FIA WEC enters a new season with DHL

Key Takeaways

  • 2017 will see nine WEC races take place across four continents
  • DHL will ensure that all cars are delivered safely and reliably
  • Porsche and Toyota battle for the championship

The 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship will open shortly with the 6 Hours of Silverstone. As Official Logistics Partner of WEC, DHL will ensure that all cars are delivered safely and reliably to the nine season circuits across four continents. Before the vehicles roar into action at the weekend, we take a look at the most important facts and figures for the new season.

Stability in the racing calendar

Just like last year, 2017 will see nine races take place across four continents. The WEC entourage will therefore be on the move for seven months around the globe. The championship kicks off on Easter Sunday, April 16, with the 6 Hours of Silverstone and finishes up in the deserts of Bahrain on Saturday, November 18.

The highlight of the WEC season, which traditionally takes place in mid-June, is the 24 Hours of Le Mans. One month later, the WEC will travel to Germany for the DHL 6 Hours of Nürburgring.

Calendar for the 2017 FIA WEC season:

  • April 16, 2017: 6 Hours of Silverstone (United Kingdom)
  • May 6, 2017: 6 Hours of Silverstone (Belgium)
  • June 17–18, 2017: 24 Hours of Le Mans (France)
  • July 16, 2017: DHL 6 Hours of Nürburgring (Germany)
  • September 3, 2017: 6 Hours of Mexico (Mexico)
  • September 16, 2017: 6 Hours of Circuit of the Americas (USA)
  • October 15, 2017: 6 Hours of Fuji (Japan)
  • November 5, 2017: 6 Hours of Shanghai (China)
  • November 18, 2017: 6 Hours of Bahrain (Bahrain)

Porsche and Toyota battle for the championship

With Audi’s withdrawal from the series, Porsche and Toyota will go head-to-head for the 2017 endurance crown. In the GTE classes, four marques – Aston Martin, Ferrari, Ford and Porsche – will meet at the starting line, with BMW preparing to join the championship next year.

Audi’s championship exit has well and truly shaken up the LMP1 driver class. Of those among the ranks of former Audi drivers, only André Lotterer and Oliver Jarvis will compete in the 2017 championship (in the LMP2 class). Lotterer has taken one of three spots on the Porsche team, as Mark Webber and the reigning champions Marc Lieb and Romain Dumas are will not be participating. They are replaced by Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber, both of whom scored victories in Le Mans in 2015.

LMP1 line-up for the 2017 WEC season:

  • #1 Porsche: Neel Jani/Andre Lotterer/Nick Tandy
  • #2 Porsche: Timo Bernhard/Earl Bamber/Brendon Hartley
  • #4 ByKolles: Oliver Webb/Dominik Kraihamer/James Rossiter
  • #7 Toyota: Mike Conway/Kamui Kobayashi/Jose Maria Lopez
  • #8 Toyota: Sebastien Buemi/Anthony Davidson/Kazuki Nakajima
  • #9 Toyota: Stephane Sarrazin/Yuji Kunimoto/Nicolas Lapierre

Rule changes for the 2017 WEC season

Restrictions for LMP1 manufacturers: In order to keep costs under control for current LMP1 manufacturers, restrictions have been introduced for Porsche and Toyota in 2017. The two teams must now make do with fewer hours in the wind tunnel and fewer tire sets. In addition, only two aero kits are permitted in 2017 (low downforce and high downforce).

Concessions for LMP1 newcomers: LMP1 newcomers will be exempt from these new restrictions. Several rule simplifications were introduced for new entrants in the winter. Among other things, they can spend longer in the wind tunnel than Porsche and Toyota, conduct unlimited private tests, switch hybrid classes once per season, and use an unlimited number of aero kits and engines throughout the season.

LMP1 rule freeze: The current LMP1 regulations have been frozen for two years. The efficiency regulations, which were introduced in 2014, will therefore remain in force until at least the end of 2019. The regulations allow for up to two hybrid systems and up to 8 megajoules of recovered energy instead of the targeted three systems with up to 10 megajoules. This is an important step in order to attract a third new manufacturer.

New LMP2 generation: Everything about the smaller prototypes is new in 2017. A new generation of vehicles has arrived. Oreca, Riley/Multimatic, Dallara and Ligier/Onroak were selected as chassis constructors for the LMP2 class. Alongside the new cars, 2017 will also debut a new standard engine from Gibson, which delivers around 100 hp more than the previous Nissan engine. This means the LMP2 prototypes are faster than ever before, with cars expected to be lapping under 3:30 at Le Mans.

Former Formula Renault 3.5 joins the feeder program: Innovative prototypes are being coupled with an upgrade to the feeder program, as the WEC organizers have secured the Formula V8 3. as the 2017 feeder series. This means talented formula racing drivers will be linked with the endurance series at an early stage in their careers, thus creating new opportunities for advancement. The Formula V8 3.5 Series will follow the WEC to the races at Silverstone, Spa, the Nürburgring, and Mexico, Fuji and Bahrain.

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