IF…. and that’s a big ‘IF’ Porsche decide to leave the World Endurance Championship at the end of 2017, does this really mean the end of the Championship as some people are predicting?
We at Prescott Motorsport think not! And if you are reading this post any announcement having been made from Stuttgart either to continue with their LMP1 programme or not, we still think not!
We always knew in the back of our minds that this period of time prior to new regulations coming into force in 2018 was going to be a little murky as far as LMP1 was concerned. With teams not wanting to spend on what may become out of date cars, and with the departure of Audi in 2016 this period, to me at least, would be a trying time for the remaining two factory teams.
The other team not to be forgotten in this is ByKolles. Whilst they have had their issues previously with the AER engine, which I am reliably informed they ‘had’ to use until this year, the car in essence is good. As we previously reported, this year for ByKolles was always going to be a test year whilst they got to know the Nismo engine in preparation for supplying customer cars in 2018.
Let us set aside the LMP1 Class for now and look at the Championship as a whole. The World Endurance Championship is a Championship for Le Mans prototypes and GT cars, not just LMP1. I think you would agree that the LMP2 class this year has been a joy to watch and the closeness of racing from the teams has been wonderful. Couple this with near faultless reliability from the Gibson power plant it truly has been exciting racing thus far.
As a great man said (probably not in these words) ‘If you want excitement watch the GT field’! This has been true throughout the 2017 season - you just had to watch the GTE AM battle that raged on track at the Nurburgring with Ferrari and Porsche nose to tail for almost two hours! In both AM and PRO I feel that the BOP has worked very well and provides fans with the closest of racing, again with great reliability.
So LMP1, what will it look like in 2018-22? I think it will be very different than what we have come to know thus far in the history of WEC. But with the introduction of new manufactures, such as Ginetta and Perrinn, and talk of teams such as Rebellion and Manor linked with LMP1, I think this will be the next exciting chapter in the FIA World Endurance Championship - And who knows there may be a welcome return of fan favourites Strakka to prototype racing…. Watch this space!