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Thread: 2017 WEC, IMSA&ELMS thread.

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    2017 WEC, IMSA&ELMS thread.



    Ginetta has a longstanding relationship with the ACO, having been the founding manufacturer of the hugely successful LMP3 class in 2015. Despite their contemporaneous LMP2 chassis bid being unsuccessful, the Ginetta design team has remained a powerful force in prototypes, moving toward P1 spec having released the powerful G57 in 2016. With both the Ginetta LMP3 and G57 securing their position as some of the most competitive prototypes in the world, Ginetta has seized the chance to add a LMP1 car to their range.

    The ACO has fixed the LMP1 rules for five years and offers an open forum for design comparative to the more controlled formula of P2. The Ginetta LMP1 design has therefore started from scratch, allowing Ginetta to partner with world-class designers and supply partners to create an extremely competitive car.

    Building on their current in-house expertise, Ginetta has brought legendary car manufacturer Adrian Reynard on-board to lead the aero development, along with a newly recruited Head of Aerodynamics who brings LMP1-H experience and will be named in due course. Paolo Catone, who previously designed the Le Mans winning Peugeot 908, will also be heavily involved in Ginetta LMP1 design.

    Lawrence Tomlinson, Ginetta Chairman: “I’m hugely thankful to the ACO for the opportunity to run at the front and challenge for overall podiums. The Ginetta design team’s ability has already been proven by the class dominating Ginetta LMP3 and G57. With Adrian and Paolo on board, the performance of the Ginetta LMP1 is going to be amazing. We are now offering a genuine ladder for our customers all the way from first race to Le Mans which is incredibly exciting for me.”


    Ginetta has further confirmed they are in advanced talks with engine supplier MECACHROME as well as gearbox manufacturers Xtrac for the drive train. The car will be around 60kg lighter than a P2 and have up to 200BHP more. Accompanied with the huge downforce that their new aerodynamic team will develop, Ginetta is confident this will be a class-leading car.


    Pierre Fillon, ACO President: “More great news for endurance racing! Ginetta has proven its expertise in creating successful high performance chassis in G57 and Ginetta LMP3 categories and entering LMP1, the top tier category of endurance racing, appears now to be an obvious move for Ginetta as it moves forward. The valued expertise of Ginetta’s partners for this programme is also very promising for the 2018 FIA World Endurance Championship.”

    Adrian Reynard, Owner ARC: “This certainly appeals to my competitive nature. Aerodynamics, drive-ability and fuel efficiency dominate race car performance in this category. With the highly talented team of experienced engineers that Ginetta has available, this LMP1 contender will be designed and developed to challenge at the highest level. Lawrence has a strong desire to create the very best LMP1 car available for the privateer and he has the commitment to deliver a production run of these”

    Ginetta will not be running a factory team but will be looking to build ten chassis to support three, two-car teams run by customers. Significant interest has already been expressed from both new and existing customers, including G57 customers PRT Racing and ARC Bratislava for their 2018 WEC campaigns.


    Miro Konopka, ARC Bratislava Team Owner: “After competing for many years in worldwide GT racing, Ginetta gave me the opportunity to move into prototypes with their LMP3. We are incredibly excited about this new chassis which will allow me to expand my motorsport platforms to include the WEC and every team and driver’s ambition, to compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.”

    Initial testing of the Ginetta LMP1 is expected to begin after this year’s Le Mans 24hrs.
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    Andre Lotterer testing new Porsche 919. His first outing in the 2017 car.



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    Scuderia Corsa Announces Driver Lineup for 24 Hours of Daytona

    GT-Daytona champions Nielsen and Balzan to be joined by Ferrari Factory driver Sam Bird and Matteo Cressoni

    Ferrari 488 GT3 to make its debut at Daytona.

    January 4, 2017 (Los Angeles, Calif.) - Scuderia Corsa, the defending champions of the IMSA and North American Endurance Cup GT-Daytona championships, has finalized its driver lineup for the 24 Hours of Daytona as well as the NAEC rounds of the 2017 IMSA championship.



    At Daytona, Christina Nielsen and Alessandro Balzan - who captured the IMSA and NAEC GT-Daytona driver's titles in 2016 - will be joined by Ferrari factory driver Sam Bird. Bird captured two victories in the 2016 World Endurance Championship driving the Ferrari 488 GTE and in his first year with Ferrari has greatly contributed to the WEC Manufacturer win.

    In the North American Endurance Cup, which is made up of the endurance races at Daytona, Sebring, Watkins Glen and Petit Le Mans, Nielsen and Balzan will be joined by Matteo Cressoni. Cressoni, a veteran of international sports car racing, previously drove for Scuderia Corsa in the team's no. 64 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 458 Italia at the 2014 Petit Le Mans.

    This year's 24 Hours of Daytona will also mark the debut of the Ferrari 488 GT3 in the endurance classic. The reliability and speed of the turbocharged Ferrari already well-proven, and with the demonstrated strength of the drivers, the team is aiming for a victorious debut for the car - similar to it's debut at the 12 Hours of Sebring last season.



    "With this driver lineup and the proven success of the 488 GT3, I am confident that Scuderia Corsa will defend our Championships this year. The GTD field has expanded this season to factory entries and we welcome the challenge" said Giacomo Mattioli, Scuderia Corsa Team Owner. "2017 marks the 70th anniversary for Ferrari and there is no better way to celebrate than success at the race track, where it all began"

    Scuderia Corsa will take part in this week's Roar Before the 24 at Daytona International Speedway on January 6th - 8th.

    24 Hours of Daytona Technical Analysis - Joe LaJoie, Scuderia Corsa Engineer

    The Rolex 24 Hour is a pure endurance race so the racecar handling takes a backseat to other aspects. The planning and preparation is critical and starts in November. The crew must completely refurbish the car and prepare spares. The crew must prepare for more than 28 stops in the race while each driver will run more than 5 hours each and the first twenty-one hours must be error free in order to race the last three as a sprint race.

    In past races at Daytona, most teams would sacrifice the infield in order to run low drag to assure being fast down the straights while keeping the braking excellent in order to pass. Trim the car out too much and the car can be difficult to drive - especially for 24 hours. The arrival of the GT3 specification has altered this tactic somewhat.

    Top speed has not been one of our strengths relative to the competition. The car has always shown competitive lap times while being well balance throughout the fuel load and life of the tire. This means the car is easier to drive than others, a good strength to have for the 24 Hour.
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    Can see this year going to yet another good year of sportscar racing. Hope FIA/ACO can sort out all the BoP shambles from last year and the WEC GTE can race fair and even. Talking of that, still waiting to hear on 1 driver announcement in GTE Pro. Just hope he doesnt move

    Hope Toyota can carry on the performance we saw at the end of last year to take a good fight to Porsche, And in IMSA, with all new DPi cars, i can honestly say thats going to be an exciting series this year. Cannt wait for Daytona 24.

    Im off to Silverstone again in April for WEC, this year im going to the Friday practice. Will do Facebook live thing from the AF pits on the friday.
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    I will really try to get to grips with WEC and sportscar racing in general this year, so thanks for keeping us updated, Rob, and let's hope that the Ferrari teams can give us something to celebrate. Always best to have a plan B in case F1 lets us down....again!

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    Quote Originally Posted by wisepie View Post
    I will really try to get to grips with WEC and sportscar racing in general this year, so thanks for keeping us updated, Rob, and let's hope that the Ferrari teams can give us something to celebrate. Always best to have a plan B in case F1 lets us down....again!
    No problem Andy. If want ask question or anything else you always drop me a PM on FB any time mate.
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    RISI COMPETIZIONE RETURN FOR THE 2017 IMSA WEATHERTECH SPORTSCAR CHAMPIONSHIP AT THE ROAR BEFORE THE 24

    Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTLM No. 62: Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA), Toni Vilander (FIN), James Calado (ENG)


    Daytona Beach, Florida (January 5, 2017)...Risi Competizione kicks off the New Year at the Roar Before the 24, the pre-race test event for all Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona entrants, on January 6-8, 2017. The pairing of drivers Giancarlo Fisichella and Toni Vilander return for the Rolex 24 and are joined by James Calado in the Ferrari 488 GTLM for the season's inaugural Daytona race. Off the back of an impressive win at last year's final event, Petit Le Mans, the three return to the team determined to collect the one global sports car victory that has eluded the Risi Competizione team.

    Last year the team received delivery of its brand new Ferrari 488 just days prior to the 54th running of the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona and managed a sixth-place finish in the highly competitive GTLM class. This year the team start the year with a full season of successful racing behind them with the Ferrari 488 including a win, three podiums and seven top-five finishes.

    Having run at IMSA's manufacturer's two-day test in December, the Risi team will be using the upcoming Roar Before the 24 to perfect their set up for the best performance and make sure they are well-prepared ahead of the twice-around-the-clock enduro at the end of the month.


    The No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 at the 2016 Rolex 24 at Daytona race event

    Rick Mayer, Risi Competizione Race Engineer:
    What are your goals for the ROAR Before the 24?
    "There is limited track time at the race event later this month. You never know what the weather will do for race week. We have the time to get Giancarlo and James comfortable with the car and back in 'race mode' after the break between Petit and the ROAR. Toni just completed the mandatory manufacturer's two-day test in December, so we don't need to run too many laps in the 14 hours of available track time. We'll try and put 'polish' on race related items; drivers' changes, radio communication, pit work, etc."

    How does the competition look to stack up in the GTLM class this year in IMSA?
    "Every car/manufacture will be fast and capable of winning the race.No team/car/manufacturer is trying to go fast from a fear of a balance of performance change against them. We really won't know the competitions true pace until a few hours into the race. We'll have to wait and see how the balance of performance is set for the race."

    What's new for 2017?
    "No changes to the proven seasoned Risi Competizione crew. No changes to the F488 GTLM car or car systems for Daytona. This is the same spec car we raced at Petit. There are no endurance concerns for any component. All the GTLM cars are running this year on the same spec of Michelin tires we finishing the year with, or what they chose at the Michelin test in October. This is a different spec of tire than we raced at Daytona with last year but the same spec tires we all tested on in last month's December test."

    You'll have Toni, Giancarlo and James back together again for the Rolex 24. Their last race together was the victory at Petit. How strong do you think the pairing of the three drivers is for a difficult race like the Rolex 24?

    "It has to be one of the best, if not the best, driver pairings in the field. They all know how to win long endurance races. They get along well on and off track; such a key component. They are all quick, focused, know the car and Daytona and work well in the Risi environment. You can't ask for more than that."

    Giancarlo Fisichella, driver, No. 62 Ferrari 488 GTLM:
    Welcome back to Risi Competizione as you prepare for the Rolex 24 this week. What have you been doing since your victory at the season finale at Petit?
    "After Petit, the last IMSA race of season, I raced at Vallelunga for the 6 Hours and we won. I also went to the last couple of F1 championship races. Since November until now I was a bit free. I did some training and went on holiday for the new year and Christmas to Zanzibar with my family, which was nice. I continue to do training, as usual, to keep fit. The season is starting soon with the Rolex 24 at Daytona the end of January. I'm looking forward to it and with Toni and James. I'm really looking forward to the same Risi Team. We had such a fantastic end of season last year so I would like to start again with another great result. We have a good crew and car and drivers so I'm very happy for this."

    What are your goals for the Roar Test at Daytona this week?
    "The goal is obviously to run a lot. We want to get lots of data, try to find the best set up for the race weekend, try some different materials, springs, develop the right downforce for the race, turn lots of laps, see the tire behavior, etc. for consistency, and generally prepare well for the race."

    How well do you think you work with Toni and James and what are you hoping to achieve for the Rolex 24?
    "It's been great with Toni all season together last year. Toni's a nice guy, a really professional driver. We developed a good friendship and he speaks good Italian. We did one race together with James together last year and we won -- at Petit Le Mans. He's really great driver. He had a fantastic race with us, with not one mistake. I'm looking forward to having him with us again for the Rolex 24 and maybe more."

    How does the competition look to stack up in the GTLM class this year in IMSA?
    "It will be very tough. Corvette is very strong, and Ford as well, and BMW. There is a new Porsche for 2017 and it will be good to see how it does. All the best manufacturers are in this category, so we will be fighting. It will be quite tough!"

    Toni Vilander, driver, No. 62 Ferrari 488 GTLM:
    Welcome back to Risi Competizione as you prepare for the Rolex 24 this week. What have you been doing since your victory at the season finale at Petit?
    "Not much. I have been relaxing with my family and training. We had the Ferrari World finals in Daytona and we did the IMSA test. It was good to have a little break. I'm ready to go now."

    What are your goals for the Roar Test at Daytona this week?
    "Just to be in the car again. We will do the test schedule planned by Rick and we go from there."

    How well do you think you work with Giancarlo and James and what are you hoping to achieve for the Rolex 24?
    "We have a very good driver line up. I would love to win this race and if we get a trouble-free run, everything is possible."

    How does the competition look to stack up in the GTLM class this year in IMSA?
    "GTLM is very tight and tough. There are strong race cars with best crews in the world. It will be difficult!"

    James Calado, driver, No. 62 Ferrari 488 GTLM:
    Welcome back to Risi Competizione. What were your thoughts when you were asked to join the Risi Competizione team again for the Rolex 24?
    "Well firstly I would like to thank Risi Competizione and Ferrari for giving me the opportunity to come back and race for the second time. It's great to know the team have confidence in me after our great result in Road Atlanta. I am really looking forward to working with everyone again and of course we will be fighting for another win."

    I believe last year was your first Rolex 24. What did you learn from then that you will take with you into the Test this weekend and into the race the end of the month?
    "Last year's Rolex 24 was certainly an experience. Unfortunately, we retired with mechanical problems. It's an extremely long race and very demanding on the car. I learned that we need to preserve the car, the race really opens up towards the end and obviously we need the car in good condition to be able compete for a good result. I think the key is to stay out of trouble, maintain concentration and stay out of trouble."

    How well do you think you work with Giancarlo and Toni?
    "Both drivers have huge amounts of talent. Both on and off the track. We worked well together in Atlanta and they really helped me get up to speed. I will take their advice and experience on board and we will see how it goes. We have fairly similar feedback with regards to the car set up, so this helps a lot going forward."

    What are your goals for the Roar Test at Daytona?
    "The main goal is to check the car is running well and set up properly for the race itself. We will see where we need to improve compared to our competitors and see what we can do to maximize our performance ready for the race. We will play around with different set ups and see where we are by the end. I think it's important we maximize the time available and concentrate on some race running and getting used to managing the traffic as best as possible. We know last years' winners will be strong, so it will be interesting."
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    BREAKING NEWS: CLEARWATER AIMS FOR FIA WEC
    SATURDAY, JANUARY 7 2017

    We are pleased to announce that Clearwater Racing have made the decision to apply for a full season entry in the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship season, with the same team and drivers that are currently taking part in the 2016/2017 Asian Le Mans Series.

    This means that Clearwater Racing, with a Ferrari 488 LM GTE, in the same livery as the current car, with drivers Mok Weng Sun, Keita Sawa and Matt Griffin, along with their Asian crew, supported by AF Corse, will hopefully be joining the FIA World Endurance Championship, competing in the GTE Am class. Clearwater Racing have already taken part in the 24 Hours of Le Mans last year, finishing fourth in class, having won a place thanks to their GT championship title in the 2015-2016 Asian Le Mans Series. After that first taste, it looks like the team are ready to take their next step.

    This goes to show that the ACO’s goal with the Asian Le Mans Series, that it would be a platform for Asian teams to get onto the endurance racing ladder, is working and giving the teams that opportunity to compete at a higher level.

    Clearwater Racing would be the first Southeast Asian team to take part in the FIA WEC for a full season. Eurasia, the team behind Wineurasia that also takes part in the Asian LMS, have competed in the European Le Mans Series.



    Cyrille Taesch Wahlen, Asian Le Mans Series Managing Director: “It’s great to see one of our teams taking the next step on the endurance racing ladder. It goes to show that the Asian Le Mans Series is doing what it set out to do, which is to give teams the opportunity to work their way up to competing in a World Championship. We will of course miss them in our paddock, but we wish them the best of luck with their endeavour.”

    Mok Weng Sung, Clearwater Racing Team Principal: “We’ve been thinking about this for a while, but it’s a big commitment, financially as well as time wise. I’ve been waving back and forth on the idea, and then this weekend I just had a good chat with the team and said ‘Let’s go do it’. I was actually planning on retiring from racing after this season in the Asian Le Mans Series; I’ve been doing it for 11 years and I’ll be turning 50 next year, so I thought I’d wind it back. But the lure of being able to race in the premier GT championship in the World was just too much of a lure, and of course I want to go back to Le Mans, and so to have a guaranteed entry as well as the ability to race on the greatest circuits on the planet with top rated teams, I just said – Let’s go do it!”
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    Fassler Escapes Major Fire During Roar Before 24 Session

    #4 Corvette in major drama
    Marcel Fassler was fortunate to escape unhurt after the #4 factory Corvette C7.R suffered a major fire on track during Sunday’s penultimate track session.

    The Swiss driver was running at speed when the fire started coming into NASCAR Turn 2, Fassler able to pull the car onto the infield and rapidly decamp, shaken but uninjured.

    Martin Spetz’s pictures taken as the heavily damaged Corvette was returned to the paddock show clearly that the major damage occurred around the front left corner, drivers side.

    The session was red flagged as a result of the incident.

    A statement issued later by Jim Campbell, Chevrolet U.S Vice President, Performance Vehicles and Motorsports:

    During this morning’s practice session at Daytona, the No. 4 Corvette C7.R experienced an issue with a fuel line that allowed fuel to escape, contact a hot surface and ignite. The fire was quickly extinguished. The damage was limited to the engine compartment of the car.

    The driver, Marcel Fässler, was taken to the infield care center as a precaution; he was evaluated, released and cleared to drive.
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    SCOTT DIXON PACES GTLM ON SECOND DAY OF ROAR

    Multi-time IndyCar champ Scott Dixon, who races in that series for team owner Chip Ganassi, has been a part of Ganassi’s development of the Ford GT from the start. So it isn’t surprising that the open-wheel expert is just as impressive in a car with a roof. Dixon laid down a lap of 1:44.558 in the number 67 Ford GT in Saturday’s morning session, the quickest overall of anyone in GTLM.

    “Yeah, it was good,” he said. “I think the whole program – especially with the mix of four cars here now – everybody’s been meshing quite well, trying to get through the test plan. Lap times are always funny, especially running here. It’s just maybe you’re in the right spot at the right time.”

    After strong storms moved through Friday night and Saturday morning, temperatures dropped from the mid-70s Friday to the mid-40s Saturday afternoon. “Yesterday was a perfect day,” he said, but being able to run on a wet track, and in much cooler temperatures, is good preparation for what could happen in the Rolex 24.

    “I think it’s good to have the opportunity to run the car in those options,” he said. “That’s a bonus of having a four-car team – you can really look into those options. But any weather condition, anytime you can be on the track, it’s a good time.”

    JANI AT EASE ON HIGH BANKS: Before this week, Swiss driver Neel Jani, pilot of the Gibson-powered No. 13 Rebellion Racing ORECA LM P2 car, had never seen Daytona International Speedway, and had never driven the car he is racing.

    But he went out Friday, the first of the three-day Roar Before the Rolex 24 pre-season practice session, and set the fastest overall time.

    So we shouldn’t be surprised that Jani also was fastest in two of the three practice sessions on Saturday for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, and he didn’t participate in that third session, which was run in the rain. In fact, only 32 of the 55 cars in attendance left the garage to run on the wet pavement. In that session, Ricky Taylor was quickest in the No. 10 Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac DPi that he is sharing with brother Jordan, Max Angelelli and four-time NASCAR champ Jeff Gordon.

    Jani’s quickest time of the two days came in Saturday’s night practice, where the much cooler air resulted in a best lap of 1 minute, 38.944 seconds, making him the only driver to lap at under 1:39.

    Even so, Jani isn’t ready to declare a sure victory in the Rolex 24. “To be honest, I’m not reading too much into it yet. We’ve just been focusing on getting to know the car – it’s completely new,” he said. “Working with the team’s engineers, we’ve made a lot of changes on the car. There’s still some room to improve, but that’s normal. But I don’t think everyone else is really showing what they can do. The main thing for us was working on reliability, and so far it’s great – knock on wood.”

    Second-quickest in the night session was Nicolas Lapierre, with a lap of 1:39.461 in the DragonSpeed Oreca P2, followed by Tristan Nunez in the No. 55 Mazda DPi, with a lap of 1:39.612.

    In the Prototype Challenge class, Kyle Masson had the best time in the night session with a lap of 1:43.119 in the No. 38 Performance Tech car. In GT Le Mans, Andy Priaulx was fastest in the No. 69 Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT with a lap of 1:44.785. And in GT Daytona, the class was led by the number 29 Audi R8 LMS GT3 with a lap of 1:47.723 by driver Christopher Mies.

    Two more practice sessions are scheduled for Sunday. It’s the final chance teams to shake down their cars prior to the Rolex 24 at Daytona on January 28 and 29.

    CONTI CHALLENGE CARS TAKE TO THE TRACK: Twenty-one Grand Sport and 10 Street Tuner cars from the IMSA Continental Tire SportsCar Challenge series are entered in the Roar, preparing for the four-hour BMW Endurance Challenge season opener at Daytona on January 27, the official start to Speedweeks.

    The size of the GS field suggests that recent rule changes regarding the cars that qualify for the class is a success, as entries include new McLarens, Aston Martins, Porsches and Ford Mustangs.

    In the four sessions the Continental Tire Challenge cars have participated in so far, the fastest lap on the 3.56-mile track was a 1:56.125 set in the opening session by Charles Espenlaub in the No. 99 Automatic Racing Aston Martin Vantage. Sessions two and four were led by the number 15 Multimatic Motorsports Ford Mustang GT4, which is the defending champion. Session three, run in the rain, was led by the No. 77 C360 McLaren GT4.

    In Street Tuner, the fast lap also came in the first session, where Connor Bloum turned a best lap of 2:04.238 in the RS1 Porsche Cayman, which also led session four, with co-driver Nick Longhi Sessions two and three were led by the No. 56 Murillo Racing Porsche Cayman.

    MAZDAS BOUNCE BACK: The two Mazda DPis may bear some resemblance to last year’s cars, but they are all new, and consequently are suffering some teething pains. Suspension and gearbox issues sidelined one of the cars on Friday, necessitating an overnight fix of one of the components for both Mazdas, as well as the No. 90 Visit Florida Racing Multimatic/Riley P2 car, which shares the same chassis.

    But both Mazdas bounced back on Saturday, with the best showing coming in the fourth session when the No. 55 car, driven by Tristan Nunez, was the second-fastest car in the field, with a best lap of 1:39.157, right behind Neel Jani’s 139.017 in the same session.

    In the night session, the No. 55 Mazda was third fastest, and the No. 70 team car was 10th quickest. The new car “is very different to drive,” said Tom Long, who drives the No. 70. “From the way it accelerates, to the way it brakes, it feels very different. It’s a lot of fun, especially at night here at Daytona.”
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    REBELLION Racing Media Team


    REBELLION RACING UNVEIL FULL 2017 FIA WEC DRIVERS SQUAD
    JULIEN CANAL AND DAVID HEINEMEIER HANSSON JOIN THE SWISS TEAM

    REBELLION Racing is pleased to announce today its full 2017 driver line-up for the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship and Le Mans 24 Hours.

    During December 2016, four of the REBELLION Racing drivers were already confirmed: Nicolas Prost, Mathias Beche, Nelson Piquet Jr and Bruno Senna.

    Alongside this quartet, REBELLION Racing have selected Julien Canal and David Heinemeier Hansson to join the team. With the high level of competition in LMP2 in the FIA World Endurance Championship and Le Mans 24 Hours, the choice of the mandatory « Silver » categorised drivers is a strategic one.

    Julien Canal has strong experience in the FIA WEC and at Le Mans 24 Hours with already having made seven starts and the famous endurance race. Julien won the GTE-AM World title in 2012 (Corvette), he won the FIA WEC LMP2 World championship in 2015, and was runner-up in 2014. At Le Mans 24 Hours, Julien has won three times in GT classes (GT1 and GTE) and secured a podium finish in LMP2 in 2015.

    David Heinemeier Hansson has also been a regular of the FIA WEC for the last four years. David finished the 2013 FIA WEC in second place of the LMP2 drivers classification, he won the GTE-AM Championship with Aston Martin in 2014 and finished runner-up in 2016 in the GTE-AM class with Porsche. At Le Mans 24 Hours, David won the GTE-AM class in 2014 with Aston Martin. He secured a second place finish in LMP2 in 2013 and an additional podium in GTE-AM in 2016 with Porsche.

    REBELLION Racing will ask the FIA WEC to run with race car numbers 13 and 31 for the 2017 season. Mathias Beche, Nelson Piquet Jr and David Heinemeier Hansson will compete together in car #13 and in car #31, Nicolas Prost, Bruno Senna and Julien Canal will share driving duties.

    Julien Canal : "REBELLION Racing is a leading team and as soon as they announced their LMP2 program I contacted them. In addition, I know many drivers in the team who are also my friends and I had for several years positive feedback on the value of the team. After winning the FIA WEC LMP2 in 2015, my desire to return to this championship was very high and I wanted to come back with a strong team, a team with the will to win and positive vibe. I cannot wait to drive the new Oreca “07” LMP2 car. I know Bruno Senna, we get on very well, and with Nico our friendly relationship goes back for many years, I'm looking forward to sharing this car with them both. A great 2017 season awaits us !”

    David Heinemeier Hansson : "I'm thrilled to be part of REBELLION Racing's new focus on LMP2. Since I started racing at a top level, REBELLION Racing has stood at the pinnacle of the privateer tradition with pace, style, and a determination to see things through.
    I couldn't wish for a better team to begin my fifth full season in the FIA WEC and my sixth crack at the 24 hours of Le Mans. The competition is tougher than ever in LMP2, the cars are more exciting than ever, and together we will be ready as a team."

    Bart Hayden, REBELLION Racing Team Manager: “We are looking forward to a great season of racing in 2017 in the FIA World Endurance Championship and in June we hope to have another strong showing at Le Mans. We are fortunate to benefit from a talented and experienced pool of drivers again this year. I’m convinced that they will all do a great job and work well together.”
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    New Year, New Regulations for LMP2
    ELMS

    2017 is the year the new LMP2 regulations come into effect with teams now being able to choose to run a car from four chassis manufacturers, all powered by a single engine supplier which offers a significant increase in performance while at the same time reducing the running costs.

    The Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2) is defined as a closed racing car, destined only to teams independent from chassis constructors and the engine supplier. The new regulations aim to ensure long-term success for the category with a reduction in costs and the guarantee of stability in the regulations.

    The four constructors who will supply chassis for the cars that will compete in the LMP2 category are: Dallara, Onroak Automotive, Oreca and the joint-venture Riley Tech/Multimatic.

    In the European Le Mans Series, FIA World Endurance Championship and Asian Le Mans Series all LMP2 cars will be equipped with Gibson Technology engines. The 4-litre V8 engine, which was unveiled at the 2016 24 Hours of Le Mans, delivers around 600bhp, an increase of approximately 100bhp on engines run in 2016. In addition to the power increase, teams will be able to reduce their engine costs, taking advantage of all the services linked to running an engine without significant extra charges - such as technical service and presence at the track.

    Cosworth Electronics will be the single electronics supplier. The unique Cosworth electronic unit will also provide a more efficient level of service (equipment, etc.), while enabling the performance of the engines run in the ELMS, FIAWEC and Asian LMS and in the American series to be managed.

    The weight and dimensions of the 2017 LMP2 cars have changed from the closed cockpit cars run previously with the maximum measurements of the new cars being longer, narrower, slightly taller and 30kg heavier.

    The new 2017 LMP2 cars will first race in Europe at the opening round of the European Le Mans Series on Saturday 15 April 2017 at Silverstone in the UK. The public will be able to see the new cars on track during The Prologue, the official pre-season test for ELMS (28/29 March) and the FIA WEC (1/2 April) at Monza in Italy.
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    Thanks Rob on the updates.....nice to see an entry in the LMP1(Ginetta) class at 24 Heurs of Le Mans while Audi pulls out. I am sure they(Ginetta) will have its first couple of years of hick-ups and speed bumps.

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    LM GTE Pro at Le Mans 2012-2016 (1) - Drivers and achievements The 2017 24 Hours of Le Mans press conference will be held on Thursday 2 February. In the meantime, let’s look back at the winners in the LM GTE Pro class since the World Endurance Championship was introduced in 2012.



    Exclusively composed of factory teams, the LM GTE Pro class boasts top notch competitors including some of the world's leading GT experts as well as former F1 drivers (Giancarlo Fisichella, Sébastien Bourdais), and one two-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner named Romain Dumas.

    - Twelve drivers representing seven nations have won in the LM GTE Pro class since 2012: Italy (Gianmaria Bruni and Giancarlo Fisichella in 2012 and 2014), Finland (Toni Vilander in 2012 and 2014), Germany (Marc Lieb in 2013, Dirk Müller in 2016), France (Romain Dumas in 2013, Sébastien Bourdais in 2016), Austria (Richard Lietz in 2013), Great Britain (Oliver Gavin in 2015) and the U.S. (Tommy Milner and Jordan Taylor in 2015, Joey Hand in 2016).

    - Gianmaria Bruni, Giancarlo Fisichella and Toni Vilander are the only driver line-up to win twice in the LM GTE Pro class (2012 and 2014) since the creation of the World Endurance Championship (WEC).

    - In 2014, Gianmaria Bruni also won the FIA World Endurance Championship GT Drivers Cup, which he had already won in 2013, along with Toni Vilander.

    - Winner in LM GTE Pro at the 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans, Richard Lietz also won the FIA World Endurance Championship GT Drivers Cup, in 2015.

    - LM GTE Pro winner in 2013, French driver Romain Dumas has two overall victories (in 2010 with Audi and 2016 with Porsche), including a new distance record in 2010 shared with Timo Bernhard and Mike Rockenfeller, his teammates at the time. He also became the 2016 World Endurance Drivers Champion.

    - Among other exploits, Romain Dumas and Marc Lieb won at the 24 Hours of Le Mans together in two different classes: LM GTE Pro in 2013 (with Richard Lietz) and overall in LM P1 in 2016 (with Neel Jani).
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    Quote Originally Posted by jgonzalesm6 View Post
    Thanks Rob on the updates.....nice to see an entry in the LMP1(Ginetta) class at 24 Heurs of Le Mans while Audi pulls out. I am sure they(Ginetta) will have its first couple of years of hick-ups and speed bumps.
    Be good to see them in 2018. Need more manufacturers.
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    In two weeks’ time the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship full season entry list will be revealed in an online conference live from Le Mans on Thursday 2nd February at 4:00 pm CET
    Last edited by Rob; 20th January 2017 at 14:25.
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    TEQUILA PATRÓN ESM DEBUTS 2017 LIVERIES FOR NISSAN ONROAK DPI MACHINES

    Seven years ago, Tequila Patrón ESM arrived on the sports car racing scene in the American Le Mans Series, boasting its bold green and black liveries. Since 2010, the Florida based team has claimed victory nine times, earning an additional twenty podiums in professional competition. Today, Tequila Patrón ESM has returned to full-time competition in the United States, entering two Nissan Onroak DPis in the Prototype class of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

    The 2017 race season begins this week at Daytona International Speedway for the 55th annual Rolex 24 at Daytona, where Tequila Patrón ESM will debut its new liveries for the two machines. Both cars will be donned in a striking black, lime green, and chrome livery, complete with the Tequila Patrón bottles, representing the eight year partnership between the premium tequila brand and Extreme Speed Motorsports. The bold green and chrome lines start at the nose of the Nissan machines, dynamically flowing with each piece of bodywork. Below the No. 2 and No. 22 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship number plates on each nose, sits a bottle of Patrón Silver, one of the brand’s most popular spirits. The rear of the cockpits are adorned with a bottle of Patrón Silver on each side, followed by the Patrón logo on the fin, and the notable bee on the end plates.

    “We are especially excited to welcome Tequila Patrón back to ESM for our eighth season together and celebrate this with an exciting, new livery to kick off the DPi program,” said team principal and driver Scott Sharp. “As electric as the cars can be visually, we are working overtime to equal that in speed.”

    “We're so excited to be back in the United States racing,” said Ed Brown, President and CEO of the Patrón Spirits Company, and driver of the No. 22 car. “The new DPI cars are amazing. Our livery is amazing on our new Ligier Nissan NISMO can't wait for all our fans to see our cars!”

    The team took delivery of the first car shortly before Christmas 2016, immediately traveling to Sebring International Raceway for a two day test with full time drivers Scott Sharp, Ed Brown, Ryan Dalziel, and Johannes van Overbeek. Following delivery of the second car a week later, the team packed up the transporters and kicked off the New Year with the first official test of the season, the Roar Before the 24 at Daytona International Speedway. While the team received their cars later than other competitors running DPi machines, they were not to be deterred, efficiently using every minute available to their advantage. From there, the team journeyed to Sebring International Raceway to conduct a third test in preparation for the approaching race season.

    “As expected with any new car program, we’ve been working our way through the usual teething issues,” said Sharp. “Our complete team—ESM, Onroak, and Nissan-NISMO—have put forth a gallant effort to cure all of these and properly prepare both cars for a grueling 24 Hours of Daytona. We know we’re lacking in test time and miles to our competitors, but we’re excited about the potential of our package in the future!”

    The pressure is on for the Rolex 24 Hours to Daytona, where last year Tequila Patrón ESM performed flawlessly to capture its first 24 hour victory. The longest race on the IMSA schedule, the 24 Hours demands the top levels of endurance from man and machine, making the event a true team effort from every crew member involved. Scott Sharp, Ryan Dalziel, and Pipo Derani will pilot the No. 2 car, with Ed Brown, Johannes van Overbeek, Bruno Senna, and Brendon Hartley fielding the No. 22 entry. The first on track sessions begin Thursday, January 26, and the competitors will take the green flag Saturday, January, 28th at 2:30PM Eastern. For more information, visit imsa.com.
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    2017 Le Mans 24 Hours - 14 teams invited With just 10 days to go to the announcement of the complete list of teams selected for the 85th Le Mans 24 Hours on 17-18 June, 14 teams have already won an invitation to participate in qualifying for the 2017 Sarthe Classic. These have been awarded taking into account the results of the 2016 Le Mans 24 Hours, European Le Mans Series, IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, Asian Le Mans Series, the last round of which took place this Sunday, and the Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup.

    2017 Le Mans 24 Hours - 14 teams invited

    One invitation for:

    Porsche Team: victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours in the LM P1 category. Invitation in LM P1.

    Signatech Alpine: victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours in the LM P2 category. Invitation in LM P2.

    Ford Chip Ganassi Team USA: victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours in the LM GTE Pro category. Invitation in LM GTE Pro.

    Scuderia Corsa: victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours in the LM GTE category. Invitation in LM GTE Am.

    G Drive Racing: victory in the European Le Mans Series in the LM P2 category. Invitation in LM P2.

    Aston Martin Racing: victory in the European Le Mans Series in the LM GTE category. Invitation in LM GTE Pro or Am.

    JMW Motorsport: 2nd in the European Le Mans Series in the LM GTE category. Invitation in LM GTE Pro or Am.

    United Autosports: victory in the European Le Mans Series in the LM P3 category. Invitation in LM P2.

    Keating Motorsports: designated by IMSA for the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Invitation in LM P2.

    Scuderia Corsa: designated by IMSA for the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. Invitation in LM GTE Am.

    Algarve Pro Racing: victory in the Asian Le Mans Series in the LM P2 category. Invitation in LM P2.

    DH Racing: victory in the Asian Le Mans Series in the GT category. Invitation in LM GTE Pro or Am.

    Tockwith Motorsports: victory in the Asian Le Mans Series in the LM P3 category. Invitation in LM P2 or LM GTE Am.

    TF Sport: victory in the Michelin GT3 Le Mans Cup. Invitation in LM GTE Am

    Each invitation will be confirmed only if the car in question is entered in one of the following three championships in 2017: Asian Le Mans Series, European Le Mans Series and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

    This list represents the possible entry of 14 cars out of the 60 places available on the grid on Saturday 17th June at 15h00.

    The entries for the 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours, FIA World Endurance Championship (FIA WEC) and European Le Mans Series have been open since Friday 16th December. The closing date is tomorrow Tuesday 24th January.

    The complete lists will be announced live from Le Mans on Thursday 2nd February at 16:00 in exclusivity on the internet in a totally new innovative format. As of now the media and surfers can pose questions via the social networks using the hashtag #Endurance2017.

    Rendezvous on our internet sites and social networks on 2nd February!
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    I think 2rd of Feb, we will hear publicly and officially where Gimmi will be driving this year. Been alot of chat and rumours of him leaving to join Porsche. I have been told some information about the situation and Gimmis future already, and Im been sworn to secrecy.
    Last edited by Rob; 24th January 2017 at 10:15.
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    RISI COMPETIZIONE SEEKS TO RETURN TO WINNING WAYS FOR 55TH ANNUAL ROLEX 24 AT DAYTONA

    Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTLM No. 62: Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA), Toni Vilander (FIN), James Calado (ENG)


    (Houston, Texas, January 24, 2017)...The Risi Competizione Ferrari GTLM team bring their 2016 Petit Le Mans winning driver line-up to Daytona for the 55th Annual Rolex 24 At Daytona, January 28-29, 2017, at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida.

    The outstanding trio of Giancarlo Fisichella (Italy), Toni Vilander (Finland), and James Calado (Great Britain) will drive the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTLM in the inaugural race of the 2017 International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) WeatherTech SportsCar Championship series.

    As 2017 marks the 70th anniversary of Ferrari, Risi Competizione hopes to start the year with a strong victory in one of the most challenging races of the season. A victory at Petit Le Mans and second-place finish at the 24 Hours of Le Mans last year proved the small independent team out of Houston, Texas could hold its own in the toughest endurances races in the world against the GT Le Mans class factory teams of Ford, Corvette, BMW and Porsche.

    At last year's Rolex 24 Risi Competizione had just taken delivery from Michelotto of their Ferrari 488 just days before the 24-hour race. Their debut of their new twin-turbo 488 produced a strong sixth-place finish despite damage to the diffuser and being down on power for the final six hours of the race. This year will be Risi Competizione's 14th time to enter the Rolex 24 twice-around-the-clock race with their best finishes in second place (1999 and 2003).



    Rick Mayer, Risi Competizione Race Engineer:
    Were you able to achieve all you set out to complete during test days at Roar Before the 24? "I think we did for the most part. The weather wasn't ideal but we also attended the mandatory manufacturer's test for Ferrari in December where we did the majority of the setup work. It was good to get all three drivers through the car and start working on fine tuning and ergonomic items. During race week, there isn't much testing time to do much and you can't control the weather. The Roar is really your last chance to change anything significant."

    Do you feel you have your setup well sorted going in to the week or do you still have some work to do this week before race start?
    "We mainly just have small items to work on. The crew completely stripped the car after the Roar, changed the engine and completely rebuilt the car to be race ready. All the parts are very consistent for this car (part for part), but there's always a small difference build to build. The track is always evolving as well, but I think we're close to where we want to race."

    What are you most looking forward to about this first race of the race season...and a 24-hour one?
    "For me personally, the best part about the 24 Hours of Daytona is when it's over! It's a gruelling race for everyone. People who know me well know 24-hour races are not at the top of my 'fun to do' list. There are huge challenges on many fronts; mental, physical and machinery. It takes a specific mindset and approach to 24-hour races that's much different than races that are 12 hours and shorter."

    The GTLM class is always a challenging class. How are things shaping up for the Rolex 24 competition this year?
    "Every manufacturer ran competitively at the Roar, but certainly all have a bit in their pocket. For sure some more than others, whether that's 2% or 10%, we might not know until noon on Sunday starting the final stints. I think we have a meticulously prepared and competitive car, a great driver line-up, and a very seasoned and experienced crew/team."

    At last year's 24 Hours of Le Mans it was a Ferrari vs. Ford battle. Do you see more of the same at Daytona this weekend?
    "Any of the 11 GTLMs can win this race. We hope to be in the mix for a win with the Risi Ferrari. Historically Risi Competizione has been very strong in 10, 12 and 24 hour races. We don't expect that to change. Ford has four cars, with Ferrari having one. Statistically Ford would have an advantage but we'll see where we are come Sunday morning in race. A lot can happen in 24 hours, and a lot you can't control."

    This is the same compound tire you raced with later last year but not at Daytona. How do you think these Michelin tires will be for this year's Rolex 24 race?
    "The current spec of Michelin tires started at Laguna last year. We feel the current Michelin tires suit our car a bit better than the options at last year's Daytona. It's the same for all GTLMs as we're all on Michelin's, each manufacturer has tested and picked their tire options for the season. From our two tests at Daytona I think we are in good shape and happy with what we have."

    You've chosen to use three drivers instead of four. Do you think this will help or could it maybe be more of a challenge at the Rolex 24 when most other teams are using four drivers? "Most of our GTLM competitors have selected three driver line-ups. All three of our drivers get on so well together. They really are a coherent group; that's rare and we're very lucky. Le Mans is always a maximum of three drivers and all our drivers are used to this format. It requires a certain mind set and discipline to pace yourself (driver and crew). All three drivers have won major endurance races and all know what it takes. We're very happy with the driver line-up we have."



    (L-R) Risi Competizione Drivers: James Calado, Toni Vilander, and Giancarlo Fisichella

    Toni Vilander, driver, No. 62 Ferrari 488 GTLM:
    The Rolex 24 At Daytona is the most prominent race in this series. What expectations do you have going into the event?
    "I would love to win this race. It is a tough one with traffic and it takes a lot of patience to get through the night. We have very strong line-up and the team has one full season with the 488 so on paper everything looks good."

    What are your favorite things about the Daytona race and the race circuit? Do you like driving on the banking?
    "It is a different kind of race track and a lot of the lap is on full throttle. You need to have a fast car on the long straights; the banking is quite easy flat but it always takes some extra concentration."

    The Risi Competizione team has won Le Mans, Sebring and Petit but never Daytona. How special would it be to bring a victory home for Mr. Risi as you nearly did at Le Mans and you did at Petit last year?
    "It would be really special for all of us, to everyone at Risi, Ferrari and Michelotto."

    You and Giancarlo have won several 24-hour races together. What makes a good teammate in endurance racing?
    "A consistent, not selfish; adapt quickly to changing situations; calm and team work type of driver."

    This is the 70th anniversary of Ferrari. What makes the Ferrari brand so special and loved by so many people and Tifosi around the world?
    "History, passion for racing, great drivers and great battles for the titles. The heart of Ferrari is about racing."

    After running the Roar Test earlier this month, what new things did you learn to help in either the set up or your personal race craft for this year's race?
    "We did less laps but more quality. We went through the whole test program Rick had made for us. Small changes on the set-up were made but nothing radical. Let's see when the race starts and everyone is on the top of their game."

    Giancarlo Fisichella, driver, No. 62 Ferrari 488 GTLM:
    This is the 70th anniversary of Ferrari. 2017 is your ninth year as a Ferrari factory driver. What makes the Ferrari brand so special and revered around the world by so many Tifosi?
    "It's great. The Ferrari brand one of the most important brands in the world. It's nice to celebrate Ferrari's long history this year and to start the season at Daytona. We had a new Ferrari 488 last year and we're back with the same car and hope to have a great result."

    You obviously know how to win long endurance races. Does any special preparation go into an event like this?
    "Team work obviously is the most important factor...good crew work. We all together need to build a reliable car. All the crew needs to be fit and ready for the race, for the pit stops. All the drivers must be physically and mentally ready and have a good relationship each other. You have to find the right set up to suit all three drivers. It's very difficult preparation mentally and physically. It's nice to start the first race with the Daytona 24 Hours. I think we have a good, reliable car. On the last day of the Roar Test we found a good setup. Hopefully the BoP (Balance of Performance) is good. We will try to fight and get on the podium, or better yet, win the race."

    You and Toni have won several 24-hour races together. What makes a good teammate in endurance racing?
    "Good teammates are very important. It's important to find a good relationship and friendship with your teammates. I'm very happy to work with Toni again this year and with James for Daytona. In the last race at Petit last year was the first time we raced together but we found a good friendship and we won the race! For a first race as teammates that is a fantastic result. We hope to continue like that. I'm really looking forward to it."

    The Risi Competizione team has won Le Mans, Sebring and Petit but never Daytona. How special would it be to bring a victory home for Mr. Risi as you nearly did at Le Mans and you did at Petit last year?
    "Yes, it's a difficult race and we will try to score a good result. I've never had a good result at Daytona before either. We really want to start the season with a good result. To win the race means a lot for the team, the drivers and the start of season. Apart from that there is the Rolex watch!"

    This is the same compound tire you raced with later last year but not at Daytona. How do you think these Michelin tires will be for this year's Rolex 24 race?
    "We are quite happy with the Michelin tires. Last year we switched the tire compound in the middle of the season and it was much better for us. Even in the recent January test at the Roar we felt a better car balance and the tires were working much better than last year at Daytona. We are quite happy to work with the new compound again this year and at Daytona for the 24-hour race."


    James Calado, driver, No. 62 Ferrari 488 GTLM:
    You have competed in many endurance races around the world. What makes Daytona special?
    "Mainly the atmosphere is what's special; Daytona has a great turn out of fans. The track itself is quick and it's difficult to judge the braking points."

    How do you physically prepare for a 24-hour race?
    "I have been testing a lot recently and just back from Abu Dhabi. Track time is the best preparation but I have also done some work on the bike and in the gym. In the lead to the race I'll eat a bit more as I will burn a lot of energy throughout the week.

    Racing on the oval banking of a NASCAR track is a bit different that most of your experience back in Europe. Tell us what that's like for you?
    "It's good but the novelty wears off after a while. Most of the fun comes from the infield, especially when you need to push. I'm sure it would be great in a NASCAR car where you really need to be brave. For us it's easily full throttle, even in the rain."

    Toni and Giancarlo have been teammates for many, many races. How do fit in when it's a pair of drivers so in synch?
    "Very well. We all have similar feedback about the car set up. It's a relaxed atmosphere and this is what you need for a 24-hour race."

    This is the 70th anniversary of Ferrari. What makes the Ferrari brand so special and loved by so many people and Tifosi around the world?
    "To represent Ferrari is a dream come true. Since I was small I always wanted to drive a Ferrari and to get to do this as my job, I can't complain. Let's hope we can start the year off with a win."

    Tune-In Information:
    Qualifying for the 55th Annual Rolex 24 At Daytona, Thursday, Jan. 26 can be viewed from 3:00 p.m.-4:40 p.m. on IMSA.TV.
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    FORD, FERRARI TAKE GT CLASS POLES FOR ROLEX 24 AT DAYTONA THANKS TO HAND, PIER GUIDI

    The world debut of the Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT race car came at the 2016 Rolex 24 At Daytona, but it was a race Ford would rather forget, as both cars suffered from mechanical issues that ruined their chances for a solid finish.

    Of course, the team made up for that with a class win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans on the 50th anniversary of the race victory of the original Ford GT, and put together a solid 2016 season in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

    For the 2017 Rolex 24 At Daytona, Ford and Ganassi are serious about winning. How serious? Not only did they bring the two U.S.-based cars – the Le Mans-winning No. 66, and the team car, No. 67 – they brought the two Europe-based Ford GTs, No. 68 and No. 69.

    And it appears they are ready for the challenge, qualifying first, second, third and sixth in the 11-car field Thursday afternoon.

    On the pole was the No. 66 driven by Joey Hand, one of the drivers who won at Le Mans. “We feel like we’re more prepared this year,” he said. And how does he feel about the fact that his central competition may be his three teammates? “Well,” he said, “you just want to be the fastest bullet in the gun!” Hand’s best lap was 1:43.473 seconds, just ahead of Richard Westbrook’s 1:43.704 in the No. 67. Third was Olivier Pla in the No. 68, whose best lap was 1:43.987. Pla’s best lap was on the fourth tour around the circuit, which was lucky, as he later spun off the track and sat in the grass for most of the session.

    Fourth was the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE, with a lap of 1:44.121 by Toni Vilander. He said he well realizes the challenge the Ford contingent presents, but says, “We have a strong lineup of drivers, and we’re looking forward to the race. We won Petit Le Mans last year,” referring to the WeatherTech Championship 10-hour season finale at Road Atlanta, “And everything we have is the same or better. We’re the lonely riders – the only Ferrari in the class.”

    The GT Le Mans class is mechanically much the same as it was in 2016, with one major exception. The No. 911 and No. 912 Porsche 911 RSRs run by the Porsche GT Team are all-new, with the most significant change being a shift from the traditional 911 rear-engine configuration to more of a mid-engine layout.

    The rest of the cars – the Ford GT, Chevrolet Corvette C7.R, BMW M6 GTLM and the Ferrari 488 GTE are expected to benefit from having at least a year of competition behind them.

    The Porsches were quick, but not quick enough: Patrick Pilet was fifth in the No. 911 car, and Kevin Estre was eighth in class in the No. 912.

    In GT Daytona, it was Ferrari, Ferrari and Aston Martin. The front row in the class will be the No. 51 Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 GT3, courtesy of Alessandro Pier Guidi, whose best lap was 1:47.099. “Ferrari and the team did a great job for me,” Pier Guidi. “I’m here for them.” He was not able to make pre-season testing at Daytona, so the pole win was impressive.

    Close behind – very close, in fact – was the No. 63 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 488 GT3 driven by Alessandro Balzan who, with co-driver Christina Nielsen, won the 2016 WeatherTech Championship season GTD title. The veteran Balzan’s best lap was 1:47.117, which he set in a Hail-Mary last lap that nearly earned him the top spot. “Scuderia Corsa gave me a really good car for qualifying, Balzan said. “There’s a good energy here for the team.”

    Third was the No. 98 Aston Martin Racing Vantage, driven by Marco Sorensen to a lap of 1:47.734. His Aston Martin was followed by the No. 59 Porsche 911 GT3 R driven by Matteo Cairoli, the No. 11 Lamborghini Huracán of Christian Engelhart, and the No. 29 Audi R8 LMS GT3 piloted by Connor De Phillippi.

    The new Michael Shank Racing Acura NSXs were seventh and ninth. The similarly new 3GT Racing Lexus RCFGT3s were 13th and 20th. And the three Mercedes AMG GT3s – while not an all-new car, are new to the GT Daytona class – were 18th, 19th and 24th in the field of 27 entries.
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    RISI COMPETIZIONE QUALIFIES ON SECOND ROW FOR ROLEX 24 AT DAYTONA

    Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTLM No. 62: Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA), Toni Vilander (FIN), James Calado (ENG)


    (Houston, Texas, January 26, 2017)...Toni Vilander qualified the No. 62 Risi Competizione Ferrari GTLM on the second row, in fourth position on the grid, for the 55th Annual Rolex 24 At Daytona, January 28-29, 2017, at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida.

    His best lap time of 1:44.121, at an average speed of 123 mph, was achieved on his sixth lap of the 15-minute qualifying session for just GT Le Mans (GTLM) class cars. The Risi Ferrari will start 18th overall with the combined 55-car field of four classes (Daytona Prototype, Prototype Challenge, GT Le Mans (GTLM) and GT Daytona (GTD)

    The Risi Comp driver lineup includes fellow Ferrari factory drivers Giancarlo Fisichella and James Calado for the first race of the 2017 International Motor Sport Association (IMSA) season during the 70th anniversary year of Ferrari.



    Toni Vilander, driver, No. 62 Ferrari 488 GTLM:
    "Obviously it's good to have one full season of working with the car with the whole team. It feels like a really small transition from the end of last year to coming to the opening race of 2017. We did some testing prior to the race, the mid-December test, and we did the Roar (Test). I spent quite a lot of time in the car. But it's difficult here, the track condition changes a little bit each time. The session before qualifying I felt a little bit more confidence in the car. In qualifying the balance changed a little bit so we will do a little setup work, with the engineer, as it is all part of preparing for the race. We are quite happy with P4. We will keep analysing the data. We see what we could have done differently. We'll give more track time to Giancarlo and James in the night session, and we can see how the car is handling with a little bit cooler conditions, and tomorrow we have another session, and then we are ready for the race."

    Giancarlo Fisichella, driver, No. 62 Ferrari 488 GTLM:
    "This morning I did just three laps so I can't say a lot about the car. We are fourth on the grid, which is not bad. The car looks competitive. Ford looks a little bit too strong maybe with three Fords in front of us. Obviously, we tried to do our best and we're fourth, but we also qualified on our race setup. We will try to improve the car a little bit more for the next two sessions and just keep the car on the ground for the race and go to the end of the race."

    James Calado, driver, No. 62 Ferrari 488 GTLM:
    "It's the first qualifying of the year so it's not too bad to be starting P4. The balance of the car changed a little bit during qualifying compared to this morning, so we need to investigate that now and see what we can do to improve the car for the race. Ford seems to be quite strong so it gives us a challenge. Giancarlo and I will get a few more laps under our belt and then see where we are. You know, it's not a bad place to start and it's a long race so the key thing is just to make sure the car finishes and keep the car in one piece to fight for the end."

    Rick Mayer, Risi Competizione Race Engineer:
    "Fourth is about where we thought we'd qualify. The balance changed a little bit between sessions unfortunately, but we have what we have and I think we have a good race car. We didn't make any qualifying adjustments or changes so we basically have our race setup. We're quite happy with that and we'll continue, maybe make a couple small tweaks in night practice and be ready for the race on Saturday."


    Risi Competizione qualifying driver Toni Vilander

    Practice session on Friday, January 29 runs from 10:00 a.m. EST for one hour. The race starts Saturday, January 28 at 2:30 p.m. EDT. Live timing and scoring is available for all on-track sessions at IMSA.com and the IMSA Smartphone app.

    Tune-In Information:
    Qualifying for the 55th Annual Rolex 24 At Daytona, Thursday, Jan. 26 can be viewed from 3:00 p.m.-4:40 p.m. on IMSA.TV.

    In the U.S., watch the Rolex 24 At Daytona, Saturday, Jan. 28, 2:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. on FOX Network then from 5:00 p.m. -10:00 p.m. and overnight from 11:00 p.m. -12:30 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 29 on FOX Sports 2. Final hours of the race can be viewed from 12:30 p.m.-3:00 p.m. on Fox Sports 1. (All times Eastern.) The Rolex 24 At Daytona is also available on the FOX Sports GO mobile app and IMSA.TV.
    Last edited by Rob; 27th January 2017 at 11:07.
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    CADILLAC DPI-V.RS SWEEP FRONT ROW FOR ROLEX 24 AS BARBOSA TAKES POLE

    Despite a test in December followed by the Roar Before the Rolex 24 after the New Year, it wasn’t clear who would be fastest in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s premier class, Prototype (P), when they hit the track this weekend.

    Sometimes teams and drivers are reluctant to show their hand too early, a game of motorsports poker that is especially telling in this case. For the first time in WeatherTech Championship history, the P-class cars are all-new for 2017. And they finally showed what they are capable of Thursday afternoon in qualifying for the 2017 Rolex 24 At Daytona endurance race that will be broadcast on FOX at 2 p.m. ET on Saturday.

    In those pre-season practice days, the No. 13 Rebellion ORECA was consistently the quickest, but in qualifying, driver Neel Jani was only able to run the third-quickest lap.

    The quickest two cars? The two-car team formerly known as Action Express Racing, which won the WeatherTech Championship Prototype title all three years since the series was formed, gave the new Cadillac V-8 engine the front row in its first time out. On the pole was the No. 5 Mustang Sampling Cadillac DPI-V.R driven by Joao Barbosa with a blistering lap of 1:36.903.

    Right behind Barbosa was Dane Cameron, driver of the No. 31 Whelen Engineering Cadillac, just 0.070 seconds back. And third was the Rebellion car, thanks to Jani’s best lap of 1:37.123. Fourth was the No. 10 Konica Minolta Cadillac of Ricky Taylor, who had the fastest car for most of the qualifying session before pitting before time ran out. NASCAR legend Jeff Gordon will serve as a co-driver on the No. 10.

    Barbosa, who hasn’t qualified on a WeatherTech Championship pole since 2014, was a bit surprised. “We generally race better than we qualify,” he said, which could be a cautionary warning to the rest of the field. “This is going to be a tremendous race with the new Prototypes.”

    There are 12 cars in the Prototype field – there were 11 qualifiers, as the very fast No. 81 DragonSpeed ORECA uncharacteristically crashed in practice earlier in the day with Loic Duval behind the wheel, and couldn’t be fixed by qualifying.

    The Prototype Challenge (PC) class is making its final appearance at the Rolex 24 before it is discontinued at the end of the season.

    James French was fastest in the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports ORECA FLM09, with a lap of 1:42.559. Second was veteran Johnny Mowlem in the No. 26 BAR1 entry with a best lap of 1:43.396, snapping Mowlem’s Rolex 24 pole-winning streak at two consecutive races. Third was 1994 Indianapolis 500 winner Buddy Rice with a lap of 1:43.515 in the second BAR1 car.
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    Full on Racing in LMGTE

    In 2016 the LMGTE class in the European Le Mans Series provided some of the most exciting racing, with the drama not ending until the final chequered flag in Portugal. While the Le Mans Prototypes are built for the race track, the LMGTE category are for cars that are based on road cars and with cars from aspirational brands such as Ferrari, Aston Martin and Porsche, these are cars the fans can easily identify with.

    While there are two LMGTE classes in the FIA World Endurance Championship and at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, LMGTE Pro and LMGTE Am, the cars that run in the ELMS are run to LMGTE Am rules.

    The official definition from the regulations are - The "Le Mans" Grand Touring Endurance car ("LM" GTE) is a car having an aptitude for sport with 2 doors, 2 or 2+2 seats, opened or closed, which can be used perfectly legally on the open road and available for sale thanks to the dealer network of a manufacturer recognised by the Endurance Committee.

    In this group only cars having 1 year old or fully in compliance with the specifications of the previous year car - unless specified in these regulations - will be admitted. This means that the cars that ran in the LMGTE Pro class in 2016 will be eligible to be entered for the 2017 ELMS.

    Manufacturers must be able to show that they produce a minimum number of road cars (100) to be in compliance with the homologation (25 for “small manufacturers”). The engine must also be based on a road going unit that has a production minimum of 300 units.

    Other global specifications covered in the regulations are:

    Overall length: 480cm
    The minimum weight is 1245 kg.
    The maximum amount of fuel is 90 litres maximum on board whatever the ambient temperature and atmospheric pressure.
    The gearbox must have a maximum of 6 forward ratios and one reverse gear.
    Dunlop has been designated as the only tyre supplier for this category. Two specifications of tyres for a dry track (slicks), one intermediate tyres specification and one specification of wet-weather tyres are allowed for each model of car for each event of the 2017 ELMS season.

    There are no limits on the number of tyres.

    At the end of the season the LMGTE Champions and Vice Champions will be invited to the 2018 24 Heures du Mans. However, the Selection committee will confirm the 24 Heures du Mans invitations only to the competitors who took part in all the 2017 ELMS events.

    The first opportunity to see the cars on track will be during The Prologue, the official pre-season test, at Monza on the 28/29 March 2017.
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    TOYOTA GAZOO RACING CONFIRMS 2017 WEC PLANS
    Thursday 2 February 2017

    TOYOTA GAZOO Racing can confirm an expanded driver line-up for the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) as part of its three-car entry in selected races.

    To demonstrate its commitment to endurance racing, and to enhance its chances of victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours, TOYOTA will enter three TS050 HYBRIDs in the races at Spa-Francorchamps and Le Mans.

    José María López joins for 2017 and will compete alongside WEC race winners Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi. José María, 33, competed in GP2 before moving to the World Touring Car Championship where he won the last three titles.

    The 2014 drivers’ World Champions Sébastien Buemi and Anthony Davidson will again team up with Kazuki Nakajima, the only Japanese driver to earn pole position at Le Mans, to compete together for a full season in the other TS050 HYBRID.

    Stéphane Sarrazin, part of the TOYOTA WEC team from the start of the project in 2012, retains a significant role and will bring the benefit of his experience to the team’s third car entry as lead driver. The team is still assessing its options for his two team-mates, with a decision expected soon.

    Race numbers for the forthcoming season will be announced by the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), along with all confirmed Le Mans and WEC entries, on 2 February at 4pm French time.

    TOYOTA GAZOO Racing will present its 2017 team, including an updated TS050 HYBRID, on 31 March at Monza, prior to the two-day official test for all WEC participants at the Italian circuit.

    Toshio Sato, Team President: “I believe this is an exciting time for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing in endurance racing. Entering three cars for Spa and Le Mans represents a new challenge for our team. We are working hard to be prepared and we are inspired to win. I would like to welcome José María to our team; I am confident he will fit in well as he is quick, intelligent and a strong team player. Our existing drivers have already proven their abilities in endurance racing; all are race winners and we are very happy to work together again.”

    José María López: “It’s great to be part of TOYOTA GAZOO Racing. This is a dream come true for me and I can't wait to get to the first race. Mike and Kamui are both great team-mates; I will learn plenty from them I am sure. Driving an LMP1 car is very different compared to WTCC cars but I am enjoying this challenge. The power and grip of the TS050 HYBRID is incredible and TOYOTA’s hybrid technology is impressive. I am looking forward to my first experience of WEC and particularly Le Mans which is a very special race.”

    Driver Profiles

    Sébastien Buemi
    Born 31 October 1988, Aigle, Switzerland
    Le Mans debut 2012
    Le Mans starts 5
    Le Mans best result 2nd (2013)
    WEC starts 34
    WEC wins 5
    WEC best season 1st (2014)

    Anthony Davidson
    Born 18 April 1979, Hemel Hempstead, Great Britain
    Le Mans debut 2003
    Le Mans starts 9
    Le Mans best result 2nd (2013)
    WEC starts 33
    WEC wins 5
    WEC best season 1st (2014)

    Kazuki Nakajima
    Born 11 January 1985, Okazaki, Japan
    Le Mans debut 2012
    Le Mans starts 5
    Le Mans best result 4th (2013)
    WEC starts 28
    WEC wins 2
    WEC best season 7th (2015)

    Mike Conway
    Born 19 August 1983, Sevenoaks, Great Britain
    Le Mans debut 2013
    Le Mans starts 3
    Le Mans best result 2nd (2016)
    WEC starts 28
    WEC wins 2
    WEC best season 3rd (2016)

    Kamui Kobayashi
    Born 13 September 1986, Hyogo, Japan
    Le Mans debut 2013
    Le Mans starts 2
    Le Mans best result 2nd (2016)
    WEC starts 17
    WEC wins 1
    WEC best season 3rd (2016)

    José María López
    Born 26 April 1983, Río Tercero, Argentina
    Le Mans debut 2017
    Le Mans starts 0
    Le Mans best result n/a
    WEC starts 0
    WEC wins 0
    WEC best season n/a

    Stéphane Sarrazin
    Born 2 November 1975, Alès, France
    Le Mans debut 2001
    Le Mans starts 15
    Le Mans best result 2nd (2007, 2009, 2013 & 2016)
    WEC starts 41
    WEC wins 3
    WEC best season 3rd (2013 & 2016)
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    FERRARI READY TO GO WITH ELEVEN CARS
    media

    – The list of crews who will compete in the 24 Hours of Le Mans on 17 and 18 June has been unveiled in Paris. Ferraris will account for eleven of the 60 cars lining up at the start. The provisional list includes three Prancing Horse cars in the GTE-Pro class while eight will battle it out in the GTE-Am class, where Ferrari arrives as defending champion after Scuderia Corsa’s triumph in the 2016 edition with Bill Sweedler, Jeff Segal and Townsend Bell.

    GTE-Pro. The GTE-Pro class will of course include the two AF Corse 488 GTEs, which, as usual, will bear the numbers 51 and 71. The cars will compete in the entire FIA World Endurance Championship in which last year Maranello won the World Cup for Manufacturer and that from 2017 will become a real World Championship title. The Sarthe classic will also see the 488 GTE of Risi Competizione, second last year with Toni Vilander, Giancarlo Fisichella and Matteo Malucelli.

    GTE-Am. Eight Ferraris will take part in the GTE-Am class. Two will compete for the full season: that of Spirit of Race, with Switzerland’s Thomas Flohr as a gentleman driver, and the Clearwater Racing car with Singapore’s Mok Weng Sun driving. Three other 488 GTEs and one 458 Italia GTE will join them for the French marathon in June. Two cars will compete under the flag of the US team Scuderia Corsa: with Denmark’s Christina Nielsen, winner in the GTD class of the 2016 IMSA SportsCar Championship, on her second outing at Le Mans, while the other will be driven by the USA’s Cooper MacNeil, who competed in the Ferrari Challenge at the Finali Mondiali in Daytona.

    Asia and Europe. The four remaining Ferraris represent two Asian and two European teams. Clearwater Racing will redouble its efforts for the 24 Hours race while China will be represented by DH Racing, which has just won the Asian Le Mans Series championship with Italy’s Michele Rugolo. The European teams will be Spirit of Race, with a second car for Duncan Cameron, and JMW Motorsport, with a 458 Italia driven by Robert Smith.

    ELMS. The cars competing in the European Le Mans Series were also announced. Three Ferraris will race in this championship, which gives the winning team the right to compete at Le Mans. There will be two 488s of Spirit of Race, that of Cameron, and another for Gianluca Roda, plus the 458 Italia of JMW Motorsport.
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    TOP CLASS COMPETITION IN STORE ACROSS 2017 WEC GRID

    Toyota take the fight to Porsche in LMP1 in battle of hybrid technology

    LMP1 Privateer ByKolles looking for competitive 2017 season

    ORECA 07s go head-to-head in LMP2 in hands of teams old and new

    Porsche GT returns in strength to contest GT World Championship with Aston Martin, Ferrari and Ford

    Singapore-based team makes WEC debut in multi-marque LMGTE Am class

    The full-season entry list for the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship was today revealed during an online press conference broadcast from the home of endurance racing, Le Mans.

    The 2017 grid will be made up of 28 cars from 11 different nations, offering proof that the WEC continues to attract teams from across the globe wishing to compete at the highest level in endurance racing. A well balanced, stable calendar is one of the keys to this magnetic appeal for manufacturers and teams, as are regulations which promote strong technological competition and innovation, at the same time as controlling any escalation of expenditure.

    Toyota take the fight to Porsche in battle of hybrid technology

    Two-time World Champion in the top LMP1 category, Porsche, never sits back on its laurels – no matter how successful it is, and the German manufacturer will be more than prepared for the battle ahead with Toyota in 2017. The highly-sophisticated prototypes which feature complex, state-of-the-art hybrid systems will see drivers of the highest calibre in both teams, and the level of competition will be intense and unrelenting. The widely differing technology and operating systems developed and used by Porsche and Toyota for their motorsport programmes form part of the crossover of technology to the manufacturers’ production vehicles, reinforcing the relevance of the WEC within today’s world of motorsport.

    LMP1 Privateer ByKolles looking for competitive 2017 season

    Joining the factory competitors will be the Austrian ByKolles Racing Team which shows great fidelity to the WEC. After a challenging 2016, the team has worked hard over the winter on chassis developments and mechanical reliability, and has forged a new partnership with NISMO to power the ENSO CLM P1/01-Nismo.

    ORECA 07s go head-to-head in LMP2 in hands of teams old and new

    The LMP2 grid will, for the third year in succession, consist of 10 entries but in contrast to previous seasons there is one chassis of choice from the teams entered: the ORECA 07. For 2017 the regulations offer a significant increase in performance to entice competitors, and there are names across the category both familiar and new to the WEC. Joining 2016 LMP2 champions Signatech Alpine Matmut will be multiple-WEC-championship-winning Rebellion Racing, the Swiss team this year re-named Vaillante Rebellion. Manor returns to consolidate its claim on victory in the WEC, planning to use all it learned in its debut year and operating two cars under the name of CEFC Manor TRS Racing. Also returning and strengthening China’s presence in the WEC is Jackie Chan DC Racing team which increases its commitment to the WEC with a two-car team. A new team is welcomed to LMP2 from the ELMS ranks – TDS Racing from France, and it will be collaborating on an operational level with Russia’s G-Drive Racing.

    Porsche GT returns in strength to contest GT World Championship with Aston Martin, Ferrari and Ford

    Boosted by the creation of the FIA World Endurance Championship for GTE Drivers and Manufacturers, the competition in the LMGTE Pro class will be hotter and tighter than ever. Porsche’s new generation 911 RSR is a mid-engined design, a big evolution in the history of the marque’s top GT model, and there is much anticipation about the yet-to-be announced drivers who will be joining Richard Lietz and Michael Christensen. Returning to challenge for championship victory will be two Ferrari 488 GTEs from AF Corse, looking to repeat the Italian manufacturer’s success of recent years, two of the radical Ford GTs from Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK which were introduced in 2016 and which achieved several triumphs in their debut year, and two Aston Martin Vantages from the British manufacturer for the model’s final year before a new one is introduced in 2018. All are experienced WEC race winners.

    Singapore-based team makes WEC debut in multi-marque LMGTE Am class

    The LMGTE Am class features three different marques among the five entries, and includes Clearwater Racing from Singapore which has moved to the WEC from the Asian Le Mans Series and which will run a Ferrari 488 GTE. Alongside Aston Martin Racing, Gulf Racing and Dempsey-Proton Racing (both racing Porsche 911 RSR 991s), one further new name will be seen on the entry lists. The AF Corse-supported Spirit of Race team will also compete with a Ferrari 488 GTE.

    The WEC calendar features nine rounds across five continents, with the third round being the 24 Hours of Le Mans – the jewel in the crown of international endurance racing. The season opens with the 6 Hours of Silverstone on 16 April, moves on to Spa-Francorchamps (6 May), Le Mans (17-18 June) and the Nürburgring (16 July) in Europe before heading overseas to Mexico (3 September), Circuit of The Americas, Austin (16 September), Fuji (15 October), Shanghai (5 November) and Bahrain (18 November) for the second half of the season.

    Key Facts and Figures on 2017 FIA WEC Grid

    28 entries representing 11 nations: Germany (5), Austria (1), Japan (2), Switzerland (3), Russia (1), USA (2), China (4), France (3), Great Britain (4), Italy (2), Singapore (1)
    5 entries in LMP1, 10 in LMP2, 8 in LMGTE Pro and 5 in LMGTE Am

    5 manufacturer entries with Porsche represented in both LMP1 and GTE Pro

    Close co-operation between Promoter, regulators and manufacturers to maintain consistency and stability, with working groups focussed on safety, new energy technologies and cost controls

    Three-time World Touring Car champion José Maria Lopez joins Toyota

    2015 Le Mans 24 Hours winner Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber move from Porsche GTE competition to LMP1

    New ORECA 07 is the chassis of choice in LMP2, all 10 entries being on Dunlop rubber

    All LMP2 cars will be powered by the new Gibson GK428 4.2 litre, V8 engine

    Championship-winning Rebellion Racing ready for new challenges in LMP2 with two entries and a famous French racing name!

    France’s TDS Racing moves up from European Le Mans Series and collaborates with G-Drive Racing; TDS line-up includes 2016 LMGTE Am champion drivers Perrodo and Collard

    2016 LMP2 Champions Signatech Alpine looking to retain title via two Alpine A470 entries

    Commitment from Jackie Chan DC Racing sees two Chinese entries in LMP2, joined by CEFC Manor TRS Racing

    New Porsche GT 911 RSR lining up with Aston Martin Vantages, Ferrari 488 GTEs and Ford GTs for World Championship title

    Both Michelin and Dunlop tyres being used in LMGTE Pro offering open tyre competition

    Dempsey-Proton Racing, Gulf Racing and Aston Martin Racing show loyalty to LMGTE Am, joined by Swiss Spirit of Race and Singapore-based Clearwater Racing

    Quotes on 2017 WEC grid:

    Jean Todt, President of the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile: “The 2017 season will be the sixth of the successful partnership between the FIA and the ACO which has seen the FIA World Endurance Championship grow to the prominent position it holds today in world motor sport. The strong grid announced today will strengthen this position further and will undoubtedly be the focus of some intense battles and drama over the coming nine races.

    “In LMP1 Porsche will defend their world and 24 Hours of Le Mans titles, while Toyota is looking to build on the successes of 2016. In addition, four manufacturers will be competing for the new FIA World Endurance Championship for GTE and LMP2 is revitalised with the new technical regulations coming into effect this season.

    “I would like to thank Pierre Fillon, Lindsay Owen-Jones and Gérard Neveu for their continued hard work. The great cooperation of the teams at the FIA and the ACO is what makes the FIA World Endurance Championship the success it is today. I am looking forward to what is sure to be another exciting season.”

    Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest: “Endurance is in very good health and the 2017 season looks full of promise. Today, we discovered the three great entry lists for the ELMS, the FIA WEC and of course the Le Mans 24 Hours. The on-track spectacle will be absolutely fantastic with duels among top-class drivers and all-out rivalry between the competitors. All the ingredients that make up the DNA of endurance have been combined for 2017. The field for the Le Mans 24 Hours is particularly rich with 16 nationalities from the four corners of the world and a host of teams, most of which race in our continental series in Europe, the United States and Asia thanks to the Asian Le Mans Series, which has really taken off! It is all proof of the success of the endurance pyramid so dear to the ACO. The 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours promise us a great spectacle on the track as well as a week’s festivities to be enjoyed to the full!”

    Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones, President of the FIA Endurance Commission: “As the FIA World Endurance Championship begins another exciting season the announcement of another large grid is testament to the job the regulations are doing in attracting the best teams and drivers to compete in a championship that encourages the advancement of new technologies, promotes safety in all areas and controls costs. There is a new world championship for GTE with Porsche competing with the new 911 to take on Aston Martin, Ferrari and Ford and BMW has announced its participation in 2018. This season we will see the implementation of the new LMP2 technical regulations, with four chassis manufacturers and one single engine suppler that will increase performance and intensify competition between the teams.”

    Gérard Neveu, CEO of the World Endurance Championship:“We approach our sixth WEC season in a very good position, with a solid base of manufacturer and stakeholder support, world-class partners and teams, and the best sportscar drivers in the world. The stability of our calendar offers relevance to the manufacturers in terms of their key markets outside Europe, such as North and Central America, China, Japan and the Middle East. It also allows us to continue growing our fan base around the world, as witnessed already by the number of fans who have already purchased tickets in advance of the season. Motorsport enthusiasts know there will be entertainment for the whole family, great access to the cars and drivers and that, no matter where in the world they are, they will witness non-stop drama and competition on track.”
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    Season 6 of WEC looking good. Yes, no Audi but hey. Never mind. GTE AM, 2 more Ferrari teams, Spirit of Race and Clearwater Racing Spirit of Race will have Francesco Castellacci, so happy for him. His time to step up. Speak to him now and again and he lovely guy, and super quick. Plus, in LMP1 we got Robert Kubica in the ByKolles car.
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    24 Hours of Le Mans - A fabulous field ! Today, Thursday 2nd February, live from Le Mans the Automobile Club de l’Ouest unveiled in exclusivity in an innovative interactive format on the internet the list of the 60 cars invited to take part in the 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours. The 85th race promises a thrilling duel between Porsche and Toyota in LM P1. A unique record field is entered in LM P2 and no-holds-barred battles are expected in the LM GTE Pro and LM GTE Am categories. All these ingredients that are part of endurance racing’s DNA will be combined to make the Le Mans 24 Hours the pinnacle of the motor racing season.
    24 Hours of Le Mans - A fabulous field !

    The ACO launched the 2017 endurance season in a totally new conference format. More than 75 000 web spectators followed the unveiling of the lists of entries for the European Le Mans Series (ELMS), the FIA World Endurance Championship (FIA WEC) and the Le Mans 24 Hours. Above all, surfers were able to interact live in the studio through their comments and questions posted via the social networks.

    On 17th June 60 cars will be at the start of the 85th Le Mans 24 Hours, the third round of the FIA World Endurance Championship, and the high point of the world motor racing calendar. They will be split up into four categories: 6 LM P1s (Le Mans Prototype 1), 25 LM P2s (Le Mans Prototype 2), 13 LM GTE Pros and 16 LM GTE Am.

    In the blue-riband LM P1 category, Japanese giant Toyota has stacked all the odds in its favour by entering three TS050-Hybrids to counter the attacks of its German rival, Porsche, take its revenge on 2016, emerge victorious from this duel and score that long-awaited victory in the Sarthe. But Porsche is gunning for a hat trick with its 919s to bring the mythical Le Mans 24-Hours trophy back to Stuttgart for good, and rack up the 19th win in the race in its history. Completing the LM P1 field is the non-hybrid Enso CLM P1/01 entered by ByKolles Racing team with former F1 ace Robert Kubica as the lead driver.

    2017 looks like being the year of the LM P2 due to a record field of 25 new cars! A new set of technical regulations came into force on 1st January 2017 and these prototypes all have improved performances, capped costs and a quality service linked to the fact that they all have the same engine. The aim is to ensure long-term success for this category destined for private teams, young chargers and gentlemen drivers thanks to a reduction in costs and stability in the regulations. The work is already paying off in the first year! The on-track spectacle will be guaranteed thanks to these very quick machines in the baby prototype category. Oreca has a numerical advantage with no fewer than 15 cars: 13 Oreca 07s and two Alpine A470s developed by the Signes-based constructor. Then comes Ligier with six JS P217s, Dallara with 3 P217s and Riley with a single MK30. In compliance with the new regulations all the cars will be powered by the Gibson engine. Quality and quantity are the two watchwords in a category that is rapidly expanding on the international scene. Signatech Alpine Matmut will have its work cut out to retain its title in the 24 Hours. There is a nod to the new Michel Vaillant comic book, which is being published in the near future, as the two Oreca 07-Gibsons entered by Rebellion Racing bear the name Vaillante Rebellion in homage to the famous cartoon hero, Michel Vaillant.

    In LM GTE Pro the new Porsche 911 RSR, two of which have been entered by the eponymous Stuttgart firm, looks like it will pose a serious threat. Corvette Racing-GM, AF Corse and Aston Martin will also bring along two cars each so they will be fighting on a level playing field. Ford is again doing everything in its power to repeat its victory in the Sarthe with an impressive armada of four cars! In addition, 2017 has got off to a great confidence-boosting start for the American make with a win in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. American team Risi Competizione will complete this high-quality field. Remember that this year the teams entered in the FIA WEC will be battling for the World Endurance Championship GT Manufacturers title.

    As laid down in the regulations, only cars over one year old are eligible to compete in the LM GTE Am category, thus the Ferrari 488, which appeared in 2016, will race in the Le Mans 24 Hours for the first time in this class. JMW Motorsport has entered an older Ferrari 458 so the Italian firm provides 50% of the field with a total of eight cars. For the moment the only woman driver in this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours is to be found in LM GTE Am with Christina Nielsen from Denmark who, in 2016, became the first woman to win a title in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship!

    Thus the field for the 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours breaks down as follows: 31 prototypes and 29 GTs proving once again the incredible attraction exercised by this event with 39 teams representing 16 different nationalities from the four corners of the world expected in the Sarthe in June.

    On the reserve list are two teams, one in the LM P2 category and the other in LM GTE Am. They will be allowed into the race in case of withdrawal of another entrant in keeping with the order on the list. During this press conference Mark Webber was named Grand Marshall of the 85th Le Mans 24 Hours following in the footsteps of Henri Pescarolo, Allan McNish, Tom Kristensen and Alexander Wurz.

    The ACO used the web conference to announce some innovations for this year’s event, in particular the Race Pavilion, which helps people to follow the race in a real race control ambience, gain a greater understanding of what’s going on and miss nothing of the spectacle unfolding on the track. Other surprises are being prepared and will be announced in the near future.

    This innovative web conference launched the 2017 endurance season, which looks like being a real cracker. The first step on the road to the 85th Le Mans 24 Hours on 17-18 June has already been taken!



    2017 Entry list

    Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest: “Endurance is in very good health and the 2017 season looks full of promise. Today, we discovered the three great entry lists for the ELMS, the FIA WEC and of course the Le Mans 24 Hours. The on-track spectacle will be absolutely fantastic with duels among top-class drivers and all-out rivalry between the competitors. All the ingredients that make up the ADN of endurance have been combined for 2017. The field for the Le Mans 24 Hours is particularly rich with 16 nationalities from the four corners of the world and a host of teams, most of which race in our continental series in Europe, the United States and Asia thanks to the Asian Le Mans Series, which has really taken off! It is all proof of the success of the endurance pyramid so dear to the ACO. The 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours promise us a great spectacle on the track as well as a week’s festivities to be enjoyed to the full!”

    “Endurance is in very good health and the 2017 season looks full of promise.

    Pierre FILLON
    Vincent Beaumesnil, Sport Manager of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest: “Once again this year the field entered for the Le Mans 24 Hours is an exceptional one. Thirty-one prototypes and 29 GTs will be at the start on 17th June. In the blue-riband category there will be a duel which, I’m sure, will mark the history of the race as so many others did in the past. This year the Le Mans 24-Hours entry is an exceptional one. There are 31 prototypes and the field in LM P2 is a really impressive one with 25 cars, a record in terms of numbers. We’re very happy with this success that’s been made possible by an innovative set of regulations and very quick cars. Porsche with its new GT will get involved in the battle with the other four manufacturers in LM GTE Pro. And LM GTE Am devoted to gentlemen drivers has attracted 16 cars. From a sportsmanlike point of view the 85th Le Mans 24 Hours look like providing a race packed with excitement.”

    Once again this year the field entered for the Le Mans 24 Hours is an exceptional one.

    Vincent BEAUMESNIL

    entry list...
    http://www.lemans.org/explorer/pdf/c...-mans-2017.pdf
    CAVALLINO RAMPANTE PER SEMPRE

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