ILMC: retrospect season finale in Zhuhai / views of the WEC in 2012


Peugeot wins, Ferrari secured the GT title and the calendar for the WEC in 2012 was announced.

The initial phase of the final run in Zhuhai, China was still promising: indeed, the two factory Peugeots had secured the front row, but the two Audi R18 could be in the early rounds and then only between fight even before this. But the fireworks of the Ingolstadt did not last long, during the first half of the race took over the Peugeot with decreasing temperatures again in command. Also, different strategies changed nothing in mind that there was a French double win at the end and his Peugeot series perfectly made: victories in all ILMC races - except Le Mans.

The fact that the two factory diesel prototypes are very close together, a glance at the fastest laps: Only 31 thousandths missing Timo Bernhard to 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 at about 30 degrees. Also in the top speed, the difference amounted only to 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 were victorious at the end of Sebastien Bourdais and Anthony Davdison after successfully Franck Montagny and Stephane drive ahead of Sarrazin.

For Bernard and Le Mans winner Fässler still only Rank 3 was one lap behind - Kristensen / McNish were excreted after a collision with the Rebellion Lola-Toyota, but could go on and finish the race in fourth place. 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 title with still open, dominated by BMW: the two M3 GT led all but six laps Farfus / Muller won ahead of Priaulx / Alzen. And yet it was not enough for the Championship: While were Fisichella / Bruni in the AF Corse Ferrari only last 40 laps behind the BMWs, but they reached the target and collected because of the small number of participants in the class, the few necessary points to the Team title to secure. Also, the manufacturer title went to Italy, even a little clearer, because Luxury Racing collected with the third rank of Ortelli / Makowiecki still some counters.

This BMW has missed the title in spite of the work commitment in both ILMC years - but there are apparently still some hope: should a new race team as a replacement for carving, moving to the DTM find, the BMW M3 could loud SpeedTV journalist John Dagys in the WEC are at the start in the coming year.

The GTE-Am the only Porsche won in the field, Lietz / Road / Ried Proton Competition for order one lap 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 in the end went to the Audi Mortara / O 'Young / Imperatori.

Remarkable: the GT3 cars were both in the lap times - keep up with the GTE vehicles as well as at top speed - at least in the qualification; also as far as the racing 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 in both Le Mans and in the numerous national championships ...

Progress is, however, 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 - attention. That means first first: there will be no two races in the U.S., only Sebring as the season opener in March installment of the series. The Petit Le Mans is left out.

Against the background 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 this decision, however, is in my opinion not even the worst. In addition, there were already Sebring dispute because of the GTC category, only reluctantly WEC officials have approved their participation for 2012. And also could be used as WEC Sebring race in 2013 on the brink stand, because the organizers want to avoid common loops to play all championship races according to the same rules can.

Contrast, problem is the conflicting schedules of the 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 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, which takes place as usual as the last race before Le Mans 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 early after the 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 Course alternatives available; the spa catchment area could also 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 in the calendar again; also a race in Italy would make for the LMS sense since the World Cup omits this market.

Meanwhile, crossed the Atlantic and the WEC will be competing in Interlagos, which apparently only one option in South America. Then it goes to the Toyota and Nissan home race at Fuji Circuit - a run that was ever 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 there were earlier 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 6h race will again be held in Zhuhai or on the F1 circuit 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 significantly more in Shanghai.

So these are the prerequisites for 2012. Remains to be hoped that the titles decisions at least in some classes more exciting than in the previous season just finished. The first important date, the sports car fans should be in your calendar, is February 2nd: then that the WEC field and the remaining participants in the 24 Hours of Le Mans is announced.

(Pictures: Audi, ACO)

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