Next season is something of an interim year for the FIA WEC. The new 2020-2021 season regulations have been announced, and there have been a couple of takers thus far, but that’s not for another year. Toyota, in the 2019-2020 season, will again be the only factory supported LMP1 Hybrid. Some manufacturers have decided to leave GTE Pro, but the LMP2 grid is still strong, and the GTE Am class is bigger than ever. The season kicks off with the 4 hours of Silverstone in September, so who is going to be racing?
In the LMP1 category, the FIA promises that the privateer teams will be closer to the Toyotas than they have been this season, but I’m not holding my breath. Two Toyotas will be back, running to the same spec as they have this year, and with the same driver lineup. SMP Racing will return with two of the same BR Engineering BR1 chassis and AER 2.4-liter turbo V6 engines. Rebellion, likewise, remains the same with a Rebellion R13 chassis and Gibson N/A V8 power. The newcomer here is Team LNT—winners of the GT2 class in a Panoz Esperante back in 2006—which will take over the Ginetta G60-LT-P1 program with AER power. All four teams will run a two car effort.
LMP2 will remain mostly the same, with some teams joining the fray and others leaving. Most notably, McLaren boss Zak Brown’s United Autosport will be running the full season. This class increases from 7 entries in the season ending Sunday to 8 entries in the season beginning this fall.
GTE Pro is already well discussed, as BMW and Ford are taking their cash and going away. The class will continue to be entertaining, however, as it will contain two AF Corse-entered Ferrari 488s, two Aston Martin Racing Vantages, and two mid-engine Porsche 911 RSRs.
GTE Am gaining strength is a good thing for the series, as it means rich dudes still want to spend their money racing in this class. That means some semblance of stability in case fickle OEM efforts pull their cash and walk away, and it means the racing will still rely on gentleman drivers trying not to step on their own dicks.
Nothing major is due to change in the Am category, aside from the new-shape Aston Martin Vantages finally being allowed to race in the lower tier. With four full-season Ferraris, five full-season Porsches, and a pair of Aston Martins, this is going to be where the real racing happens. Dempsey-Proton dominated the racing in the 18-19 season, winning five of seven races thus far, and grabbing pole for tomorrow’s 24. Can any of the newcomers take the fight to McDreamy’s McTeamy?
Here’s Gerard Neveu [CEO of the FIA WEC] and Alan McNish to walk you through next season’s grid.