We know already that the 2016 FIA WEC calendar will be announced at the Circuit of the Americas. There has been much speculation on an extension to the current calendar – Our current understanding is that this is not correct, for 2016 at least.
Informed speculation at the Nurburgring on the 2016 FIA WEC calendar is that we will see a more than broadly similar calendar to the 2015 item, the welcome shown by the German track has been very well received but the 2015 gap between Le Mans and this fixture is widely seen as being too long.
There are conflicting messages though on the subject of the overall calendar, a senior Championship source informs DSC that no extension to the 8 race calendar is expected but a source close to a Championship partner believes an additional race is expected. We believe that currently a repeated eight race programme is the more likely option.
Moving forward it is increasingly clear that stability both to venues and dates is the key message for the Championship – any potential future expansion will be VERY carefully integrated.
LMP1 Factory Teams Commit, And New LMP2 Teams In Prospect
Porsche have already made it clear that they are committed to their LMP1 programme through to 2018, matching the commitment announced already by Toyota “confirmed to 2017 at a minimum”. Audi have made it clear on more than one occasion that they have no intention of moving to any other area of the sport in the near future. What we are seeing here in terms of LMP1 factory efforts is what we will see for, at the very least, the next two seasons. That is very good news indeed for the Championship.
In future prospects news there are plans being developed (a term that falls well short just yet of an announcement) by at least two LMP2 teams not currently involved in sportscar racing for the 2016 FIA WEC.
Rebellion’s First 6 Hour Race With AER
Rebellion Racing have had no running since the Le Mans 24 Hours, the Nurburgring test last month falling at the wrong time for the team’s post LM ‘wash-up’.
It’s worth noting meanwhile that this will be Rebellion’s first 6 hour race with the newly AER engined R-Ones, and the team’s first (non-LM) WEC race since November last year!
Tequila Paton ESM Set To Return
Tequila Patron ESM are looking like sure fire returnees to the FIA WEC in 2016, the team pronouncing themselves well satisfied with the package whilst eying a potential limited US endurance programme for the start of next season depending on the final shape of the 2016 WEC calendar, in particular the timing of the now traditional WEC Prologue test at Paul Ricard which proved a major logistical challenge for the team last year after their appearance the the 12 Hours of Sebring.
Aston Martin Racing are less than happy with the revised Balance of Performance dealt out for their cars post Le Mans, a senior team source offering the opinion that they had never before seen a methodology of determining their potential pace akin to that apparently used to make the change, the team suggesting that a figure for potential ultimate pace was arrived at by estimating a lap time that Nikki Thiim COULD have achieved IF he had raced at Spa (which he didn’t!).
Porsche Factory GTE Programme Set To Continue
Despite reports and suggestions of Porsche potentially taking a sabbatical from GTE-Pro next season ahead of the introduction of a new car for 2017, DSC now believes that we will see a factory GTE Pro effort from Weissach next season though any revised specification of their car for 2016 is unknown.