WEC's GTE qualifying race idea put on hold

Plans to have extra qualifying races for GTE Pro cars have been put on the back burner through the FIA World Endurance Championship's new 'superseason' in 2018/19.

WEC's GTE qualifying race idea put on hold

The principle of a qualifying sprint race on the day before the regular six-hour WEC race had been agreed with the manufacturers and was expected to come into force next year.

But the radical revamp of the WEC as it transitions to a winter series climaxing at the Le Mans 24 Hours in 2019/20 has forced series promoter the Automobile Club de l'Ouest to delay the plan. 

WEC boss Gerard Neveu explained that a drive to keep the cost of competing in the superseason at the same level as it is in 2017 was behind the decision to delay the idea of qualifying races. 

"It is more expensive than doing a few laps in qualifying; this is a race with the chance of damage," Neveu said. 

"We are saying we have to save money, so if we are saving money on one hand and pushing them to spend more money on the other, it doesn't make sense.

"I don't think it is serious to try to introduce this format now with the superseason; we have other priorities."

He said the introduction of a 12-hour race at Sebring on the same bill as the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship event of the same duration also mitigated against the introduction of qualifying races from the start of next year. 

John Gaw, motorsport boss at Aston Martin partner Prodrive, explained that efforts needed to be made to raise the profile of a class in which BMW will join the British manufacturer, Ferrari, Ford and Porsche in 2018.

"I don't know whether qualifying races was the right thing to do," Gaw said. "But we will have five manufacturers fighting for the championship next year and efforts need to be made to increase the exposure of that."

The idea of the qualifying sprints had been agreed by the five GTE Pro manufacturers, though the duration of the races, the number of points to be awarded and TV coverage were points yet to be finalised.

shares
comments
Mexico WEC: Porsche locks out front row, Ferrari on top in GT

Previous article

Mexico WEC: Porsche locks out front row, Ferrari on top in GT

Next article

Porsche not backing down from team order use

Porsche not backing down from team order use
Load comments
Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked Prime

Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked

Toyota scored its fourth Le Mans 24 Hours victory and a 1-2, with the #7 car of Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez beating the #8. But although it looked straightforward from the outside, Toyota faced serious problem that had to be solved with some quick-thinking and ingenuity.

Le Mans
Aug 24, 2021
What we've learned from the Le Mans 24 Hours so far Prime

What we've learned from the Le Mans 24 Hours so far

The new dawn for the FIA World Endurance Championship has arrived at Le Mans, as Hypercars prepare to duel for victory in the world's oldest endurance race. Motorsport.com picks out the 10 things we have learned in the build up to the race.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2021
Le Mans 2021: The team-by-team guide Prime

Le Mans 2021: The team-by-team guide

After a two-month delay due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 Le Mans 24 Hours is set to get underway with the start of the Hypercar era at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2021
Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse? Prime

Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse?

One Toyota, normally with the number 7 on the side, always seems to attract the bad luck in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez are hoping for a change in fortune this time around, but face significantly more unknowns than in recent years

Le Mans
Aug 19, 2021
Why Glickenhaus should be taken seriously on its Le Mans bow Prime

Why Glickenhaus should be taken seriously on its Le Mans bow

Many were quick to dismiss Glickenhaus when the boutique American sportscar firm's entry into the top class of the Le Mans 24 Hours was announced. It's all-new LMH racer, powered by an engine built by a rally specialist, goes in as the underdog against Toyota but the mathematical odds suggest that it has more than just a faint hope of success.

Le Mans
Aug 18, 2021
How 1971's benchmark Le Mans team lost with the best car Prime

How 1971's benchmark Le Mans team lost with the best car

The JW Automotive Engineering team won twice at the Le Mans 24 Hours with ageing Fords and was considered the heavy favourite to add more victories to its tally after partnering with Porsche. But despite being armed with the all-conquering 917, this formidable combination was never as successful in real life as on the big screen.

Le Mans
Aug 15, 2021
Why Jose Maria Lopez isn’t motivated by emulating Fangio Prime

Why Jose Maria Lopez isn’t motivated by emulating Fangio

Having twice missed out on Formula 1 and reinvented himself as a touring car driver, Jose Maria Lopez has had a rocky ride to becoming a four-time world champion. One more would put him level with his nation's favourite son, but there's another prize he would value far more than the honour of matching Juan Manuel Fangio's tally.

WEC
Aug 14, 2021
The understated Le Mans legend who has earned a testimonial Prime

The understated Le Mans legend who has earned a testimonial

OPINION: After 24 Le Mans 24 Hours participations, 50-year-old Emmanuel Collard will be absent from the grid this year, stuck at the mercy of his gold driver grading. But, while he's not motivated by breaking start records, the French veteran is determined to return to the field next year.

WEC
Jul 24, 2021