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The FIA World Endurance Championship is an FIA sanctioned Endurance based racing championship, and serves as the top Endurance series in the World. The WEC features some of the biggest races outside of Formula One, and is built around the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June, and organised by the Automobile Club de l'Ouest.

The WEC was first formed in 2012 as an defacto revival of the World Sportscar Championship (which folded in 1992), and sees Le Mans Prototypes battle it out alongside LM GTE (road based GT cars). The most recent season, 2014, saw Toyota Racing win the Championship at the season finale, with Sébastien Buemi and Anthony Davidson scooping up the Drivers' title.

History[]

First announced in the build up to the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2011, the WEC saw its first season start in 2012, replacing the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup after only two seasons.[1] Starting with the 12 Hours of Sebring (which remained on the WEC calendar until the formation of the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship in 2014), the inaugural season of the WEC saw Audi and their #1 Audi R18 TDi trio of André Lotterer, Marcel Fässler and Benoît Tréluyer take the honours.

2013 saw Audi retain their title, with the season starting with the 6 Hours of Silverstone in April. The season was marred by the death of Allan Simonsen during the 24 Hours of Le Mans, at a time when his Aston Martin Racing team were leading their class. The season ended with the retirement of Le Mans legend Tom Kristensen, who bowed out as Champion alongside Allan McNish and Loïc Duval.

For 2014, Toyota Racing were finally able to put up a sustained fight with Audi throughout the season, while Porsche returned to Prototype racing with their new 919 Hybrid. Anthony Davidson and Sébastien Buemi won the overall championship in LMP1-H (H meaning hybrid) while Rebellion Racing won the LMP1-L (privateer) class.

Class Structure[]

The WEC uses the ACO's pre-established class system, dividing entrants into one of four classes. Below is an explanation of each class, although some classes are (or have been) further divided to give different cars and teams the ability to win the title or at least a trophy.

WEC Classes
Class Name Explanation
LMP1 Le Mans Prototype 1 The premier ACO class, with closed-cockpit chassis and no limit on potential power
LMP2 Le Mans Prototype 2 A less expensive LMP class, featuring cars that are heavier and less powerful than LMP1 entries.
GTE-Pro LM GTE-Pro Road based Grand Touring cars built to ACO regulations. Teams may have any combination of drivers of various experience.
GTE-Am LM GTE-Am Same as GTE-Pro, except that entrants must include at least one Bronze level driver in their driver line up.
Former Classes
LMP1-H Le Mans Prototype 1 - Hybrid LMP1 cars fitted with Hybrid engines were placed in this category in 2014, with privateers (without hybrids) in LMP1-L

The ACO and the WEC also includes a driver ranking system, which grades the drivers based on a variety of factors, although this is primarily based on experience. The licenses, and conditions for achieving them and what they allow a driver to be entered in, is shown below:

WEC Licences
Level Explanation Classes
Pro

A driver whom is internationally recognised (up to the age of 50) and fulfills one of the following:
Held a Super License
Won the 24 Hours of Le Mans
Finished in the top six (or top ten) of an international single-seater Championship
Is (or has been) a factory paid driver.

LMP1
LMP2
GTE-Pro
GTE-Am
Platinum
Semi-Pro

A driver whom is internationally recognised (up to the age of 60) and fulfils one of the following:
Competed in the World Karting Championship or an international single-seater Championship.
Finished in the top five of a national level single-seater championship
Finished in the top three of a manufacturer based Championship at National level

LMP1
LMP2
GTE-Pro
GTE-Am
Gold
Amateur

A driver whom may considered to be an amateur at National and International level who also:
Aged under 30 with no Endurance experience or over 60 (with any experience)
Won a National level Championship outright with a Pro-driver
Has won a non-professional championship on a National or International level

LMP1
LMP2
GTE-Pro
GTE-Am
Silver
Amateur

An amateur driver, who holds an International B Licence but has little or no experience at International or National level

LMP2
GTE-Pro
GTE-Am
Bronze

A driver who fulfils the criteria of several levels is placed in the highest possible category, while the ACO and FIA may determine if a driver, who does not fulfil the criteria of a level, may be placed in a different category. Classes in the WEC also restrict what class a driver may compete in, so Bronze drivers may not compete in LMP1, but are free to enter any other. LMP2 and GTE-Am must include a Bronze or Silver level driver in their entries, with GTE-Am requiring an additional Bronze level driver.

Champions[]

In three seasons, the WEC has thrown up three different overall Champions, and numerous victors in the other classes. Audi and Toyota are the only manufacturers to have won the WEC outright, with Ferrari dominant in the GT Classes. A full list of Champions is shown below:

WEC Champions
Year Drivers' Teams' Manufacturers
2012 Flag of Germany.svg André Lotterer Swiss Flag.png Marcel Fässler Flag of France.png Benoît Tréluyer Not Awarded Audi
2013 Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Allan McNish Flag of Denmark.png Tom Kristensen Flag of France.png Loïc Duval Not Awarded Audi
2014 Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Anthony Davidson Swiss Flag.png Sébastien Buemi Not Awarded Toyota
2015 Flag of Germany.svg Timo Bernhard Flag of Australia.svg Mark Webber Flag of New Zealand.png Brendon Hartley Not Awarded Porsche
World Championship
2012 Not Awarded Swiss Flag.png Rebellion Racing Not Awarded
2013 Not Awarded Swiss Flag.png Rebellion Racing Not Awarded
2014 Swiss Flag.png Mathias Beche Flag of France.png Nicolas Prost Flag of Germany.svg Nick Heidfeld Swiss Flag.png Rebellion Racing Not Awarded
2015 Flag of France.png Nicolas Prost Swiss Flag.png Mathias Beche Swiss Flag.png Rebellion Racing Not Awarded
LMP1 Trophy
2012 Not Awarded Flag of the United States.png Starworks Motorsport Not Awarded
2013 Flag of Belgium.png Bertrand Baguette Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Martin Plowman Flag of Mexico.png Ricardo González Flag of France.png OAK Racing Not Awarded
2014 Flag of Russia.png Sergey Ziobin Flag of Russia.png SMP Racing Not Awarded
2015 Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Sam Bird Flag of France.png Julien Canal Flag of Russia.png Roman Rusinov Flag of Russia.png G-Drive Racing Not Awarded
LMP2 Trophy
2012 Flag of Italy.svg AF Corse Ferrari
2013 Flag of Italy.svg Gianmaria Bruni Flag of Italy.svg AF Corse Ferrari
2014 Flag of Finland.png Toni Vilander Flag of Italy.svg Gianmaria Bruni Flag of Italy.svg AF Corse Ferrari
2015 Flag of Austria.png Richard Lietz Flag of Germany.svg Porsche Team Manthey Porsche
GTE-Pro Trophy
2012 Not Awarded Flag of France.png Larbre Compétition Not Awarded
2013 Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Jamie Campbell-Walter Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Stuart Hall Flag of the United States.png 8 Star Motorsports Not Awarded
2014 Flag of Denmark.png Kristian Poulsen Flag of Denmark.png David Heinemeier Hansson Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Aston Martin Racing Not Awarded
2015 Flag of Russia.png Aleksey Basov Flag of Italy.svg Andrea Bertolini Flag of Russia.png Viktor Shaitar Flag of Russia.png SMP Racing Not Awarded
GTE-Am Trophy

AF Corse and Ferrari have also won every year of the World Endurance Cup for GTE cars, courtesy of finishing highest of all of the GTE teams in each season. 

  1. Ten Caat, Marcel, 'FIA announces World Endurance Championship', planetlemans.com, (Planet Le Mans, 03/06/2011), http://www.planetlemans.com/2011/06/03/fia-announces-world-endurance-championship/, (Accessed 26/06/2015)
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