Maybe they were right when they told me as a kid that I was greedy. Toyota emerges as a genuine contender in the FIA World Endurance Championship, and my first thought? Just imagine if Peugeot was still around.
An Audi versus Peugeot versus Toyota battle over most of the WEC season was only going to happen in my greediest dreams. Toyota, of course, wouldn't have ended up winning three WEC rounds had the French manufacturer not withdrawn from sportscar racing before the start of the championship.
The Japanese marque would only have contested three, perhaps four, events had Peugeot's 908s been on the grid.
Toyota stepped up to the plate following Peugeot's bombshell in January and saved the WEC. In fact, it saved it, then made it.
No world title could have been awarded had Toyota decided against contesting a fullish programme of events (and the FIA not tweaked the rules to allow it to do six of the eight races). Two manufacturers, you see, were required in LMP1 under the governing body's agreement with the Automobile Club de l'Ouest at Le Mans.
Toyota saved the inaugural WEC season following Peugeot's withdrawal © LAT
That's how Toyota saved the first running of the new-look WEC. It made it by turning up with a car in the TS030 HYBRID that was quick enough to put the frighteners on Audi first time out at the Le Mans 24 Hours, notch up a victory in Brazil at the third time of asking and end the season with a 3-3 scoreline in its head-to-head meetings with its German rival.
Just imagine if the solo Toyota had been trailing around in third place behind the two Audis over the second half of the season? Everyone would be talking about another Audi bore-athon. Or perhaps they just wouldn't be talking about the WEC at all.
Toyota's ability to win races this season put the icing on the series. There were plenty of tasty layers underneath, but the truth is that without an exciting and intriguing battle up front, no one bar sportscar aficionados would have paid much attention to the new championship.
That's to take nothing away from the teams and drivers racing their guts out in LMP2 and GTE. It's just the wider world is always going to be focused on what's happening at the sharp end. That surely goes for any series.
Cutting down through the WEC cake, there was a thin but tasty layer (a torte jam, perhaps) provided by the LMP1 privateers. The battle between this loyal and hardy bunch, of the kind who were so important to the world sportscar championship of old, was at its keenest during qualifying.
Then came the big think chunk of sponge that was LMP2. The most populous class in the WEC provided some great racing even though the victories were largely shared out by just two teams.
GTE Pro was like a thin spread of cream. We wanted more, but it was good all the same. The Ferrari versus Porsche versus Aston Martin battle certainly grabbed my attention.
And then were was GTE Am at the bottom as some kind of base to my dessert. It wasn't the most palatable part, but it added some bulk that was needed in light of the slimline Pro class.
The WEC looked like a coherent championship in its first year back. (I don't use the word inaugural because I see the series as the successor to the old world championship that ran from 1953 to 1992.) It wasn't quite in the right proportions, but it had a bit of everything it needed.
There was some criticism of the size of the GTE Pro field, but when the racing is good that should be ignored. And it certainly was.
The #1 Audi secured the first WEC title © XPB
GTE Pro lost a car when the French Luxury Ferrari squad, to no one's great surprise, disappeared post-Le Mans. The naysayers were predicting a major drop in the size of the grids after the jewel in the crown of the WEC, but it didn't happen in quite the way the sceptics predicted.
There was little of the predicted post-Le Mans wastage. Pescarolo Team had its very public problems, two GTE Ferraris (one Pro, one Am) disappeared with Luxury, Gulf Racing Middle East dropped from two to one LMP2 Lolas, and the GTE Am AF Corse Ferrari skipped a race. So with a couple of extra cars in P2, the grid was still looking pretty good at 28 cars at the Shanghai finale.
The doubters were also predicting a breakdown in the relationship between the FIA and the ACO, who jointly run the WEC. So far, there's no evidence that these two organisations, in the past sworn enemies, aren't getting along just fine.
Whether they can grow the series in what could be a year of hiatus in 2013 is another question. There are new LMP1 rules coming in '14 and, perhaps, new GTE regulations in '15, so persuading people to buy cars for those categories might be a tall order.
I believe that the WEC grid will hold up and possibly grow. Toyota will be back to take on Audi again (though with how many cars we don't yet know). I expect the majority of the P1 privateers to hang around, and there's a queue of teams looking to join the fun in P2.
My only cause for concern is GTE Pro. Expect AF Corse and Aston Martin Racing to return, but there has to a worry that Porsche won't be back with a car in the higher GTE division given that 2013 is a wind-down season for the 997-shape 911 GT3-RSR.
Even so, I still reckon I'll be gorging myself next year. The WEC cake looks appetising once again and, after trailing around the world this year, my greedy self wants a second helping.
* Look out for AUTOSPORT's 2012 WEC Review and Top 10 Driver listings later in the week.
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