The 2021 FIA World Endurance Championship gets underway next month at Spa-Fancorchamps, and 37 cars will take to the track for the official season prologue and first round of the championship.
Five Hypercars, 14 LMP2s, five LM GTE Pros and 13 LM GTE Ams make up the grid, with 106 drivers onboard to get racing again. This year’s grid sees names old and new taking to the track and the start of a new era in the new top class, with Hypercars taking over from LMP1s.
Toyoa Gazoo Racing return to the grid to defend their title with two of the five Hypercars. There have been no driver changes to the #7 or #8 ahead of the new season, so Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez will return in the #7 car as reigning champions with Brendon Hartley, Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima behind the wheel of the sister car. Bringing new competition to the front, Alpine Elf Matmut join the fray with one Hypercar – the Alpine A480 Gibson – in the hands of Nicolas Lapierre, Andre Negrao and Matthieu Vaxixiere.
The final two Hypercars come from American privateer team Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus. Gustavo Menezes has been confirmed as one of the three pilots of the #708, however, even though the other five drivers have been announced – Romain Dumas, Pipo Derani, Olivier Pla, Richard Westbrook and Franck Mailleux – no other driver has yet been assigned to the #708 or sister #709 car.
11 of the 14 LMP2 cars that will hit the track in Belgium are full season entries, leaving three that will race outside of the championship. One of those cars comes from PR1 Motorsports, and the final two entries are from G-Drive Racing. The LMP2 class promises an intense battle this season, with a long list of high-class drivers on the roster. Only PR1 Motorsports and ARC Bratislava have drivers left to confirm.
The only home hero to appear on the entry list is Mercedes Formula-E driver Stoffel Vandoorne, who will share the #28 JOTA entry with Tom Blomqvist and Sean Gelal.
LM GTE Pro was due to only field two constructors this season, and still does in terms of full-season entries, however a late decision sees the smallest GTE Pro grid in the history of WEC grow to five entries for the opening round as Corvette Racing have entered one car in the race. Ferrari and Porsche look to battle it out again with their two full-season cars, but Antonio Garcia and Oliver Gavin will be keen to get into the fight at the front of the class in the #63 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R.
In comparison to the Pro category, Am sits strong with 13 cars comprising the grid: five Porsche RSRs, five Ferrari 488s and three Aston Martin Vantage AMRs.
Six female drivers are listed on not only the Spa entry list, but also the full-season entry list, making it the most females to take part in a WEC race/season in the championship’s history. Sophia Florsch, Tatiana Calderon and Beitske Visser will be behind the wheel of the #1 Richard Mille Racing LMP2, with the other three female drivers Rahel Frey, Manuela Gostner and Michelle Gatting teaming up in the GTE Am Iron Lynx Ferrari 488.
Racing for the 2021 FIA WEC season gets started April 26 for the official Prologue, and the first round of the championship follows the weekend after on May 1.