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The FIA WEC Season Finale 8 Hours Of Bahrain Is The Smallest Grid The Series Has Ever Seen

Illustration for article titled The FIA WEC Season Finale 8 Hours Of Bahrain Is The Smallest Grid The Series Has Ever Seen
Photo: FIA WEC

Prior to this weekend’s 8 hour race at Bahrain, the FIA World Endurance Series had never seen its entry list dip below 30 entries. The international endurance racing series will see just 25 entries after the Rebellion LMP1 team abandoned its post-Le Mans efforts, leaving Toyota alone to fight itself in the top class. The regularly deep LMP2 field will see just seven entries. There will be significantly more GT class entries than prototypes in this round. And it’s honestly a crap-shoot if the series can ever truly recover.

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With the upcoming Le Mans Hypercar class failing to deliver the entries that the series had hoped for next year, and the current dearth of entries in the 2019-20 season, the news isn’t particularly uplifting in the top-flight sports car series in the world. Perhaps the addition of LMDh will raise entries in 2022, but it’s difficult to tell how that class will catch on outside of America’s IMSA series.

This weekend the Rebellion Racing team has abandoned its efforts for the season, as its devastating loss to Toyota at Le Mans made any series title efforts would be hypothetical at best. Team boss and Rebellion CEO Calim Bouhadra had said that if his team had been realistically within a chance of the title, he’d have sucked it up and sent the team to Bahrain anyway, but with the incredible cost the team had paid to attend Sebring in March before it was scrubbed from the calendar, it just wasn’t financially feasible to make the Bahrain round work.

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High Class Racing had been running an Oreca 07 in the LMP2 class this season, but similarly decided to fold the hand that 2020 had dealt the team. A couple of short-lived entries in LMP2, Algarve Pro Racing and Eurasia Motorsport, competed earlier this season, but will not attend the 8H Bahrain event. Likewise, in the GTE Am category, MR Racing’s Ferrari is absent.

The GTE Pro category is the only class which has not seen entries reduced. As with all the other races this season, there will be two entries each for Ferrari, Porsche, and Aston Martin.

Jalopnik contributor with a love for everything sketchy and eclectic.

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DISCUSSION

Eurasia and Algarve are not WEC teams, they only ran WEC races as invitational entries. And the MR Ferrari is out due to travel problems related to COVID.

Ginetta already explained the end of their season due to quarantining factory workers producing Ginetta road and race cars. And Rebellion had already planned to bow out. It is a transitional off-season for LMP1, with the Hypercar regulations coming into effect. There is no reason to run cars that wont be needed next season.

LMP2 is at the strongest it has been for years, will full grids in ELMS and ALMS, and even some teams still hanging on in IMSA. The WEC grid wont go anywhere, there are plenty of teams who can afford to globe trot, when there isn’t a pandemic going on.

TL:DR No big problem, just a season finale that carries very little weight for the majority of teams this year.