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.
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. 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.
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.
|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.|
|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:
A driver whom is internationally recognised (up to the age of 50) and fulfills one of the following:
A driver whom is internationally recognised (up to the age of 60) and fulfils one of the following:
A driver whom may considered to be an amateur at National and International level who also:
An amateur driver, who holds an International B Licence but has little or no experience at International or National level
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.
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:
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