The World Endurance Championship is an exciting class in the auto racing world championship. The World Endurance Championship, also called WEC, is organized by the Automobile Club de L’Quest and sanctioned by the FIA. The World Endurance Championship contains 4 classes of cars competing in endurance racing. This can make the sport a bit complicated for newer fans. We will try to explain a bit more about the sport in our article.
World Endurance Championship
One of the most interesting features of the World Endurance Championship the fact that it’s multi-class. This means that there are different categories of cars all competing in one race. The four classes in the WEC are the following:
- LMP 1 (LeMans Prototype 1)
- LMP 2 (LeMans Prototype 2)
- LMGTE Pro ( Le Mans Grand Touring Endurance Professional)
- LMGTE Am (Le Mans Grand Touring Endurance Amateur)
Each of those classes has its own rules about the car. For more information about the different classes read our article here.
The other important part of this race class is in its name. The races are endurance races, this means that the races vary from four hours length on circuits like Silverstone or Shanghai, six hours length in Fuji to the 1000 miles of length in Sebring. And as season final 24 hours of LeMans. This means that a good strategy is more important than being the fastest during qualifying or putting in the fastest lap, as the race has many hours and will face changing weather conditions, changing day and night conditions and temperatures.
A very important reason for the success of the World Endurance Championship is the rulebook. All auto racing classes have lots of regulations. This applies also for the World Endurance Championship. The WEC has a fixed set of rules for the competing cars and the drivers allowed to drive the cars. However, the rules allow the teams to try out their latest innovations, as long as it would also apply to the road-going cars.
Since the WEC is focussing on the endurance of the car, the teams are also allowed to do a lot more during a pit-stop than other classes. Almost all bodywork, parts (expect the combustion engine and gearbox) can be replaced during the race. This prevents a small driver error or a small failing part to end the race for the team.
World Endurance Championship Classes
As the World Endurance Championship consists of multiple classes of cars, there will be multiple races during every race. The regulation makes sure that there is a speed difference between classes. So the LMP 1 would be the fastest, followed up with the LMP 2. After this, we will get the LMGT Pro and the LMGT AM. The Championship exists from 8 different ways to win the championship:
- LMP 1 Driver Championship
- LMP 2 Driver Championship
- LMGTE Pro Driver Championship
- LMGTE Am Driver Championship
- LMP 1 Constructor Championship
- LMP 2 Constructor Championship
- LMGTE Pro Constructor Championship
- LMGTE Am Constructor Championship
Besides this, every race will have an overall winner.
Because the World Endurance Championship exists on multiple hours of racing, this also means that every car has multiple drivers. Every car in the World Endurance Championship should have three drivers. There is a small exception on this rule for the LMGTE cars, they can have two drivers in 4 and 6-hour races. During each race, every driver has to spend a minimum amount of time in the car. There is also a maximum time a driver is allowed to drive without a driver change. Both these times are set per race and can vary on the temperature outside the car.
The drivers are also placed in categorization:
Not every driver is allowed to race in every class. The rules are as followed:
- LMP 1 – There are no bronze drivers allowed.
- LMP 2 – One of the three drivers should be either silver or bronze.
- LMGTE Pro – Any class of drivers can be used.
- LMGTE Am – This class should have either 1 bronze driver and 1 silver driver, or two bronze drivers. No platinum drivers are allowed.
This is followed up by the following two rules:
In LMP 2 one of the two mandatory times laps during qualifying should be set by either a Silver or Bronze driver. In the LMGTE Am class, one of the two timed laps in qualifying should be set by a bronze driver.
The World Endurance Championship race weekend consists of three days. Friday is used for free practice. Normally the free practice is split in two where the LMGTE cars go out first, followed by the LMP cars later on. The Saturday is used for yet another free practice session, followed up by qualifying. Every qualifying session lasts 25 minutes. In this time two drivers need to set a fast lap. The average of the fast laps will be the qualifying time. Sunday is used for the race itself.