One of the most controversial ends to a championship in 2021, the FIA World Endurance Championship GTE Pro class certainly kept spectators gripped until the final flag. It was the weakest year in terms of number of entries for the GTE class, with only Ferrari and Porsche providing full season entries. Even with this in mind, it was still one of the most competitive classes of the season and certainly delivered well in terms of on-track racing. So how was this possible with only four cars? TheCheckeredFlag takes a look to try and answer that very question.
The reason that, even though the Pro grid was the smallest it had ever been, this was one of the closest contended classes of the 2021 season was all down the the ebb and flow of the advantage between the two teams. Every other round, either the #92 Porsche GT Team or the #51 AF Corse won, not allowing either team or manufacturer to run away with the championship. Going into the final round of the season, it was neck-and-neck on points for the two teams, advantage Porsche – who hadn’t won the 24 Hours of Le Mans – on countbacks.
It was a shame that the championship battle came down to a controversial, and extremally confusing, decision, as throughout the entire 8 Hours of Bahrain the two leading Pro cars were on top of each other, trading places and keeping the questions of ‘who will win?’ looking like it was going to the chequered flag. It had been one of the most competitive and hard fought championships in WEC history, which made it all the more disappointing to have it end the way it did. No one wants a championship to end in controversy and in the hands of the stewards, and both Formula One and the GTE Pro class proved that last season.
The end of the season aside, it was an incredible distribution of BOP, racing talent and car pace to have the smallest class of the year go down to the wire in the closest contested classification, and for that Pro should be proud of the performance of 2021. It is hoped that there is not too much negative lash back on the final decision of the season that fell in Ferrari’s favour and saw James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi crowned 2021 champions and it will not compromise racing going into 2022.
At the end of the day, to have a intense and engaging championship to go to the end of the year with only four cars and two manufacturers is an impressive season, and we here at TheCheckeredFlag only hope for another tightly-fought season in 2022.