2023 WEC

FLRacingFan

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I didn’t get to watch most of this one but it sounds like it mostly came down to early tire strategy and unfortunate safety car timing. The two Ferraris and #2 Cadillac bolted away on wets at the start and then the track started to dry, Toyotas and the #3 Cadillac caught a break for a GTE safety car and were able to set sail on their slicks as the track dried, although the #3 crashed out of 2nd place at Eau Rouge with a scary power steering failure crash. The Ferraris and #2 Caddy essentially had to make an extra pit stop and lost a bunch of time pitting and trying to get tires up to temp. I believe the factory Porsches also started on slicks and were at an advantage, but one of them had a total shutdown and the other was finally caught and passed for the final podium spot by the #51 on the final lap.

Congrats to Lilou Wadoux on being the first female driver to win a WEC race, taking GTE today.

 

FLRacingFan

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This was Van der Zande’s big crash from 2nd, thankfully he was okay and the tub survived. Just a couple of years ago there would’ve been too little runoff space and ricocheted back on track.

 

Doc Austin

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I've only seen a few highlights, but it looked interesting. I plan catch up after I watch the GP sprint.

We've got the GP and Indycar tomorrow too, so another great weekend.
 

Doc Austin

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The Spa WEC race was deceptive. Toyota seems to have run away with it, but Ferrari and a few others got behind starting on the wrong tires and never recovered. The Ferrari was actually turning faster times, but by then Toyota was gone. It might be much more competitive than we think, or at least let's hope so.

The Caddy was also looking good, but it was more out of consistency instead of outright speed. The Glick is hopeless, but the Bykolles continues to surprise by having a good run before they hit trouble.

Peugeot seems utterly lost, or at least their reliability takes them out of the game every time. It's hard to get a read on their competitiveness because their reliability is so poor. I think we all expected better from them.

Damm, those P2 cars sure put on a great race.

The telecasts are also much better than last year. In the they spent half the telecast covering what was going on in the pits. Now they keep stay on the cars racing, which is a big improvement. The telecasters are also knowledgeable and seem to be having a good time. If you combine that with the quality of the field, you are close to a first class production.

I think in general they have the BOP sort of close, though I do think the LMDh cars need a little help. The race was fun, and when the top class got spread out the P2 cars carried the rest of the show. WEC is looking really, really solid and it's only going to get better when BMW and (hopefully) Acura come over. There's also that Assetto something or another car coming after leMans, so we're going to have a ton of cool cars.
 

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Final seats filled for Le Mans


IMG_1596.jpeg
 

FLRacingFan

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The Spa WEC race was deceptive. Toyota seems to have run away with it, but Ferrari and a few others got behind starting on the wrong tires and never recovered. The Ferrari was actually turning faster times, but by then Toyota was gone. It might be much more competitive than we think, or at least let's hope so.

The Caddy was also looking good, but it was more out of consistency instead of outright speed. The Glick is hopeless, but the Bykolles continues to surprise by having a good run before they hit trouble.

Peugeot seems utterly lost, or at least their reliability takes them out of the game every time. It's hard to get a read on their competitiveness because their reliability is so poor. I think we all expected better from them.

Damm, those P2 cars sure put on a great race.

The telecasts are also much better than last year. In the they spent half the telecast covering what was going on in the pits. Now they keep stay on the cars racing, which is a big improvement. The telecasters are also knowledgeable and seem to be having a good time. If you combine that with the quality of the field, you are close to a first class production.

I think in general they have the BOP sort of close, though I do think the LMDh cars need a little help. The race was fun, and when the top class got spread out the P2 cars carried the rest of the show. WEC is looking really, really solid and it's only going to get better when BMW and (hopefully) Acura come over. There's also that Assetto something or another car coming after leMans, so we're going to have a ton of cool cars.
Peugeot didn’t have reliability problems this time around, did they? Portimao and Spa went pretty well as far as reliability, Spa especially. They just don’t seem to have pace yet still. I do think they’re doing performance-focused testing at Paul Ricard before heading to Le Mans. Their concept is supposed to shine most of all at Le Mans so if they’re seconds off the pace again I wonder if Stellantis will start asking serious questions.

I really do feel Ferrari are the fastest car right now but their overall reliability and race execution is still a question mark for me, and they seem to struggle most of anyone on cold tires. I’d still favor Toyota overall and maybe favor Cadillac in second because of their reliability, plus they’ll have three cars.
 

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Portimao and Spa went pretty well as far as reliability, Spa especially.

I have not seen all of Spa yet, but at Portamao they always seemed to be in and out of the garage.

They just don’t seem to have pace yet still.
They started off at Monza last year about 1.5 sec off the pace and see to keep hovering there.

I really do feel Ferrari are the fastest car right now but their overall reliability and race execution is still a question mark for me, and they seem to struggle most of anyone on cold tires. I’d still favor Toyota overall and maybe favor Cadillac in second because of their reliability, plus they’ll have three cars.
They were dead meat on cod tires at Spa. They could barely stay ahead of the GT cars until they had a few laps.

That's my only concern with WEC. I'm all for banning tire blankets, but I don't think Michelin accounted for that when they made the new tires. I don't know how they can fix it, but if anyone can it's Michelin.
 

Doc Austin

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Good decision, nice to see sense win out. Safety should be paramount and it would’ve made for a terrible storyline, given all the hype for this year’s event, if it were 24 hours of cars spinning and crashing on outlaps.
At Spa the hypercars were nowhere for three or four laps on cold tires. The Ferraris were especially slow on cold tires. The GT cars were almost running them over. We had two hypercar cold tire crashes on the weekend, and you're right we don't need that at LeMans.

However, part of me thinks it's the same for everyone, but that Ferrari spun it's tires in fourth gear. It was probably equivalent to driving on ice, so they need to solve this. I think we go with what we have, including blankets, and ask Michelin to look at the problem.
 

Doc Austin

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Oh no sir.
Well, good and bad. We need more hypercars, but we need good ones. Glick hasn't been very good so far this year.

The part that doesn't make sense is that they were running away with Monza last year before they blew up, Now they are hopeless. What happened?
 

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Well, good and bad. We need more hypercars, but we need good ones. Glick hasn't been very good so far this year.

The part that doesn't make sense is that they were running away with Monza last year before they blew up, Now they are hopeless. What happened?
Glickenhaus did not test all off-season. That's the problem, there was not a lick of development done and I think it's down to funding at this point. Motul is a supplier of the team, but is no longer the primary sponsor Glickenhaus.

This is why they wanted to bring in Goetz with his BWT backing, but that did not materialize.
 

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Back to Vanwall, there's a lot of really good drivers available and that can only help them. The car has had some surprisingly strong runs, though hampered by reliability and accidents. At Spa they were running well up on merit, so they have reaonable speed. They just need to find a little more, get the reliability in order and execute.
 

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Having Jacques in the car was almost like having a bronze P2 driver in at times. He doesn’t have what it takes to compete at this level anymore, when was the last time he even drive competitive downforce cars?

Good opportunity for Vautier. I don’t expect much out of them relative to the big manufacturers but hopefully they can finish the 24 this time, and Tristan will help elevate them.
 

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Having Jacques in the car was almost like having a bronze P2 driver in at times. He doesn’t have what it takes to compete at this level anymore, when was the last time he even drive competitive downforce cars?

Good opportunity for Vautier. I don’t expect much out of them relative to the big manufacturers but hopefully they can finish the 24 this time, and Tristan will help elevate them.
I mean Loic Duval impressed at JDC-Miller enough to get a factory Peugeot role. Maybe something similar can happen for Vautier, if this tenure with Vanwall goes well.
 

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Having Jacques in the car was almost like having a bronze P2 driver in at times. He doesn’t have what it takes to compete at this level anymore, when was the last time he even drive competitive downforce cars?

Good opportunity for Vautier. I don’t expect much out of them relative to the big manufacturers but hopefully they can finish the 24 this time, and Tristan will help elevate them.
I remember Vautier filled in at Texas for Coyne and drove like he was in the Indianapolis 500 on the last lap. He got taken out, but he showed he was capable.
 

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Alpine will unveil their 2024 LMDh next Friday on the eve of the race. ORECA base chassis, as is the case with the Acura. I’d expect anyone who has a big announcement to make will do so next week. Will probably try to get a LM thread up in the coming days.

 

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Really weird story, some party is lying. ByKolles followed up by forwarding an email to Motorsport that shows Villeneuve standing down from the effort.

Either way, it’s unfortunate this is getting traction since both parties are non-factors and there’s so much good to look forward to the next ten or so days.

Motorsport.com has since seen email evidence that allegedly shows that Villeneuve made the decision to quit the Vanwall programme ahead of the announcement of Vautier.

The email is dated after a three-day test at Monza in which Villeneuve drove on the opening day before his team-mates took over.

 

Doc Austin

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Either way, it’s unfortunate this is getting traction since both parties are non-factors and there’s so much good to look forward to the next ten or so days.

Maybe the sad part is Jacques is hanging on too long. At this point, since he has put so much training in, he might want to approach a good P2 team and see if he can get a drive there.
 

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IIRC, WEC said there would be no BOP adjustment for leMans, but there it is anyway. I think we will probably be lots of BOP discord as the Lemans weekend unfolds. I would not be even slightly surprised if we see a lot of griping.

Aside from that what this mean is we will probably get a better race. This won't be much consolation for the teams on the short end, but at least whomever wins will probably have to earn it. My guess is Toyota will still find a way to be fastest and unless they have a lot of problems they will probably be in contention. They are just too far ahead, but I hope this doesn't cripple them.

The good news for IMSA fans is the GTP (or LMDh) will probably be in the fight. I generally don't keep up with BOP adjustments, but these ones see to be a step in the right direction. We won't know for sure until they race the things, but it at least appears WEC is trying to be fair. It's hardly been fair the opening races with Toyota running away with it, but hopefully this will address that and we'll have a righteous battle on our hands.
 

Doc Austin

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I just ran the numbers through my handy windows conversion chart, and it says that 35 kilos tagged onto the Toyota is 79.3664145 pounds, the Ferrari gets 52.910943 pounds, while 963 LMDhs were hit with 6.6 pounds and the Cadillac V-Series got hit for 24.25 pounds respectively.

So there's now a 50lb difference between the Toyota and the Caddy. That shows they got the initial BOP pretty badly wrong. Let's hope the used all the data from the first four races and have a good formula now.

Now with Porsche coming in with only 6.6 pounds more, that might be all they neededed.

Essentially, I don't really care who wins because it will be a great story for whomever does. Toyota could finally win Lemans against a legit field, Ferrari winning would be great for the sport, a Caddy win at Lemans is way overdue, and a Porsche win will just add to that legacy. Unless Peugeot found something really special since the last race, I don't expect them to have a good race. Glick and Vanwall are probably hopeless, but you know I always pull for the privateers.

Then again, we just won't know until they take the green.
 
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