Nervous tension, indescribable excitement, strong emotions, stress. Participants in the World Endurance Championship must demonstrate commitment, endurance and love for the road. Drivers put themselves at serious risk, risking overheating the engine and getting a nervous breakdown just to become champions. This approach requires inhuman efforts from the athlete and full coherence in the work of man and machine. Participants are determined, they are not afraid of any physical or emotional stress for many hours. While most are asleep, they continue the race.
The World Endurance Motor Racing Championship is a fairly young discipline of world motor racing, although it incorporates the traditions of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup and the World Championship among sports cars. Even the name WEC (World Endurance Championship) was used previously by the FIA in 1981-1985. The current generation of endurance racing starts from 2012, and in the form in which this gaining championship is held now, this season can be called a debut season at all. Its main distinguishing feature is that it begins in May 2018 and lasts until June 2019. A total of 8 races must pass during this time.
More democratic of the elite championships from the FIA is difficult to find. The accessibility of the paddock for fans is impressive although there is a downside to this accessibility, that is, this democratic approach. If the pilot is famous, then he has practically no opportunity to pass without attention of the fans waiting for him from the guest house in the motor house and from there to the pits. And if young riders and still little known it flatters, then for celebrities it may not be a very light burden. Take, for example, the pilots of the level of Fernando Alonso or Jenson Button, the champions of Formula 1, who decided to add adrenaline to themselves in endurance races. It was sad to watch the Spanish champion in Spa pass through the ranks of fans armed with magazines and photos of Fernando to get an autograph and for a short selfie with his idol. At the same time, Alonso tried to choose hidden passages and additional “black entrances” of the guest house, in order to somehow reduce the obsessive attention of his adoring fans to him.
What can you love endurance racing for?
The concept of endurance racing involves the simultaneous piloting on the track of 4 different categories of cars. The most powerful prototypes are LMP1, then the more modest prototypes are LMP2, followed by the LM GTE Pro (with professional racers), and the LM GTE Am (amateur racers). Given the difference in power, speed and skills, almost every lap between cars is a struggle for a place on the track. Even if cars from their category are not easy to overtake each other, they constantly have to take into account the presence of cars of other categories on the track. And this is not as easy as it may seem at first glance. Imagine the fastest cars flying at a speed of 300 km / h, which need to skillfully beat competitors on slower cars traveling in the same area, for example, at a speed of 270, 240 or even 200 km / h. And this has to be done more than once. After all, even the shortest race lasts 6 hours. On the track from the start at the same time can be up to 40 cars: plus a large number of pit stops, for refueling, for changing tires, and even for changing riders.
Typically, the crew in the race for endurance consists of 3 pilots. They differently divide the time spent in the car, as a rule – equally. Getting out of the car, the driver takes with him a plastic insert on the seat, which allows each of the pilots to have a driver’s workplace well-tailored for him.By the way, pit stops in endurance races take much longer than in Formula 1, where two dozen mechanics cope with changing tires in 2.0-2.5 seconds. Here the number of mechanics (6) at the pit stop is limited by the rules. Therefore, the pit stop itself in this championship is a whole complex of difficult maneuvers, including changing wheels, refueling and changing (if necessary) the rider. And another thing that distinguishes endurance races from Formula One is the sound of cars. Formula race cars, having entered a new era of turbo engines, have become so quiet that you can record interviews in motorhome, even without always being sure that someone is chasing on the track now. In the WEC, the sound of cars rather resembles the times of royal races at the beginning of this century.
FIA WEC. The organizers intend to increase the number of participants in the season 2018/2019
Boss endurance racing does not want to be limited to 32 cars. 34 cars can start at the start / Photo: FIA ALL. Head of the FIA WEC World Endurance Championship Gerard Nevo told Motorsport that he sees no reason why the number of participating cars in the 2018/2019 season should be limited to 32 crews. 52-year-old Frenchman believes that at least two more cars can join the fight for victory. Moreover, two races of the “24 Hours of Le Mans” in one season should attract those who want to compete for one of the most prestigious awards in the world of motor racing. However, the chief executive officer of the series noted that until February 9, the exact number of participants, both in the championship and in each of its individual classes, cannot yet be named:
“We are pushing our guys to grow. 34 cars is the maximum, but we hope to attract them. Because of the ability of LMP2 teams to go to LMP1 and compete with Toyota, there was a chance that we would not have a full grid in P2, but it looks like it was not confirmed.”
Earlier in the WEC already practiced races with the participation of 34 cars, but then, in 2015, not all crews took part in all races of the championship. Recall that the champions of last year’s FIA WEC Championship left the series. Earlier it became known that the former Formula One driver and a participant in the World Endurance Championship Rubens Barrichellowas hospitalized.