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"Hard decision" for WEC to turn down Vanwall's 2024 entry

Turning down Vanwall Racing’s entry for the 2024 World Endurance Championship was a “very hard decision to take”, according to series boss Frederic Lequien.

#4 Floyd Vanwall Racing Team Vanwall Vandervell 680: Esteban Guerrieri, Tristan Vautier, João Paulo de Oliveira

#4 Floyd Vanwall Racing Team Vanwall Vandervell 680: Esteban Guerrieri, Tristan Vautier, João Paulo de Oliveira

JEP / Motorsport Images

Lequien, CEO of the series, stressed that he has "a lot of admiration and respect for the team”, which was missing from the 19-car Hypercar class field when the 2024 WEC entry list was published on Monday.

But he refused to go into detail why the entry for a solo Vanwall Vandervell 680 Le Mans Hypercar had been rejected by the selection committee made up of representatives of the co-organisers of the WEC, the FIA and the Automobile Club de l’Ouest.

“I would prefer to have everyone on the grid, but we have a limited number of cars [37] we can accept, so we had to take some decisions,” said Lequien.

“I think we took some logical and right decisions even if they were not easy.

“I will not give too many comments on these decisions: we have to take our decision on different criteria, which are clearly written in the sporting regulations and for Vanwall Racing some of them were not okay.”

The four criteria for entries are laid down in the WEC sporting regulations: they are the track record of the entrant, its interest for the championship, regular participation in either the series or its blue riband round, the Le Mans 24 Hours, and the financial situation of the team with the organisers.

A competitor in the Hypercar class must also “submit a presentation dossier including information on the brand”, because the top class of the WEC is reserved for manufacturers of road cars.

Asked specifically about whether Vanwall met this criteria, Lequien refused to comment.

#4 Floyd Vanwall Racing Team Vanwall Vandervell 680 of Tom Dillmann, Esteban Guerrieri, Tristan Vautier

Photo by: Marc Fleury

#4 Floyd Vanwall Racing Team Vanwall Vandervell 680 of Tom Dillmann, Esteban Guerrieri, Tristan Vautier

Vanwall, which formerly raced in the WEC as ByKolles Racing, has an electric SUV known as the Vandervell S available for sale and has also announced road-going and track day versions of its LMH.

Team boss Colin Kolles declined to comment on the rejection of the team’s entry, which was planned with a new version of the Vandervell 680 reworked around a new turbocharged engine in place of the normally-aspirated Gibson V8 used in 2023.

Kolles would only say that that the new version of the Vandervell 680 is finished and that the German-based team is awaiting delivery of the first turbo engine, which it has yet to name, after which the car will go testing in its new form.

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The ByKolles team returned to the WEC in 2023 after its entry with the Vandervell 680 rejected for 2022.

It first raced at Le Mans in 2009 with a pair of Audi R10 TDIs and then moved over to LMP2 first with an Lola-Judd/BMW badged as a Lotus and then a car developed by German constructor ADESS that also carried the British manufacturer’s badges.

ByKolles then graduated to LMP1 with a car of its own design and construction in 2014.

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