ILMC: Review of season finale in Zhuhai / views of the WEC 2012
Peugeot wins, Ferrari GT secures the title and the calendar for the WEC 2012 was announced.
The initial phase of the final run in Zhuhai, China was still promising: although the two factory Peugeots had secured the front row, but the two Audi R18 were able in the early rounds only between then and even before this fight. But the fireworks of Ingolstadt did not last long, during the first half of the race took over the Peugeots with decreasing temperatures again in command. Also, different strategies changed nothing because there was a French double win at the end and his Peugeot series perfectly made: Victories in all ILMC races - except Le Mans.
That the two factory diesel prototypes are very close together, a glance at the fastest laps: Only 31 thousandths missing Timo Bernhard on the best of Sebastien Bourdais, but the Audi driver had his best time down in round 5, as it is the track temperature was still around 30 degrees. Even when the top speed difference was only at 1.5 km / h in favor of the two 908 But the French had for the cooler temperatures, which accounted for the majority of the race, the better setup, and so victorious at the end of Sebastien Bourdais and Anthony Davdison free of errors Franck Montagny and Stephane ride before Sarrazin.
For Bernard and Le Mans winner Fässler nevertheless only rank 3 was one lap behind - Kristensen / McNish were eliminated after a clash with the Rebellion Lola-Toyota, but could continue and finished the race in fourth. The team of Tokai University managed with the new exhaust waste heat hybrid finish, albeit with 62 laps down.
In the GTE-Pro class, the only one still open with title, dominated BMW: the two M3 GT led all but six laps Farfus / Muller won ahead of Priaulx / Alzen. And yet it was not enough to mastery: although were Fisichella / Bruni in the AF Corse Ferrari only last 40 laps behind the BMWs, but they reached the goal and conceding because of the small number of participants in the class, the few necessary points to the team caption secure. Even the manufacturer's title goes to Italy, even more clearly, because Luxury Racing collected with the third rank of Ortelli / Makowiecki still some counters.
This BMW has missed the title, despite the factory's involvement in both ILMC years - but there are apparently still some hope: should a new race team as a replacement for carvers who move to DTM find, the BMW M3 could, according to SpeedTV journalist John Dagys in the WEC be at the start in the coming year.
The GTE-Am is the only Porsche won in the field, Lietz / Road / Ried for Proton Competition, a round before the Larbre Corvette, in the occupied with only two LMP2 cars led the Signatech-Nissan of Ordonez / Vernay / Mailleux from start to the finish.
Mika Häkkinen's debut on the long haul was less successful: Although he could take the lead in his starting stint in the GTC class, but did not consider the Mercedes SLS AMG by long and so the victory went at the end of the Audi Mortara / O 'Young / Imperatori.
Remarkably, the GT3 cars were both at the lap times - keep up with the GTE cars and the top speed - at least in the qualification; also in terms of race lap times was not far. More sad is that ACO, SRO and FIA have not managed to develop a common GT-formula that could be used both in Le Mans and in the numerous national championships is ...
Progress has however to be reported by the organizing committee of the new World Endurance Championship. In addition to a new logo and the calendar for the first season of the new World Cup was released as expected. Although much had been suspected and gerüchtelt in advance, but there is now certainty.
Eight races in eight countries on three continents, the WEC entourage - after the assessment could include John Dagys 30-35 full-season entries - visit. That is first first: there will be no two races in the USA, only Sebring is as opening race in March installment of the series. The Petit Le Mans is left out.
Given the fact that the field of ILMC and ALMS was there already this year too large, and that the ALMS can not waive the Challenge classes and wants, but this decision is in my opinion not even the worst. In addition, there were already Sebring dispute because of the GTC category, only reluctantly the WEC officials have approved their participation for 2012. And also could Sebring as WEC race in 2013 on the brink stand, because the organizers want to avoid common loops to play all championship race by the same rules can.
It does not work is the date of the collision Petit Le Mans with the WEC race in Bahrain. To the idea of organizing a FIA-sanctioned world championship race just in Bahrain, probably does not need much more to be said and I'm still not sure that the race will actually go on the stage. The benchmark one should probably wait if the formula 1 race takes place on the desert island or is canceled again.
There is a one and a half month break until 6h race in Spa, the last race before Le Mans takes place as usual in early May after the season opener at Sebring: Additional WEC races. In early June following the Le Mans test day, two weeks later, on 16 and 17.6. the big race in its 80th edition. The European season ends after breakfast, end of August, at Silverstone.
Thus, the WEC has secured two important and traditional races - whether the LMS still competes at another date in Spa and / or Silverstone remains to be seen. In England stood with Donington or the new Snetterton 300-price alternatives are available; the Spa-catchment area may be covered with a round at the Nürburgring. One thing is clear: the LMS will ride in Brno, the date is already confirmed. I would also assume that Le Castellet will be on the calendar again; also a race in Italy would make sense for the LMS, as the World Cup omits this market.
Meanwhile, crossed the Atlantic and the WEC will compete in Interlagos, which apparently only one option in South America. Then it goes to Toyota and Nissan-home race at Fuji Circuit - a run that was already planned for the Asian Le Mans Series, but was canceled. This is how the skeptical to be considered Bahrain race, go over six hours, even if it was before rumors of a 12h race in Bahrain.
Finally, the season finale will be held in China on November 11. It is not yet decided whether the 6-hour race will again be held in Zhuhai or on the Formula 1 track in Shanghai. I would, in terms of distance, Shanghai prefer; but to judge by the voices from the past weekend after the organizers in Zhuhai made a great event with a great atmosphere on the legs, including a drivers' parade through the city, as in Le Mans. Nevertheless, few Chinese made their way to the stands - but I doubt that it would be much more in Shanghai.
So these are the prerequisites for 2012 Let's hope that the title decisions in at least some classes are more exciting than in the previous season just finished. The first important date, the sports car fans should mark the calendar itself, is February 2: then that the WEC-field and the remaining participants in the 24 Hours of Le Mans is announced.
(Images: Audi, ACO)
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