The future of the WEC

FLRacingFan

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Peugeot announce their intent to join the top class of WEC in 2022, presumably meaning the 2022-2023 season. Much-needed for the series, joining factory or factory-backed efforts from Toyota and Aston Martin and in addition to privateer efforts from ByKolles (lol) and Glickenhaus (with Alfa Romeo power). Somewhat bittersweet though as Toyota had just expressed their interest in integration of DPi into WEC and Le Mans, and this addition probably gives the FIA and ACO enough confidence in their regulations not to pull the trigger on that. Integration probably would've been fairly difficult anyways, although I think there is still some possibility of seeing DPi in its own class of sorts at Le Mans. I'm still not entirely sold on Hypercar - apparently to be called LMPi, I wonder where they got that naming convention from - based upon the whole idea that they will utilize BoP among hybrid and non-hybrid and prototype-based and production-based hypercars.


 

Charlie Spencer

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Does anyone here even watch it.
I've never made an effort. What little I know about the series, I've picked up in this forum. I don't even know how WEC races are presented: TV, stream, web, subscription, some other method? It's moot; between the top three NASCAR series, IndyCar, and IMSA, I'm following enough series already.
 

Doc Austin

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I've never made an effort.
The series is so bad it takes a very determined effort to tune in. Hopefully the Hyper cars will make things better, but I doubt it.

What little I know about the series, I've picked up in this forum.
That's the thing. It gets very little coverage and it's horrible anyway. They spend more time covering the cars sitting still in the pits than they do the actual racing. They almost completely ignore the prototypes except as an after thought, so it may as well be a GT race. They spend way too much time on pre-race nonsense and way too much time on post race nonsense. The coverage alone is bad enough to run people off. It's horrible, but then again, so is the series.

It would be unwatchable except for Alan McNish's commentary. The other guys in the booth are squids.

I don't even know how WEC races are presented: TV, stream, web, subscription, some other method?
Motor Trend TV, but again, they only cover the first and last hour. Maybe the series really isn't that bad, but the TV coverage is horrendous. This is the way the FIA has always treated sportscar racing, which is why they really shouldn't have a hand in it.

It's moot; between the top three NASCAR series, IndyCar, and IMSA, I'm following enough series already.
Life is too short to spend on something that doesn't interest you. I don't want to talk you out of watching, but it's not very good.

Nascar will still be healthy, and IndyCar is ready to blast off with Penske running things. Those two look really solid.

IMSA looks like it's going to be really good again, but I think a lot of teams are waiting tp see what DPI/2 is going to look like before they commit. The P2 class was all but dead last year, but it looks like we will be having six or seven full time entries. I still think those cars are being wasted by not letting them go head to head with the DPIs, but the part that makes it worth it is the privateers have a place to race.
 

Charlie Spencer

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Nascar will still be healthy, and IndyCar is ready to blast off with Penske running things. Those two look really solid.

IMSA looks like it's going to be really good again, but I think a lot of teams are waiting tp see what DPI/2 is going to look like before they commit.
I concur with your assessment of all three. The Deathbedders scream about NASCAR dying. It's healthy, just returning to the pre-Boom levels of interest. I cannot wait to see what Roger does but I doubt it will be detrimental.

As to WEC, I'll take your word. It doesn't sound like it's worth investigating Motor Trend TV.

Thanks.
 

Doc Austin

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The Deathbedders scream about NASCAR dying.
More like bedwetters!

Nascar has lost the hysterical fad edge it had, but any of their races still have more people in the stands than any IndyCar race. They are no longer challenging the NFL for supremacy, but they are still too big to fail. I don't think it's a bad thing the hysteria has lessened to the point you no longer see "the official feminine hygiene products of nascar" on the shelves or nascar air fresheners at Pep Boys.

Some people think if nascar fails that's going to help IndyCar, but it's never good when racing, any racing, fails,

I cannot wait to see what Roger does but I doubt it will be detrimental
I don't think so. Roger has won so much that he wouldn't risk a conflict of interest. I think it will all be above board. You have to look at what he did with Detriot to see what's possible for the series with the right kind of management and promotion. Be happy. The Hulmans weren't taking the sport anywhere, but I think Roger will. This was a lot better than selling the property to real estate developers. It's a lot better than ISC getting it and making the 500 a stock car race.

As to WEC, I'll take your word. It doesn't sound like it's worth investigating Motor Trend TV.
It's still a world championship, even if it's just a pathetic excuse for one. The GT racing is spectacular, but I don't really care about that. The prototype division is more like the walking dead, and everyone is in holding until the Hyper cars come out. Maybe that will be good, but I don't think so. Those will have trouble fighting off the P2 cars unless they cripple them with BOP.

I sure don't want to talk you out of watching, but if you already have a full plate you won't miss it.
 

Doc Austin

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But, hey. there's still super good news. Rebellion has been on the verge of greatness for a long time, and now they have a factory deal with Peugeot. This shows that privateers still have a chance to make it big in sportscar racing. That's solid news, but we need more privateers to hit it big like that.

In reality, the highlight of the WEC season for me was Rebellion winning Shanghai after Ginetta was running away with it in the early going. The privateers are the only reason we even had a P1 season this year, so any success they have is well deserved.
 

Doc Austin

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It didn't take long for the Rebellion/Peugeot alliance to fall apart.

Rebellion to end its motorsport involvement after Le Mans

A lot of vague wording in the announcement. Rebellion is apparently gone with no explanation, and there is also no word about what will happen to the actual team and employees. Hopefully Peugeot will absorb them.

Rebellion has been around a long time, and always on the verge of breaking through into greatness. It doesn't make sense they just pull the plug right as they were set to become a factory team. There's got to be more coming out on this soon. Too much of it doesn't add up.

Peugeot will be continuing, but we have lost another privateer. With Ginetta's participation now also in question, this was the last thing we needed.
 

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Everything’s Great

Remember, Aston Martin will be in F1 next year. They will probably be stretching resources thin, so I think the need to focus on F1 and the GT programme they have. The HyperCar would have been great, but I'd rather Aston focus on the big investment they have in F1 for 2021 onwards, hopefully.

They pulled out of DTM as well, its not great, but Aston Martin as financially deep to really fund all of these projects.
 

Doc Austin

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Everything’s Great

Are you shtting me? I thought Mega GT was going to be the best series ever, or at least that's what they told us. Who needs Aston anyway? We've got plenty of privateers to run those $35 million dollar cars.

Don't we?

Honestly, best news ever if they play it right. Toyota is going to stay either way, even if it has to build a DPI. Here's our chance to have a universal DPI formula. How many manufacturers do you think will jump all over that? Yeah, makes too much sense, which is probably why it won't happen,
 

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Remember, Aston Martin will be in F1 next year. They will probably be stretching resources thin, so I think the need to focus on F1 and the GT programme they have. The HyperCar would have been great, but I'd rather Aston focus on the big investment they have in F1 for 2021 onwards, hopefully.

They pulled out of DTM as well, its not great, but Aston Martin as financially deep to really fund all of these projects.
The financial viability of this for Aston was questionable before they even got the Stroll investment and subsequently made plans for F1. Now they are blaming convergence...embarrassing, IMO. There had been absolutely no indication of any progress on the race version of the Valkyrie while we’ve already gotten numerous updates from Toyota and Glickenhaus. I wonder how long Stroll putting up money to have his kid in a factory F1 seat is going to last. My guess is not very.

 

FLRacingFan

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Looks like we might just wind up with Hypercar going away entirely and LMDh being the sole global top class formula after all.

 

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The financial viability of this for Aston was questionable before they even got the Stroll investment and subsequently made plans for F1. Now they are blaming convergence...embarrassing, IMO. There had been absolutely no indication of any progress on the race version of the Valkyrie while we’ve already gotten numerous updates from Toyota and Glickenhaus. I wonder how long Stroll putting up money to have his kid in a factory F1 seat is going to last. My guess is not very.

“We entered Aston Martin Valkyrie in WEC and at Le Mans with the understanding that we would be competing with similar machinery and like-minded manufacturers. The situation has changed and it makes sense for us to pause and reconsider our options.”

Oh word? Don't blame the convergence that made this decision. I personally think Aston just lacked funds altogether for the project. Stroll is solely focused on the F1 side and he's worth 2.6 billion, I doubt he runs out of money anytime soon. He invested almost 200 million (196 million USD, 183 million Euros) into Aston Martin and owns 20% of the company.

Seems like the executives have a stick up thier behinds. This is the type of ignorance I do not care for with both IMSA and WEC hurting for competition in the DPi and LMP1 classes the ACO and FIA had to do what they did. Hopefully, Glickenhaus and Peugeot do commit to the HyperCar because of both decide the same decision then WEC with the upper echelon classes are screwed. At this point, Aston is doing what they want to do. Let them have at it, I hope they restart the programme, but I have my doubts. "Pauses" sometimes turn into outright cancellation at some point.
 

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Holy cow...…the level of instability is like nothing we have ever seen in sportscar racing. This time it's good because we needed a revolution. It looks like we could have a true one world sportscar prototype formula. There's no way to overstate how big this could be.

All I can say is thankfully everyone in the FIA and WEC are so incompetent that they haphazardly stumbled headlong into the solution that's been starring them in the face for three years. Look, they didn't come up with this convergence thing on their own. It was all they had left.

Sure, the lack of (and falling) interest in hypercar entries was the focal part of doom, but also remember all of this was coming down along with the news Rebellion is dropping out of racing totally, and Ginetta might even be done. Not only was hypercar coming apart at the seams, the classes they were counting on to fill out the prototype field were disappearing too.

Essentially, the WEC had nothing. They didn't have any other choice than adopt DPI.

But, as bad as it's been lately in WEC, I guess it had to all blow up in their faces or we would have never gotten the convergence, which I think has the potential to be the best sportscar series we have ever seen.

A couple of things worth special mention:

It sucks we will be losing Rebellion. Here was a privateer team that fought it's way up to becoming the Peugeot factory team, and in the blink of an eye it's all gone...and with no explanation either. Hell, they were running good and had recently beat Toyota head to head to win in China. With the factory deal soon to follow, we could have been looking at another Joest or Kremer type of operation, but sadly, Rebellion suddenly blows the hatch and they will be out after Lemans.

To me, this makes so little sense to build something like that and then shut it down when it's just coming around. Hard to believe this isn't going to get interesting.

I guess this also signals the demise of the LMP1 privateer car, which is sad on multiple levels. First, they weren't spec prototypes. Those were real race cars that were severely restricted by fuel flow regulations. They could have gone a hell of as lot faster if they gave them fuel. I think if they had been the top class with a rules stability clause we would have had big fields of privateer friendly prototypes. Sad we didn't get the chance to see what those cars could do.

In the end I don't know if everyone got what they wanted, and we still haven't seen the finished rules. I just hope they require every car be available for purchase to any privateer.
 

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“We entered Aston Martin Valkyrie in WEC and at Le Mans with the understanding that we would be competing with similar machinery and like-minded manufacturers. The situation has changed and it makes sense for us to pause and reconsider our options.”
Aston probably needs to consider how cheap a DPI project would be. I'm betting it comes out quite favorably compared to the $35 million hyper car.

Don't blame the convergence that made this decision.
I think Aston might have gotten spooked by how unstable the whole scene looks right now. There's too much money at stake to be changing the rules on the run and having a different plan every other week.

It's also possible Aston likes the sound of that reasonable P2 type budget and maybe the opportunity to sell a few race cars to privateers and defer their costs. If you consider the hypercars are projected to run a $35 million budget, why bother if they can be competitive buying someone else's chassis and jamming their motor in it?

I personally think Aston just lacked funds altogether for the project.
If that's the case, maybe they truly are pausing to reconsider a DPI project as an alternative.

This is the type of ignorance I do not care for with both IMSA and WEC hurting for competition in the DPi and LMP1 classes the ACO and FIA had to do what they did.
I'm happy they were forced to finally do something. Even if it's wrong it's got to be better than what they have been doing. They could have certainly screwed it up much worse, but I think they are on the right track. The cars just have to make sense.

Hopefully, Glickenhaus and Peugeot do commit to the HyperCar because of both decide the same decision then WEC with the upper echelon classes are screwed.
We're going to have to differ here. I'm just hoping we get one set of sensible prototype rules and a guaranteed period of rules stability. Right now I think DPI makes the most sense.

I don't really care what we get as long as it's a big field of fast swoopy cars. I'm kind of simple that way.
 

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Toyota remain committed to Hypercar...makes sense I suppose, they'd already spent plenty on design and development and have done some degree of physical testing, unlike Aston. However, with Glickenhaus not being ready until Kyalami in early 2021 Toyota will likely be the only cars in the top class at the start of the 2020-2021 season, unless the Ginettas manage to find the funding to run as the non-hybrid LMP1s will be grandfathered in for a year.

Certainly it would've been nice if Aston had never committed and we could've gotten on with global DPi in the first place. Now we're going to be stuck balancing Hypercar with LMDh at Le Mans and I can only imagine how well that's going to go.

 

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It sounded as if Rebellion were leaving racing entirely, but interestingly enough they aim to remain in motorsport in some capacity. Some very interesting justifications in here as to why they are leaving top-flight prototype racing. Remaining a privateer effort is very important to them and that wasn't going to be the case with the Peugeot link-up. Many other series are easier on the budget as well.

 

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WEC COTA on Motortrend TV at 12:30. Does anyone care?
Today has been a busy day, I have been running around with things to do. If, I can watch it, I will. I watched the qualifying session yesterday.

Great job by Nicki and Aston to get on pole by almost three tenths in the GTE Pro class.
 

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Yeah, I mean we didn’t realize it was this weekend to be honest,” said track chairmain Bobby Epstein, “We were thinking about Formula 1 and even the World Challenge race coming up in March and completely forgot about WEC. I guess all the hoopla with LMDh made us forget they are still racing in their current state.”
Bruhhhh...
 

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Rebellion ran away with that one.

I mean the Toyotas had an arm tied behind their back during the race.
 

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I mean the Toyotas had an arm tied behind their back during the race.
Kind of like what the privateers have been living with the last two years.

This is what happens when you have engines of different displacement, different architecture, and even different technologies like hybrid. It's great to have a field of diverse cars, but it's impossible to balance them fairly every time. No one can name a time the BOP was perfect, and it's been especially horrible in the WEC. Toyota has had such an easy walk everyone is fed up and leaving. The one Rebellion car is all that's left and they are done after LeMans.

Who the hell is going to race next year?

I've also got to wonder if Aston looked at this and figured they might get the same treatment when their non hybrid is EOPed to the hybrids. They haven't got the EOP right even a single time, and at $35 million a year it wouldn't make sense to get thrashed every week.

Hey, FIA, you didn't take care of your teams...…..again. How the hell do you lose a team like Rebellion? After everything they did to make the races, how do you not take better care of Ginetta? Even SMP is gone because they so much as admitted they were sick of the EOP crippling them. FIA, you didn't let the privateers have even a sniff of a chance until it was too late. You, FIA, used the privateers to prop up the big Toyota advertisement, and then screwed them over and over until they all threw up their hands and left.
 

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However, I did watch the race and Rebellion is one slick operation. They have supported the series for 13 years or so and they deserve a result like this. I hope someone can buy the team, or convince Rebellion to come to IMSA. We would absolutely love to have them here.

Once again, the P2 cars were the stars of the show, because they raced the crap out of them.
 

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Sorry I missed this...……….

It sounded as if Rebellion were leaving racing entirely, but interestingly enough they aim to remain in motorsport in some capacity.
I have not read where Rebellion has any sort of racing plans, but I may have just missed it.

Probably too much to hope for, but maybe they are looking at IMSA. We'de love to have them.

Some very interesting justifications in here as to why they are leaving top-flight prototype racing. Remaining a privateer effort is very important to them and that wasn't going to be the case with the Peugeot link-up.
I don't buy it that they want to remain privateers. If that's the case, why did they ever sign with Peugeot? It's not like they didn't know what they were getting into. Rebellion is a slick operation and they are no fools. If anything, maybe they signed the deal and changed their minds, but I believe they knew going in they would lose their privateer status and this is just an excuse.

With this in mind, they had to have had another reason to give up a lucrative works deal. It's not hard to believe the convergence really did run them off. They have already seen how impossible it s to balance hybrids and conventional cars, and maybe they have just had enough. Hell, absolutely everyone in LMP1 has had enough and that's why no one is coming back.

Think about this.....what if Rebellion pulled the plug last week like Ginetta did? You would have had one LMP1 team in the championship that's so important no one shows up to contest it. Really? This is colossal FAIL for the WEC and FIA. This is just yet another chapter of the FIA treating sportscar racing with so much contempt it lives in a state of near collapse all the time. I'm sick of this **** and I'll bet I'm not alone.

Here's where IMSA screwed it up. Rebellion probably even still has it's P2 cars, or could buy one quickly enough. If the P2s were allowed to compete for the win, they could have very easily just joined us. They like racing in the states and have had a taste of winning here, not to even mention most Americans have never heard of their watches. They could easily expand their market here with a little promotion, and P2 could have given them access to the biggest market in the world while doing that same thing they have been doing....racing. Now, the best privateer team in the world is going to simply disappear. WEC was criminal to let this happen and IMSA really should be trying to woo them in here. We don't exactly haver a big field over here either and another solid car and team is exactly what we need, especially if they are the level of Rebellion.

Even if Rebellion wanted to come here, what would they do for a car? P2s are out, but where do you buy a DPI? It would be absolutely unfair to make Cadillac sell them a car because they are already supporting more than the others combined. They could maybe buy a Mazda, except they have said it will be a single car and I believe it's already sold. You can't get an Acura no matter what, so what's left?

The important take away from all of this is we have lost a great team and they can't get into IMSA without a car. If we still had P2 in the top class, they could have come over here pretty seamlessly, maybe even in time for Sebring.

Many other series are easier on the budget as well.
For right now, P2 would make the most sense because they have already won that championship and can o it again while we are waiting to see how the convergence works out. Instead they are just out, and I personally believe it's because they are just fed up getting jacked around every race with BOP. Oh, sure they got a good BOP this time, probably right about the time they realized Rebellion was all they had to race Toyota.

Rebellion won the WEC P2 championship in a year off from LMP1, so they know what the budget would be. We know they can run up front in those cars, but instead of dropping back and recovering while the landscape settles, they are just walking away.

The problem is, what sane person would invest in even that with as unstable as things are now? Hell, I'm betting WEC could even ruin P2. No sensible person would look to the WEC to provide a stable place to race.
 

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I'm critical of WEC, but only because I want it to be a great series with cool cars. Now things are kind of out of it's hands...…….

https://racer.com/2020/03/16/wec-postpones-spa/

That's one of the premier circuits on the schedule, probably the most prestigious in the series after LeMans. Then again, what good is it when we would only have two teams and a total of 3 top class cars running around? When everything shakes out, this could have been a really big break for everyone.

If it gets so bad that LeMans is cancelled or postponed, it's possible that Rebellion will leave the sport on a winning note, which for them would be wholly appropriate and richly deserved. Letting a team of that caliber simply disappear is a major fail. I'm sure if the cars and the rules made sense they would have never gone, so maybe we need cars and rules that make sense.

Maybe it will be a good thing if WEC is shut down until we can get the "converged" field together instead of the embarrassing mess we have now. As it stands every race just makes the WEC less and less meaningful, but if we have to wait until we get a healthy field full of LMDPI (or whatever it's called this week) it wouldn't be a bad thing. WEC needs to die a painful death and then be reborn as something better, and let's hope that's what we get.

Honestly, what we have coming could be the next incarnation of Group C, or maybe a huge, more prestigious version of the current IMSA. We potentially have something great right around the corner, so let's hope they get it done, and having the current WEC slip away won't be so painful.
 

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Hopefully Rebellion will stretch heir departure date and make the race. There's going to be a hell of a lo of good racing this fall in nice weather. Sucks to have to wait, but if the weather is perfect it will be great to go to the races.

Sebring is going to be in November, and that's right in the middle of the most perfect weather in Florida. March is usually really hot in Sebring, but November is spectacular. I hope they can reschedule the WEC to run that weekend too.
 

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Considering the next season was supposed to start September 5 this is going to mess up schedules A LOT...and I don’t even want to think of the trickle-down effect on Hypercar regulations that were supposed to start then. They still want to reschedule Spa at least too - can’t see them wanting to do Sebring in November considering their desire to have Le Mans as the season finale these days. Plus they’ll still be there in March.
 

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Considering the next season was supposed to start September 5 this is going to mess up schedules A LOT.
Granted, it's a hell of a mess. Imaginehow crazy it would be to reschedule an event like Long beach with all the bureaucratic red tape.

..and I don’t even want to think of the trickle-down effect on Hypercar regulations that were supposed to start then..
Honestly, Hyper just needs to go away. A series with $35 million cars would collapse under it's own weight anyway. Maybe the cars would be cool, but they simply don't make sense. Hypercar would also interfere with making LMDPI work. We need ONE world formula.

They still want to reschedule Spa at least too - can’t see them wanting to do Sebring in November considering their desire to have Le Mans as the season finale these days.
I had not considered that, but it would only be one time and the current championship is as good as over anyway. With the cancellations Rebellion simply won't have enough available points. That, and will they even come back at all? They are supposed to be done after LeMans, but if they are going by the calendar instead of the actual race day, they will be down the road before lemans happens.

Plus they’ll still be there in March.
Wait, Is the convergence 2021 or 2022? If it's 2021 they need to get it together and nail the rules down. I have not seen a finished copy of the rules yet. All I see is the concept.
 

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This reinforces my belief that the next season gets pushed back or the Hypercar regulations get pushed back, or both.

 

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Wait, Is the convergence 2021 or 2022? If it's 2021 they need to get it together and nail the rules down. I have not seen a finished copy of the rules yet. All I see is the concept.
LMDh is supposed to start with the 2021-2022 WEC and 2022 IMSA seasons. But there’s so much in flux right now those dates are hardly static. The World Motorsport Council approved convergence but IMSA and the ACO are still finalizing technical regulations. I agree they need to get it done soon and I’ve seen ORECA agrees - hopefully it’s all sorted out within the next week or two.
 
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