Wednesday 12 January 2022 by Philippe Brasseur
The World Endurance Championship (WEC) is set to see renewed interest this year as the announcement of the entry list on Wednesday shows a starting grid rich with 39 competitors, the highest number ever seen in 10 years of existence of the WEC.
This entry list includes 39 full-season entrants from 12 different countries as well as a record number of teams competing on the Hypercar and LMP2 prototype side.
The new premier category of the series, which has only had one Alpine and two Toyota as regular competitors in 2021, the Hypercar class will now include six cars, i.e. two Toyotas (with modified crews), two Peugeots (the French brand will start his new 9X8), an Alpine (still the old Rebellion LMP1 brought up to date) and a Glickenhaus.
The future LMDh Audi and Porsche prototypes, as well as the Ferrari LMH, will continue their respective development programs throughout the 2022 season but should not appear in competition until 2023, first in the North American IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and then in WEC.
In the LMP2 class, 15 crews are expected, the main event being Penske’s debut in the category with an Oreca-Gibson for three drivers who should join the German manufacturer’s LMDh program the following season.
The Belgian WRT team is putting their 2021 title on the line with two cars again while the Richard Mile team will once again rely on an all-female crew for their car bearing the number 1. Currently, only French debutant Lilou Wadoux, unknown so far in the international series, is confirmed among the pilots.
Unsurprisingly, the GTE Pro class will be the least filled with only 5 cars, ie two Ferrari 488 AF Corse, two official Porsche 911 RSRs and an official Corvette C8.R, a car now banned in IMSA.
Finally, the GTE Am class has 13 entries, including a team flying the Canadian flag, the one entered by Paul Dalla Lana. The Ontario driver, a regular in the series, will run his Aston Martin Vantage GTE under the Northwest AMR banner and his teammates this time will be the Dane Nicki Thiim and the Englishman David Pittard.
To view the list of registrants to date, click here. Note that several teams have so far only confirmed one or two drivers.
The WEC will also adopt a renewable fuel for this 2022 season: the Excellium Racing 100 from TotalEnergies. This will reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by at least 65% compared to traditional fossil fuels.
As for the schedule, it will see the series occur on three continents, namely North America, Europe and Asia. It all kicks off at Sebring on March 18, with a 1,000-mile race presented the day before the famous 12 Hours of IMSA. The 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps will follow on May 2, then the 24 Hours of Le Mans on June 11 and 12.
Back to the series calendar, the Autodrome of Monza will present the 4th round over a period of 6 hours on July 10 before the last two races in Asia: the 6 hours of Fuji on September 11 and the 8 hours of Bahrain on September 12 November. Hoping of course that new government restrictions in Europe or Asia (the United States being more free – particularly Florida – the Sebring race should not be affected) will not force the organizers to review this calendar as it was the cases in 2020 and 2021.
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