The time for talking is over! The sights and sounds of 29 of the world’s best endurance racers will soon be the focus of attention at the FIA World Endurance Championship’s official pre-season test, The Prologue.
Taking place at Circuit Paul Ricard at Le Castellet in the south of France on Friday and Saturday 25/26th March, this will be the first opportunity for competitors, media and fans throughout the world to see 2016’s WEC teams on track all together.
Of the 32 full season entries for the 2016 WEC, 29 will be present at Circuit Paul Ricard for the five sessions of testing planned over two days, including a night session on Friday, 25th. (FULL ENTRY LIST HERE)
On Saturday 26th there is not only free entry for the whole day for fans, including access to the Paddock, but also the chance to see the cars up close and meet the drivers at an autograph session.
Fitting alongside their own comprehensive testing programmes, Audi, Porsche and Toyota will all be in attendance at The Prologue – Audi and Toyota with just one car each which is the minimum requirement within the regulations. All three manufacturers, including World Champions Porsche, will be launching their new-for-2016 LMP1 hybrid challengers in the days leading up to The Prologue.
Rebellion Racing and ByKolles Racing Team will also be testing their LMP1 Privateer entries, and the Swiss and Austrian teams have been working solidly towards improved performance over the winter period.
A full complement of 10 LMP2 entries will grace the fast Paul Ricard track, with five different chassis being tested against each other: the ORECA 05 (G-Drive Racing and Manor), BR01 (SMP Racing), 2015 championship-winning Ligier JS P2 (Extreme Speed Motorsports and RGR Sport by Morand), Alpine A460 – which will be revealed for the first time just ahead of The Prologue (Signatech Alpine and Baxi DC Racing Alpine) – and Gibson 015S (Strakka Racing). All LMP2 cars will be on Dunlop rubber and powered by Nissan engines.
In LMGTE Pro, Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK will be making its public WEC debut with the new Ford GT. On track with them will be Aston Martin Racing’s revised Vantage V8, AF Corse’s all-new Ferrari 488 GTE, and Dempsey-Proton Racing who will be defending Porsche’s GT championship titles in 2016.
Joining the factory-led teams will be another six GTE entries from the always-competitive LMGTE Am class which includes the Chevrolet Corvette of Larbre Competition, Porsche 911 RSRs from KCMG, Gulf Racing and Abu-Dhabi Proton Racing, and Ferrari and Aston Martin entries from AF Corse and Aston Martin Racing respectively.
Gérard Neveu, CEO of the World Endurance Championship, said: “The Prologue has now become an established part of the WEC calendar and is greatly anticipated by both media and fans alike. Our manufacturer partners and teams take this opportunity to reveal their 2016 cars to a growing number of international media each year, and of course it is the first chance for all the competitors to test themselves against their rivals. For fans in France and beyond it is a fantastic event, with an open paddock, autograph session and pit walk on Saturday. The friendly and open spirit of the WEC begins here at The Prologue and we welcome everyone.”
The Prologue – FREE ENTRY FOR THE PUBLIC ON SATURDAY 26 MARCH
The Prologue will take place at the Circuit Paul Ricard on 25/26 March 2016, with the second day (Saturday 26th) being open and free entry to members of the public. Fans who attend will have the opportunity to see the cars on track during two open test sessions, plus they will be invited to take part in the lunchtime pit walk and autograph session – all as part of the free event.
Friday 25 March
09:00 – 13:00 Session 1
14:00 - 18:00 Session 2
19:00 – 21:00 Session 3 (night testing)
Saturday 26 March
09:00 – 13:00 Session 4
13:15 – 13:45 Driver Autograph Session and Pitwalk
14:00 – 17:00 Session 5
This article is taken form the FIA WEC press release, follow @FromTheTribune for more news and stories from the FIA WEC