WEC delays plan for GTE Pro qualifying races

Plans for qualifying races for GTE Pro cars have been put on the back burner through the World Endurance Championship's new 'superseason' in 2018/19

WEC delays plan for GTE Pro qualifying races

The principle of a qualifying sprint race on the day before the regular six-hour WEC rounds had been agreed with the manufacturers and was expected to come into force next year.

But the radical revamp of the WEC as it transitions to a winter series climaxing at the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2019/20 has forced series promoter the Automobile Club de l'Ouest to delay the plan.

WEC boss Gerard Neveu explained that a drive to maintain the cost of competing in the superseason at the same level as expenditure for the 2017 campaign was behind the decision to delay the idea of qualifying races.

"It is more expensive than doing a few laps in qualifying; this is a race with the chance of damage," he said.

"We are saying we have to save money, so if we are saving money on one hand and pushing them to spend more money on the other, it doesn't make sense."

He said the introduction of a 12-hour race at Sebring on the same bill as the IMSA SportsCar Championship event of the same duration also mitigated against the introduction of qualifying races from the start of next year.

"I don't think it is serious to try to introduce this format now with the superseason; we have other priorities," he added.

John Gaw, motorsport boss at Aston Martin partner Prodrive, explained that efforts needed to be made to raise the profile of a class in which BMW will join the British manufacturer, Ferrari, Ford and Porsche in 2018.

"I don't know whether qualifying races was the right thing to do, but we will have five manufacturers fighting for the championship next year and efforts need to be made to increase the exposure of that," he said.

The idea of the qualifying sprints had been agreed by the five GTE Pro manufacturers, though there was still been debate about the duration of the races, the number of points to be awarded and TV coverage.

shares
comments
WEC boss Gerard Neveu not "closing the door" on Silverstone return
Previous article

WEC boss Gerard Neveu not "closing the door" on Silverstone return

Next article

Porsche and Toyota fastest in one session each in Mexico WEC practice

Porsche and Toyota fastest in one session each in Mexico WEC practice
Load comments
The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert Plus

The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert

It's 50 years since Jo Siffert was killed in his prime at Brands Hatch. The Swiss scored just two world championship wins in a Formula 1 career spent largely with privateer teams, but showed on numerous occasions in single-seaters and in sportscars with Porsche that he could beat any of the best drivers of his era given the right equipment

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
Inside the Le Mans finish too barmy for Hollywood Plus

Inside the Le Mans finish too barmy for Hollywood

Team WRT has been at the forefront of GT racing for years and made a successful move to prototypes for 2021, capped by an LMP2 win on its Le Mans debut. It could've been even better had the race been one lap shorter, when its cars ran 1-2, but the stranger-than-fiction reality has spurred the team to reach greater heights

Le Mans
Oct 16, 2021
The standout memories of Le Mans 2021 Plus

The standout memories of Le Mans 2021

OPINION: With four of the five Hypercar entries unproven in a 24-hour race, it would not have been unexpected for at least one of them to suffer serious reliability trouble. That they all managed to make it through the race relatively unscathed, says GARY WATKINS, was something of a surprise.

Le Mans
Aug 24, 2021
Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked Plus

Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked

Toyota scored its fourth Le Mans 24 Hours victory and a 1-2, with the #7 car of Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez beating the #8. But although it looked straightforward from the outside, Toyota faced serious problem that had to be solved with some quick-thinking and ingenuity

Le Mans
Aug 24, 2021
How overlooked Mazda produced one of Le Mans' greatest shocks Plus

How overlooked Mazda produced one of Le Mans' greatest shocks

The screaming rotary-engined Mazda 787 is regarded as one of the most popular Le Mans 24 Hours-winning cars, but until its surprise success on this day 30 years ago it was never regarded as a likely victor. But that reckoned without a new technical partner, some canny political manoeuvring and a rival's bizarre self-inflicted weakness

WEC
Aug 22, 2021
Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse? Plus

Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse?

One Toyota, normally with the number 7 on the side, always seems to attract the bad luck in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez are hoping for a change in fortune this time around, but face significantly more unknowns than in recent years

Le Mans
Aug 19, 2021
Why Glickenhaus should be taken seriously on its Le Mans bow Plus

Why Glickenhaus should be taken seriously on its Le Mans bow

Many were quick to dismiss Glickenhaus when the boutique American sportscar firm's entry into the top class of the Le Mans 24 Hours was announced. It's all-new LMH racer, powered by an engine built by a rally specialist, goes in as the underdog against Toyota but the mathematical odds suggest that it has more than just a faint hope of success

Le Mans
Aug 18, 2021
The Asian underdog taking on the mighty GT factories at Le Mans Plus

The Asian underdog taking on the mighty GT factories at Le Mans

The rising HubAuto team steps up to GTE Pro at Le Mans this year for an ambitious bid to take on the three works giants – and has every reason to be optimistic of achieving its goal in becoming the first privateer on the podium since 2016

Le Mans
Aug 18, 2021