Last night saw the Champions from the inaugural season of the FIA World Endurance Championship honoured in a glittering ceremony at the Pavillon Champs-Elysees in Paris.
The guests were reminded of the eight round championship with a short three minute video that relived some of the highlights of the year before the trophies were presented to the top teams and drivers in the five categories – LMP1, LMP1 Privateer, LMP2, LMGTE Pro and LMGTE Am.
Rebellion Racing and their drivers Nicolas Prost and Neel Jani won the top honours in the LMP1 Privateers class, the trophy collected by Bart Hayden and Alexandre Pesci, Starworks Motorsports and driver Enzo Potolicchio won LMP2 with Enzo and Peter Baron reunited on stage, AF Corse and Giancarlo Fisichella were top in the LMGTE Pro class, Amato Ferrari joining Fisi on stage while Larbre Competition won the Team trophy in LMGTE Am, Julien Canal and Patrick Bornhauser joined Jack Leconte to lift the trophy but there was a trophy too for a previously unannounced drivers trophy in the GTE Am class for Team Felbermayr Proton drivers Christian Ried, Gianluca Roda and Paolo Ruberti.
Special Awards were also given to Toyota Racing as the Rookie Team of the Year, Enzo Potolicchio as the Rookie Driver of the Year, AF Corse for the Team Mechanics of the Year, in particular after their efforts to build up a car almost from scratch to win Le Mans from the back of the grid.
Audi Race Engineer Leena Gade was a popular winner of the Man of the Year award and was presented with a trophy that still lacked the obviously appropriate ‘Wo’.
The Audi Sport team were presented with the Drivers Trophy for the World Drivers title for Marcel Fassler, Benoit Treluyer and the absent Andre Lotterer with Dieter Gass joining his drivers on stage to acknowledge (but not be presented with) the trophy for top LMP1 manufacturers (the trophy is apparently stuck in Customs en route from Istanbul!)
Gerard Neveu, CEO of the FIA WEC, said: “Last week we travelled to Istanbul to celebrate the world champions at the FIA Gala and tonight is the end of season party to celebrate all the teams and drivers who took part in the first year of the FIA WEC. I would like to congratulate each and every team and driver for the contribution they made in making the World Endurance Championship a huge success in 2012 and look forward to seeing them in 2013 for an even better year. I would like to take this opportunity to wish our partners, sponsors, officials, teams, drivers, members of the media and the fans a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.”
There will be lots of news and gossip later on DSC about the prospects for 2013.