Since the inception of the series in 2012, the WEC’s popularity among motor racing fans has been steadily growing. With some of the most spectacular pieces of machinery circling tarmac anywhere, it is no wonder why. Here we will highlight some reasons why you should be watching the WEC in 2017.
Pictured: Porsche 919 Hybrid and Toyota TS050 (photo courtesy of FIA WEC)
1. Toyota vs. Porsche
The rivalry has been simmering since Porsche joined LMP1 in 2014. In 2017, the battle will turn to a full boil. Toyota got within a sniff of Le Mans glory only to have it snuffed out by a last lap failure in 2016. Porsche were the benefactors and went on to win the race. Although there is no “bad blood,” between the two teams at this point, both teams will be as hungry as ever to establish the pecking order in the year ahead.
2. Multi-class Action
Four classes makeup the WEC. With LMP1, LMP2, GTE-PRO and GTE-AM on track simultaneously, there are always important battles around the circuit on race day. And these teams do not hold back! Faster prototypes and their drivers must navigate through the field with caution and poise to avoid throwing their equipment into the gravel. Not an easy task with 13 GTE cars on track. Involvement from Toyota, Porsche, Ferrari, Aston Martin, and Ford give fans a variety of manufacturers to cheer for. Where will your allegiance lie?
Video above: LMP1 battle from the 2015 season (video courtesy of FIA WEC YouTube channel)
3. Passing! Real Passing!!
No fan boost, no DRS assisted moves, and no procession-like parades standing in for races. Each contest has tons of wheel to wheel battles. And the action is not limited to the middle of the pack, at restarts, or at the beginning of the race either. Drivers compete flat out during the six hour races, and four times as long at Le Mans. The pilots are not afraid to let it all hang out from flag to flag. Compared to most other World Championships, the WEC offers some of the most entertaining on-track combats anywhere.
4. Fan Access
The accessibility of racing content for the WEC is top notch. You can watch the entire season on any mobile device through their app at a very fair price. The season long subscription also offers full event replays, highlights, and special features. The WEC has also recently uploaded all of last season’s races on their Youtube channel. Highly recommend the 2016 Fuji race if you care to sample what the series has to offer. Check your local cable and satellite providers for TV listings, as most of the series is carried live around the globe.
5. 24 Hours of Le Mans
National Geographic named the biggest race of the season at Circuit de la Sarthe, the greatest sports event in the world. The grid swells to 60 cars at Le Mans as teams from IMSA and ELMS join their WEC counterparts to battle for top and class honors. Annual attendance for the event reaches 200,000 for the twice around the clock event, and it is easy to see why. On top of some of the best racing on the motorsport calendar; concerts, carnival rides, and a festival-like atmosphere encompasses the normally sleepy surrounding farm lands as well as the confines of the 13km+ track.
With the season getting underway this weekend at Silverstone, now is the perfect time to become acclimated to the sport. Check out our 2017 WEC LMP1 Season Primer and read up on the teams and drivers that makeup the top class in the sport. It’s finally time to turn some laps, and burn some rubber!