The future of the WEC

Kiante

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This seems like another season to punt on now. Glickenhaus weren’t ready for Portimao when that was supposed to be the opener, now they’re not ready for Spa either. In fact, they have no plans beyond Le Mans anymore - just Portimao, Monza, and Le Mans. Sounding very much like Ginetta at the moment. Peugeot better turn up in a big way in 2022.
Jim said he's playing the long game. He's signed on for five years, so I'm guessing he's still not 100% on reliability of the car. It was only until the beginning of the year the car was actually rolling.

I have no issue, I'd rather them take their time and be prepared. We'll see, but I can see them just getting into LeMans and that be it for this season.
 

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Jim said he's playing the long game. He's signed on for five years, so I'm guessing he's still not 100% on reliability of the car. It was only until the beginning of the year the car was actually rolling.

I have no issue, I'd rather them take their time and be prepared. We'll see, but I can see them just getting into LeMans and that be it for this season.
They have overpromised and underdelivered, being pompous on social media is a big part of why fans are turning on them now that they’re falling behind.

As it is the delay to the season has allowed Toyota to get even more testing in before homologation as well. Whenever SCG lock the car in it will probably be underdeveloped comparatively. It’s unfortunate because if they were truly ahead of the curve this season would’ve been the perfect opportunity for them, before even more competition joins with Peugeot next year and Ferrari in 2023.
 

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They have overpromised and underdelivered, being pompous on social media is a big part of why fans are turning on them now that they’re falling behind.

As it is the delay to the season has allowed Toyota to get even more testing in before homologation as well. Whenever SCG lock the car in it will probably be underdeveloped comparatively. It’s unfortunate because if they were truly ahead of the curve this season would’ve been the perfect opportunity for them, before even more competition joins with Peugeot next year and Ferrari in 2023.
Yeah, they certainly have run their mouths quite a bit. It's going to hurt them in the end, IMO they should focus on at least getting one car on track for data collection purposes.

I mean, they hired six drivers already. I say, focus on getting a minimum of one car ready and rotate through drivers. Getting two ready is probably taking a toll, they made their own bed. I hope the car delivers in the end.

I'm rooting for this team, but when the time comes they are going to have to show up in a big way.
 

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This first race is going to be a mess BOP wise, have they considered adjusting the Hypercar rather than neutering LMP2 cars?
 

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LOL 3:30 Le Mans target lap times. If this is legitimate pace and Toyota/Alpine aren’t sandbagging (TBD) that might not even be reached. All because Aston Martin committed with a stupid road-going hypercar, then bailed out of factory sports car racing entirely, then bought out a mediocre F1 team. Bunch of tossers.

NO reason LMH and LMP2 should be this slow.
 

Doc Austin

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This first race is going to be a mess BOP wise, have they considered adjusting the Hypercar rather than neutering LMP2 cars?
LMP2 are badass little racecars. It's a shame to a see fast, cool, cost controlled class hobbled so the $35 million cars can take center stage. If they want the LMP1 and hypercars to go faster, ease up on those restrictions. Almost all the drivers loved the LMP2 cars the way they were two years ago. They are going to ruin it for everyone just to appease Toyota.

Actually, in the first year of the new P2 based DPI, a pure P2 car came within a point or two of winning the IMSA championship. They had the perfect blend of BOPing the factory DPI with the privateer pure P2 cars, so anyone and everyone could buy a car and go race with a chance to win. That year was more golden than anything we have ever seen in sportscar racing, including GTP and Group C. But, we couldn't have lowly privateers challenging the might of the billion dollar factories, so the P2 cars were pegged back to being almost useless. WEC could have had the same thing, but all they care about is manufacturer money and simply don't give a damm about the privateers.

Really, right now if they leave things alone, we could have an incredibly competitive season. Are they really going to take 10-15 cars out of the fight so we can continue the billion dollar Toyota advertisement? Really, going to screw over the largest group of cars in the field to accommodate a single manufacturer?

But Toyota owns the FIA. If Toyota packs up, there will be zero hypercars, and surely those planning to build one would reconsider. The FIA would rather suck up to a single manufacturer than an entire field of privateers? How much money do you think is changing hands behind the scenes?

I think the best option is see how this race plays out. Toyota has always managed to beat whatever BOP was put in front of them and always had a massive advantage. Now they are squealing because they have a fair fight on their hands instead of automatic wins and they don't like it.

Let's hope the BOP stands firm for at least this race and see what happens. I mean, what's it going to hurt if most of the P2 field stands a chance? WEC has been a shot show for three years, except the times they got the BOP right and Rebellion could win and Ginetta could challenge. Those have been the only interesting races of this entire era.

The telecasts pay little attention to the P2 cars because they steal the show every time. Now that they could be ready to fight at the front where the cameras can't ignore them, that's going to be a lot more fun than two hours of watching the Toyota run around all by itself.

So, we actually have something really good on our hands,. At least the test made it look interesting. Let's hope we get a completive fight and some good racing.
 

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LOL 3:30 Le Mans target lap times. If this is legitimate pace and Toyota/Alpine aren’t sandbagging (TBD) that might not even be reached. All because Aston Martin committed with a stupid road-going hypercar, then bailed out of factory sports car racing entirely, then bought out a mediocre F1 team. Bunch of tossers.

NO reason LMH and LMP2 should be this slow.
Tell us how you really feel.

I feel as if Aston would be better off continuing to market in sportscar racing, but if F1 was a better suit with Stroll leading the charge, then by all means go for it. It was going to happen when they decided to commit to F1 that the factory GTE team was dead in the water. I never understood the development of the Valkyrie if they were not going to use in the LMH class to begin with, its sounds almost as if the idea just died off.

So rather them invest the name into an already established F1 team instead of a 35 million dollar LMH team. That's probably not including cost of retaining drivers, personnel, engineers, etc. It's a mess tbh, but hopefully in due time we will see other brands catching onto the LMH or LMDh train and moving this on. Right now, I'm still excited to see how it races.

I still say Toyota needs a real wake-up call, they have been racing themselves since the 2018-19 season. They need legitimate competition to realize the FIA/ACO do not revolve around what they do. The privateers are really who keep the sportscar ship running, I just hope they do not go too far to **** the LMP2 teams because as @Doc Austin said, and also I'm happy to have your contributions back here as well. I'm all for BOP, but do it to not slow other LMP2 teams that could actually compete as well. Toyota is a billion dollar corporation, WEC is a drop in the bucket. Yes, it is important to have them, but at the same time I could not care less about an LMH or LMDh or grandfathered LMP1 car leading. If the LMP2 cars compete or are fast enough to keep up then by all means, give these small teams like WRT, Dragonspeed, Jota, or any other privateer the respected TV time.

Exposure for all classes is important and sponsors for all teams want to be seen, let it be ACO. If BOP'ed do not kill the LMP2 cars, please.
 

Doc Austin

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OK, looks like we might be in for a race!

Toyota was still fastest in the last session, so what do they want, the same level of dominance they have had for the past three years? Yeah, that wasn't very interesting. Sucks for them, but in the end we pay for it, and we want to see a race, not a bought and paid for exhibition/commercial. We see enough commercials on the telecast without the whole race being one.

Toyota was the sole manufacturer for the last three years. The FIA would have had no series at all if Toyota had not stayed, or that was the claim. The realty is they would have had no series without the privateers. It's not hard to believe SMP would have stayed because they specifically said they were unhappy the rules gave them no chance. It's also not hard to believe Rebellion got sick of all the abuse (though admittedly they didn't actually say that), and that's probably what put them out too. No doubt Ginetta would have had a better chance of attracting customers if the car was competitive, and in the end it looked pretty good, but by then no one was going to invest in a car that would be merely grandfathered, and if history held true, be BOPed into also rans.

So, the FIA had to sell the privateers out to keep Toyota and they got the hose, just like always. That 1/2 second guaranteed Toyota advantage turned out to be more like 3 or four second, and even more in race trim, traffic and wet weather because of the AWD and hybrid acceleration made working thru traffic much easier and quicker. They would never get hung up by the GT cars. Just wait for an acceleration point, hammer it and blow them off.

I would have almost been ok with Toyota having a 1`/2 second if it were ever really a 1/2 second. It was not until last year when the automatic BOP "success adjustments" hit that privateers stood a chance, but by then everyone was fed up and looking to get out.

I think it's fair to say the WEC could have excluded the factories and the LMP1 privateer class would have been healthy from the beginning to stand on it's own. and probably stayed that way. Might have been even better if you could by a car and go race competitively. That sure worked with the 962, didn't it?

They could have even let Toyota play under the same rules, but no, they had to have their own class with a guaranteed 1/2 second advantage. What was the point of having them be faster other than a bribe to keep them coming back? They were not racing against anyone, so what would have been wrong letting the privateers get in with a chance?

Certainly, I am a bit biased for the privateers, but they always carry the load so we don't have just five or six factory cars, or in Toyota's case, just two. The P2 cars have always been the stars of the show, and they race the ever loving crap out of those things. Every time they show them, the P2 cars are engaged in a blood and guts battle for the lead. Wouldn't it be amazing if that was actually for the overall and Toyota was right in the middle of it?

Here's where Toyota, the team, has it's chance to show us what they have got. If they can win with a supposed disadvantage, that means a lot more to me than crushing everyone with that fat 2-3 second a lap cushion.

So, I'm going into this hopeful the existing BOP will give us a great race, and make Toyota at least fight for it. I think Toyota is sandbagging, but we will see. If they leave the BOP alone and testing gives us a glimpse of what to expect, it could be an epic season. It may have been by accident, but the WEC seems to have gotten it close to right this time.

So, let's race and see what happens. It could go either way, but I'm hopeful we will have a fair race with reasonably matched cars.
 

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Tell us how you really feel.

I feel as if Aston would be better off continuing to market in sportscar racing, but if F1 was a better suit with Stroll leading the charge, then by all means go for it. It was going to happen when they decided to commit to F1 that the factory GTE team was dead in the water. I never understood the development of the Valkyrie if they were not going to use in the LMH class to begin with, its sounds almost as if the idea just died off.

So rather them invest the name into an already established F1 team instead of a 35 million dollar LMH team. That's probably not including cost of retaining drivers, personnel, engineers, etc. It's a mess tbh, but hopefully in due time we will see other brands catching onto the LMH or LMDh train and moving this on. Right now, I'm still excited to see how it races.

I still say Toyota needs a real wake-up call, they have been racing themselves since the 2018-19 season. They need legitimate competition to realize the FIA/ACO do not revolve around what they do. The privateers are really who keep the sportscar ship running, I just hope they do not go too far to **** the LMP2 teams because as @Doc Austin said, and also I'm happy to have your contributions back here as well. I'm all for BOP, but do it to not slow other LMP2 teams that could actually compete as well. Toyota is a billion dollar corporation, WEC is a drop in the bucket. Yes, it is important to have them, but at the same time I could not care less about an LMH or LMDh or grandfathered LMP1 car leading. If the LMP2 cars compete or are fast enough to keep up then by all means, give these small teams like WRT, Dragonspeed, Jota, or any other privateer the respected TV time.

Exposure for all classes is important and sponsors for all teams want to be seen, let it be ACO. If BOP'ed do not kill the LMP2 cars, please.
I think that LMP2 cars being as fast as they’ve been since the current crop debuted in 2017 should show that you can have relatively cheap cars still go quick. LMH did not have to be pegged back nearly as badly as they apparently have been to cut costs, same when LMDh comes along. I’m glad we have six major manufacturers committed across the two already and another three or four on the way, but there still needs to be a substantial performance element involved. Now to compensate for their errors you have to nerf another class entirely.

I am okay with Toyota and Alpine being upset, they invest more money than anyone else, they’re what pays the bills, they’re what get people to watch on TV, they’re what get fans in seats. And this is not particular to them, this goes for any manufacturer at the top level. They’ve committed and then been given a crappy rule set to build to. I’d be miffed too.
 

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Also worth noting is that the FIA pulled the rug out from under the privateer Group C entries (for 1944) because they "only" had 13 cars. If that's the case, why were the seven or eight we have had the last three years "enough cars?"

Here's your answer: FIA is more concerned with the manufacturer money and prestige than they are of sustaining a healthy series. One manufacture was enough. Imagine winning a championship that is so important you were the only one who cared enough to show up and race.

Conversely, Big Bill France set up and financed IMSA, strictly to keep the French from ruining American sportscar racing. His approach is the same he took with stock cars. He took care of the little guys and made sure everyone had a chance, provided they executed, to win. This is how IMSA went from doctors and lawyers running around in 911 into the mighty GTP series. Privateers could always buy a competitive car.

This is the complete opposite of the FIA's factory dominated approach. It's actually kind of amazing they are on roughly the same page now, but remember, it was the P2 car, and P2 based DPIs that brought them together. The entire concept is brilliant and executed perfectly. It makes a perfect second class prototype series, and a perfect platform for manufactures to go racing without having to develop and entire car from scratch. It would make even more sense if they were required to sell them to privateers.

However, I have seen IMSA get away from helping it's privateers and taking more of the FIA's approach. I can guarantee you one thing, if they force the manufacturers to sell cars to privateers, IMSA is going to explode with new privateers stepping up from P2 and P3. Just give them a chance to win. If IMSA allows the manufacturers to hoard equipment and keep it out of the hands of the privateers, we might get a lot of cars at first, but when manufacturers start to drop off (and they always do), and no privateers left to support the series, we'll end up roughly were we are now with five factory cars and a couplie of privateer Cadillacs. Sportscar racing should be better than that.
 

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I think that LMP2 cars being as fast as they’ve been since the current crop debuted in 2017 should show that you can have relatively cheap cars still go quick.
You don't have to spend $35 million to go fast. You don't even have to go hi tech because displacement is the great equalizer. If you look at the Cadillac DPI, that's a 5.5 liter production based motor, so is the Acura, and so was the Nissan. Those cars are more than fast enough, so why spend millions for essentially nothing?

Sticking to the Cadillac, how fast would that thing go if they lifted the restrictions? You can make cheap, simple cars go fast as hell. There's no need for them to be that expensive just for the sake of speed because you can get that by taking the restrictions off. Hell, and it's not even a hybrid. The cars are fast enough that the expense and complexity simply isn't worth it.

Conversely, the hypercar (so far) isn't as fast as a highly restricted P2 car, so I can't see how they can justify the expense.
LMH did not have to be pegged back nearly as badly as they apparently have been to cut costs, same when LMDh comes along. I’m glad we have six major manufacturers committed across the two already and another three or four on the way, but there still needs to be a substantial performance element involved. Now to compensate for their errors you have to nerf another class entirely.

WEC can't have anything to beat their beloved $35 million dollar hybrid monsters. FIA went all in on this class and the green agenda. These cars are such a ridiculously expensive virtue signal when a plain old P2 car with pro/am drivers is even within 10 laps.

This is the trap they laid for themselves trying to equal such a different technology. They have muffed the kick for three years now with the BOP, and while it now looks right for a good race, it's not going to look good if Toyota loses, and if a regular old car can beat the hybrid messiahs.

I am okay with Toyota and Alpine being upset, they invest more money than anyone else, they’re what pays the bills, they’re what get people to watch on TV, they’re what get fans in seats. And this is not particular to them, this goes for any manufacturer at the top level. They’ve committed and then been given a crappy rule set to build to. I’d be miffed too.
Yeah Toyota has invested heavily and supported the sport, so none of this is their fault. Alpine has been a big P2 supporter and winner, but all they have really invested in LMP1 is they bought a car. I'm glad they are here, but Toyota is way ahead on throwing money.

They play the rules they are dealt, but they, and the entire sport, would have been better off if Toyota had jumped in the LMDH field. Then we would had just one top prototype class and everyone would be in it on both sides of the Atlantic. We would have had a true global sportscar platform.

The problem with the rules set is no one wants to play. It's just too damm expensive compared to a LMDH program, or even a P2 program if the bop holds. Glickenhaus is rumored to be out and where did Peugeot go? Maybe manufacturers are better off in LMDH after all.

Still, we just might have a really solid race, so I'm hopeful.
 

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Gotta admit, that Toyota is pretty damm swoopy.
7-Toyota-Gazoo-Racing-GR010-2021-WEC-Spa-2.jpg
 

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You don't have to spend $35 million to go fast. You don't even have to go hi tech because displacement is the great equalizer. If you look at the Cadillac DPI, that's a 5.5 liter production based motor, so is the Acura, and so was the Nissan. Those cars are more than fast enough, so why spend millions for essentially nothing?

Sticking to the Cadillac, how fast would that thing go if they lifted the restrictions? You can make cheap, simple cars go fast as hell. There's no need for them to be that expensive just for the sake of speed because you can get that by taking the restrictions off. Hell, and it's not even a hybrid. The cars are fast enough that the expense and complexity simply isn't worth it.

Conversely, the hypercar (so far) isn't as fast as a highly restricted P2 car, so I can't see how they can justify the expense.


WEC can't have anything to beat their beloved $35 million dollar hybrid monsters. FIA went all in on this class and the green agenda. These cars are such a ridiculously expensive virtue signal when a plain old P2 car with pro/am drivers is even within 10 laps.

This is the trap they laid for themselves trying to equal such a different technology. They have muffed the kick for three years now with the BOP, and while it now looks right for a good race, it's not going to look good if Toyota loses, and if a regular old car can beat the hybrid messiahs.


Yeah Toyota has invested heavily and supported the sport, so none of this is their fault. Alpine has been a big P2 supporter and winner, but all they have really invested in LMP1 is they bought a car. I'm glad they are here, but Toyota is way ahead on throwing money.

They play the rules they are dealt, but they, and the entire sport, would have been better off if Toyota had jumped in the LMDH field. Then we would had just one top prototype class and everyone would be in it on both sides of the Atlantic. We would have had a true global sportscar platform.

The problem with the rules set is no one wants to play. It's just too damm expensive compared to a LMDH program, or even a P2 program if the bop holds. Glickenhaus is rumored to be out and where did Peugeot go? Maybe manufacturers are better off in LMDH after all.

Still, we just might have a really solid race, so I'm hopeful.
You definitely don't have to, but I commend them for doing so. With most racing series becoming increasingly spec or at least adopting more and more common parts I think there is something uniquely good about manufacturers like Toyota, Peugeot, and Ferrari still choosing to develop their own chassis. At least it's still substantially cheaper than what LMP1 was while still maintaining technical diversity and creativity. That's a crucial component of sports car racing that I hope doesn't ever fully go away. If that weren't the case, ELMS would be a much bigger draw. It has good racing but there's not the same level of OEM involvement and engagement that helps draw eyeballs.

Maybe Toyota will gain speed as they understand their chassis better and work on set up, but they seem very adamant that even if they were allowed to they couldn't run at a higher power level than what they're at now and they can't shed any weight either - LMH and LMDh are set to run at a minimum of 1030 kg, Toyota are at 1040 kg. Some weight gain was expected with the hybrid systems but it's mindboggling that they designed the rules for the cars to run 100+ kg heavier than what LMP2 has been based at.

I'll stop whining for now and check in to see how it goes this weekend, but I really hope there's sandbagging going on and they haven't just neutered two different classes of cars.
 

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With most racing series becoming increasingly spec or at least adopting more and more common parts I think there is something uniquely good about manufacturers like Toyota, Peugeot, and Ferrari still choosing to develop their own chassis.

I'm more than ok with all of that provided we can have a large, competitive field. Problem is, with a projected $35 million budget, how many manufacturers are actually going to jump in? As of right now, only Toyota has shown up with a hypercar. Let's see if Ferrari and Peugeot even show up. I think once all the numbers are in and we know what everything is really going to cost, LMDH is going to make much more sense for everyone.

$35 mil is a lot better than the rumored $200 mil Porsche was spending. At $35 mil, how many hypercars do you think we will get, and more critically, how many will stick it out? I also don't think many privateers have that kind of money. They may not even be able to buy a car, and certainly don't have the resources to build their own. Maybe Glickenhaus can do it, and while we've seen the car, they have yet to show up.

I'de love to see a big field of pure prototypes, but it's just so expensive. Even running a P2 is a metric ton of money. I think LMDH is going to be where the action will be. A manufacturer can simply buy a chassis and jam their motor in it. Way more cost effective that starting from scratch. Where LMDH makes the most sense is Porsche is going to be involved, and they are ready to sell cars to privateers.

At least it's still substantially cheaper than what LMP1 was while still maintaining technical diversity and creativity.
It's been a slow process, but all the technical innovation and creativity started grinding to a halt with Parnelli's gearbox. After that Indycar changed and so did sportscar racing. Racing has morphed from competition improving the breed to teams struggling to survive.

Look, I grew up going to Daytona and Sebring in the 60s during the most diverse era in history, so I'm with you on wanting lots of different cars. The problem is that now it's so expensive that only Toyota is willing to spend the money for a pure clean sheet prototype.

When it's all said and done, LMDH makes so much more financial sense that we will get more manufacturers. It also makes sense (provided they can get cars) for privateers who don't have the money for hypercar.

That's a crucial component of sports car racing that I hope doesn't ever fully go away. If that weren't the case, ELMS would be a much bigger draw. It has good racing but there's not the same level of OEM involvement and engagement that helps draw eyeballs.
ELMS had a big prototype field, but that was with privateer teams and P2 cars that were top class. Everybody wants to win in the top class, and the better chance you give them, the more people, teams and cars will want to play.

Maybe manufacturers draw eyeballs, but they come and go as they please, which always seems to be whenever it hurts the sport the most. That's why we always fall back on the privateer, but how many of them are going to survive blowing a hypercar budget?

Maybe Toyota will gain speed as they understand their chassis better and work on set up, but they seem very adamant that even if they were allowed to they couldn't run at a higher power level than what they're at now and they can't shed any weight either -
Like you say, it may just be a bad set of rules. We already know it's expensive as hell, but now they are slow too?

LMH and LMDh are set to run at a minimum of 1030 kg, Toyota are at 1040 kg. Some weight gain was expected with the hybrid systems but it's mindboggling that they designed the rules for the cars to run 100+ kg heavier than what LMP2 has been based at.

Everyone could have just left DPI alone, only integrate it into the WEC, and that would have solved every problem we had except maybe chassis diversity. We had the answer in our hands and WEC dropped it.

What was the point of the hyper car if it still looks like an LMP1, but is slower?

I'll stop whining for now and check in to see how it goes this weekend, but I really hope there's sandbagging going on and they haven't just neutered two different classes of cars.
I'm ok with the cars being slower as long as they race well. I think this weekend is going to be a twilight zone kind of event. We have absolutely zero idea what to expect. Should be good fun.
 

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Toyotas a full second clear of the rest in FP3. Sandbags, anyone?

Toyotas Go 1-2 in Final Practice Session Before Qualifying – Sportscar365

Not sure how this is going to play out in race trim, but it's not encouraging. I think we all knew Toyota would "find" some speed when they needed it.

The BOP cat and mouse game seems to be more important than actually racing. I hope I am wrong and we get a good race.
 

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I was hoping for better, but it is what it is. Where did that missing 1.6 seconds come from?

Toyota Hypercars Find Pace, #7 Takes Pole At Spa | dailysportscar.com

Even the Alpine, which is supposed to be in the same class is 1.4 sec (or so) out to lunch. Good work on that BOP!

So now, there's no Rebellion, no SMP, no Ginetta and not even a Bykolles. Now Toyota has absolutely NO ONE to race against except except each other and it looks like we are in for an entire year of Toyota parades unless they blow up.
 
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I was hoping for better, but it is what it is. Where did that missing 1.6 seconds come from?

Toyota Hypercars Find Pace, #7 Takes Pole At Spa | dailysportscar.com

Even the Alpine, which is supposed to be in the same class is 1.4 sec (or so) out to lunch. Good work on that BOP!

So now, there's no Rebellion, no SMP, no Ginetta and not even a Bykolles. Now Toyota has absolutely NO ONE to race against except except each other and it looks like we are in for an entire year of Toyota parades unless they blow up.
Kamui said during the post-quali interview that Toyota has not done any low-fuel runs during testing.

So I guess they have an idea of the qualifying pace, but as Kamui said, the race will be different.
 

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About a tenth off of 2019 LMP2 pole for Toyota, but I think with more experience with the car they could get back under 2:00. Looking a lot better now for sure. When there’s a full field in 2023 I think it’s important they be quicker than the previous generation of LMP2 cars and that looks much more likely now.
 

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So I guess they have an idea of the qualifying pace, but as Kamui said, the race will be different.
Let's hope so, but remember, the LMP2 cars were in Q trim too, so they probably won't go any faster in the race. The question is how much either is going to give up on a full fuel run, and whether or not they can double/triple stint the tires. Weather always seems to play a part at Spa too. Remember last year they had yellow flags for snow? Then there's reliability, but no one wants to win by default and no one wants to see that either.

Now, if the P2 cars are faster or at least in the fight on race day, that's all I am asking for. If we don't get that, I hope at least the telly will follow the P2 battle instead of fixating on the Toyotas while they run away.
 

Doc Austin

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I don't want to give away too much with the race still underway, so, spoiler alert.

There seems to be a reasonable balance between the Toyotas and the Alpine LMP1, and it looks like we have a race between those two with 1.5 hours to go. It wasn't what we expected, but at least it's a race.

Live stream here: WEC 2021 Total 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps - YouTube
 

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It’d be the fastest car by far if they didn’t have to peg it back to the Toyota LMHs.
Oreca really got these car right. They run up front in DPI (Acura), they also ran up front as P2 cars in IMSA when they were allowed, and they dominate P2 all over the world. The Oreca also won a race as an LMP1 too, so any time these cars roll out they are always a threat. We even thought they were a threat this race, even crippled by BOP, so it's clearly a pretty wonderful car.

We got played. In practice the P2s looked like they had a chance, so let's tune in, right? Unfortunately the P2 cars were as good as out of it after a few laps, but at least it's encouraging that the P1 Alpine put up a decent fight.

Rebellion had two LMP1 cars, right? I'de like to see someone run the second one. Another good car would only make things better.

I still haven't seen the whole thing, but for awhile it looked like the Alpine had a decent chance. Then, when TV came back from the break it was as good as settled. Not the race we were hoping for, but probably better than we were expecting.

Hopefully before LeMans they will make a slight BOP adjustment to bring the Alpine a little closer but I think the FIA has the P2 cars right where they want them. They have a unique chance to ease up on the P2 cars and let them get into the fight, and that would give us 10-12 more good cars fighting for the overall. That's what we need..... not $35 million cars running around alone.

Still, a P2 car came within a lap of winning LeMans a few years ago, so anything can happen. Alpine has their bets covered with a P1 and a P2, so it wouldn't be a horrible surprise if one of those pulled it off.
 

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Before the last yellow with 22 minutes to go, the Toyota was over 2 minutes ahead. At 162 laps, that's more than a second per lap the Toyota had over the LMP1 Alpine. Of course, Toyota let up at the end, but it's clear the advantage is still substantial and needs to be addressed. Alpine has no chance with that kind of handicap. Now, we either want a fair race, or we want Toyota to remain unchallenged. I think the first option is better for everyone.

2021 Spa-Francorchamps results - FIA World Endurance Championship (fiawec.com)
 
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