It was confirmed in a briefing with Jean Todt and Pierre Fillon on Saturday that the 2021 FIA World Endurance Championship will be held over six rounds.
That aligns with feedback from several teams who suggested to DSC in recent weeks that the current economic situation would have seen budgets difficult to source for a calendar longer than six rounds.
Whilst prior communications have suggested that a return to ‘Super Sebring’ would be the opening round of the 2021 calendar, much now depends on the progress with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Laurent Shunt Ends Epic Signatech Scoring Streak
The incident that saw Thomas Laurent eliminated from the 6 Hours of Spa Francorchamps in a violent crash also marked the end of an extraordinary points-scoring run for the Signatech Alpine team in the FIA WEC which stretched back, with huge irony, some 36 races!
That streak stretches back to the Nürburgring in 2015 and includes LMP2 race wins (including two at Le Mans), plus a further 16 podium finishes and two class championships.
Despite a slight hobble away from the wreck Thomas Laurent later tweeted out that he was OK.
A marshal on post nearby to the impact was taken to the Medical Centre after falling unwell after the incident.
The incident was investigated by the Stewards, no evidence of contact between the #29 and #36 was deemed to have been found, with the Signatech Team manager offering their opinion that it had been a racing incident.
United Streaks Continue
United Autosports meanwhile stretched their LMP2 winning streak this season to three races in the FIA WEC, and the team’s streak to five races in LMP2 competition,(the three WEC races stretching back to Bahrain in December 2019 plus the opening pair of ELMS races this year – their #32 car at Le Castellet and the #22 Albuquerque/ Hanson combo last weekend at Spa, in itself a three-race streak at that event for the same crew!)
New Spa Winners For Toyota
Toyota Gazoo Racing also stretched their own podium streak for the season, they are still the only team that has seen both crews on the podium for every race in any class.
The win for the #7 though saw the first WEC Spa win for all three drivers and ended a three-race winning streak for Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima at this race.
Post Race Penalty For High Class Racing
As noted during the WEC TV race commentary the #33 High Class Racing ORECA 07 suffered huge bad luck as a result of the Signatech accident.
The Danish-flagged team was set to pit to put Mark Patterson aboard to complete his required double stint to the end of the race.
With Kenta Yamashita and Anders Fjordbach the car had been running very well, at times in podium positions and looking set for a strong finish.
The Safety Car though meant that the pits were closed at the critical time, the team eventually decided in any case to pit whilst the pit entry was closed to put Patterson aboard, albeit by now later than required to fulfil his driving time.
That led to a double penalty from the Stewards, for the pit stop (during which the car as refuelled, and for the driving time infringement, Patterson was 14 minutes and four seconds short).
That was translated to a penalty of 6 laps plus a minute and 14 seconds dropping the #33 from fifth at the flag to seventh in the class, dropping behind the delayed #49 Cetilar Dallara and #37 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca.