Le Mans WEC 2018/19 Super Season


Not my cup of cake
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You might have heard about Porsche giving LMP1 the "big E" at the end of last season and the doom mongers claiming this is the death of Endurance racing. Well, I'm not sure where the powers that be are up to on sorting out the engine equivalency rules but the calender has been published and a Silverstone race is back - Woop, Woop!

The season start and finishes at Le Mans over the course of 2018 and 2019, although it doesn't as the first race is at Spa. Eh? Anyway, here's the race schedule.

FIA World Endurance Championship 2018/19 Calendar

5 May 2018 WEC 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps BEL

16/17 June 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans FRA

19 August 2018 6 Hours of Silverstone GBR

21 October 2018 6 Hours of Fuji JPN

18 November 2018 6 Hours of Shanghai CHN

16/17 March 2019 12 Hours of Sebring USA

4 May 2019 WEC 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps BEL

15/16 June 2019 24 Hours of Le Mans FRA
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The new-for-2018 SMP BR1 LMP1 was unveiled in Bahrain last weekend:


Three of the Dallara-designed cars will be run next season: two by ART Grand Prix as the works team, with SMP branding and a majority of Russian drivers, including Vitaly Petrov and Mikhail Aleshin. Engines will be supplied by AER. A third car will be run by Dragonspeed, who will use a Gibson engine rather than the AER.
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It'll be fun for the commentators. "Here comes the SMP-ART LMP1 BR1-AER". At least they're not racing at COTA...
im glad they have changed there mind & finishing the season at le mans. because it makes sense, its the toughest challenge, is most watched, most attended & has biggest prestige. also they can get alot viewers probally in motorsport winter to take advantage of lack of series

how much challenge do we think the new LMP1 cars from ginetta manor & the 1 above. will compete with toyota or will it be the old audi v pescerolo battle. toyota will win le mans its just in which order
how much challenge do we think the new LMP1 cars from ginetta manor & the 1 above. will compete with toyota or will it be the old audi v pescerolo battle. toyota will win le mans its just in which order

It depends on the regulations. In a pure fight Toyota will win by miles, so it relies on the ACO adjusting the fuel allocations, which they have said they will do. You would have to make Toyota strong favourites, still at Le Mans in particular anything can happen.
So the entry list for the WEC superseason was announced on Friday, and there are 10 LMP1s.
  • Toyota will run two cars. Conway, Kobayashi and Lopez will drive #6, with Alonso replacing Davidson alongside Buemi and Nakajima in #7.
  • The ByKolles CLM/Nissan will return
  • As promised there will be 3 Russian-backed BREs; 2 run by SMP Racing and a privateer car for Dragonspeed.
  • After one year in LMP2, Rebellion Racing return to the top class with 2 cars that have had significant input from ORECA. The lead car has some driving talent in Lotterer, Jani and Senna.
  • Manor are stepping up to the top class with two Ginettas.
See here for the full list.

In GTE-Pro, BMW join Aston Martin, Porsche, Ford and AF Corse/Ferrari.
Motorsport TV cover most of the races live. Eurosport do Le Mans (usually) and have highlights of most of the races. The risk is BT Sport come in and stick the races behind another bloody pay wall.
6 hours is a lot of time to watch - is there a handy highlights package somewhere that Isn't Eurosport? Eurosport highlight packages are the worst. Twenty mins of talking to some guy in 24th and then 5 mins of racing.
Bobby K rumoured to be signed up to driver for Manor in LMP this season and the ACO have told the privateer teams taht if they have lied about their engine power output and fuel usage (i.e. they destroy Toyota in the first race) they will not hesitate to change the rules.

I know it's a bit like comparing football and rugby in terms of respecting the rules and officials etc. but if only those running F1 had the same size balls as the ACO and if only the F1 teams actually wanted what was best for the sport rather than themselves. Ho hum.
Is it because the ACO know full well that their events, particularly Le Mans will have cars on the grid? They are not bothered about pandering to the teams. This is no more evident than Ferrari's God like status with the FIA and Ferrari's sort of involvement in Endurance rating.
First round of the 2018-19 "Superseason" gets the green flag this Saturday lunchtime at Spa.

We'll get our first indication of whether any of the LMP1 privateer entries can threaten Toyota. It's unlikely given the disparity in resources, but you never know. Forecasts suggest the Japanese cars will be able to run 2 laps longer per stint than their non-hybrid competitors - but safety cars, reliability and the famously capricious Ardennes weather could create the conditions for an upset.

Toyota have retained five of last year's six drivers, with Some Spanish Guy displacing Anthony Davidson alongside Buemi and Nakajima in car #8, with the #7 entry piloted by Kobayashi, Conway and Lopez.

Look out for the #1 Rebellion of Senna, Lotterer and Jani; and the #11 & #17 SMP Racing cars to be leading the chase.

There are seven full-season entries in LMP2, including Pastor Maldonado in the #31 Dragonspeed car. BMW joins Ferrari, Ford, Porsche and Aston Martin in the GTE-Pro ranks with a pair of M8 GTEs in what is sure to be the most competitive class.
Rebellion currently top of the time sheets in FP3. Maybe LMP1 will be competitive after all.
Well, so, Toyotas on the front row of the grid and a reasonable gap back to the privateers:

Toyota #7 1:54.583
Toyota #8 1:54.962
Rebellion #1 1:56.425
Rebellion #3 1:56.992
SMP #11 1:58.247

But the #7 had some sort of fuel flow irregularity and has been deleted from the times - it will be started from the pitlane. So Alonso on pole.

Motorsport TV are showing the race in the UK - coverage starts at 12:15 BST tomorrow.
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