on April 14.
“The FIA WEC will once again visit eight countries on four continents and the eight round calendar has been devised to reduce the logistical costs associated with a world championship,” said Gerard Neveu, CEO of the FIA WEC. “The races follow a logical progression around the globe and the events are spread out enough to allow the cars and equipment to be transported by ship or road instead of air where possible. This also has the added advantage of reducing the carbon footprint of the WEC significantly. Of course we will be celebrating the 90th anniversary of the first 24 Hours race at Le Mans in 1923, making 2013 a very special year. We hope you will all come and join us and be part of the FIA World Endurance Championship success.”
The four works teams – led by Andre Lotterer and Tom Kristensen for Audi, Alexander Wurz and Anthony Davidson for Toyota – are part of an LMP1 class that, at just six entries for the full season is numerically the weakest, with only Strakka Racing and a sole Rebellion Racing Lola-Toyota joining them in the class as JRM step away from the championship and OAK Racing, who concentrate on LMP2 class, where they have a pair of Morgan-Nissan entered for the full campaign.
Their two entries are part of a twelve strong entry for the class that includes the return of all the major teams from the first WEC season. Champions Starworks Motorsport again enter a HPD chassis for a team led by Alex Popow while Delta–ADR, their oft rivals through the season return with John Martin, one of the standout performers in the class in 2012, leading the team.
One of the only major omissions from the list is the name of Signatech Nissan, though Roman Rusinov, part of Signatech’s two car effort in 2012, leads a G-Drive Racing team in an ORECA 03-Nissan.
One notable addition is the HVM–Status GP team with a Judd engine Lola coupe with Jonathan Kennard as named driver.
After an, arguably, disappointingly small entry for last season both the Pro and Am arms of the LMGTE class receive a boost in numbers for the 2013.
Two AF Corse Ferraris return in LMGTE Pro but are joined by a pair of works Porsches under the Porsche AG Team Manthey banner and two Aston Martin Racing Vantages, the team stepping up their return to the GT classes after entering a single car for the full 2012 season.
As well as the two Pro cars – 2012 teammates Darren Turner and Stefan Mucke split to lead the two cars – AMR also enter two teams in an LMGTE Am class that has grown to eight full time cars, despite class champions Larbre Competition cutting back to a single Chevrolet Corvette for 2013.
Their 2012 rivals – Proton Competition, Krohn Racing and AF Corse all return for a second season in the class. LMGTE Am class champions for the European Le Mans Series IMSA Peformance Matmut move up to the WEC while 8 Star Motorsports – Enzo Potolicchio’s new team – will run a Ferrari 458 in the class in co-operation with AF Corse.
“LMP2 continues to be a huge success and some familiar names are being joined by new teams,” reflected ACO President Pierre Fillon. “The LMP2 grid alone represents eight different countries and the category is a great showcase for the FIA WEC. In the LMGTE Pro class we have another great battle in prospect with Porsche, Ferrari and Aston Martin, three great names associated with Le Mans and endurance racing, going head to head for the World Cup for both manufacturers and drivers. The same can be said for the LMGTE Am class with category team champions Larbre Competition fielding the only Corvette in the class against the might of Ferrari, Porsche and Aston Martin.”