Category Archives: Motorsport News

Audi clinch FIA WEC Drivers’ Championship

Three weeks on from the deluge that curtailed the race in Japan, the FIA World Endurance Championship moved on to China for the 6 Hours of Shanghai last weekend for what turned out to be an exciting race. Nearly 30,000 Chinese race fans added to the atmosphere during the race that proved to be significant in the 2013 championship.

2013-Shanghai -start -straigh

The eventual winning car was the No. 1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro with Andre Lotterer, Benoit Treluyer & Marcel Fassler at the wheel, but it had looked like the No. 7 Toyota was going to take the race, but they eventually finished 15 seconds back in second place. Significantly third place was taken by the No. 2 Audi of Allan McNish, Tom Kristensen and Loic Duval giving them an unassailable lead in the FIA World Endurance Drivers Championship.

2013-Shanghai -Champions

The No. 7 Toyota TS030 Hybrid started the race from pole and set the early pace, but eventually allowed the No. 8 sister car with a flying Anthony Davidson behind the wheel to lead from the front. The 2 Toyotas then continued to dominate the rival Audis for the fast half of the race. In fact it was on 90 minutes from the end of the race when the momentum changed.

2013-Shanghai -start

First the No. 8 Toyota was forced to retire after suffering from a suspension failure whilst at the front. The No. 7 Toyota was then leading going in to the final hour. Critically though, the Toyota had to stop for fuel. After a “splash and dash” the Toyota did manage to emerge from the pit lane ahead the No. 1 Audi, but they were now on older tyres. The No. 1 Audi was finally able to make a pass as Alex Wurz in the Toyota struggled for grip and couldn’t defend his lead. It was a pass that ultimately gave the No. 1 Audi victory. Behind the 3 factory cars the No. 12 Rebellion Racing Lola Toyota once again proved reliable and came home in fourth overall.

G-Drive Racing (Oreca 03 Nissan) took their win tally to three in the LMP2 class this year. They finished ahead of the No. 24 Oak Racing Morgan Nissan after a close battle. The No. 35 Oak Racing car finished third retaining the lead for drivers Baguette, Plowman & Gonzalez in the Drivers and Teams Championship points table (ahead of their sister car). Elsewhere in the class the No. 49 Pecom Racing team suffered from electrical problems, which meant a long stay in the pits and eventual retirement. The No.31 Lotus also retired from the LMP2 field following damage sustained in a collision out on track.

2013-Shanghai -Oak -Racing

In the GTE-Pro class Aston Martin Racing claimed an impressive 1-2 with Darren Turner and Stefan Mucke bringing home the No. 97 car from pole position. The win also gives them the lead in the GT drivers championship. The second placed No. 99 Aston Martin Vantage was only 0.6 seconds behind its sister car as they crossed the line, helping Aston Martin Racing to top spot in the GT manufacturers championship. The No. 91 Porsche finished third after they inherited the position from the No. 71 AF Corse Ferrari which suffered brake issues late in the race.

2013-Shanghai -8-Star

As usual there was plenty of action in the GTE-Am category in Shanghai. All looked good for the No.95 Aston Martin in the first half of the race, before electrical issues ended their race. The baton was picked up by the No. 81 8 StarMotorsports Ferrari with 2 hours to go and continued on to win a whole lap ahead of the rest of the field. The No. 76 IMSA Matmut Porsche took the second step on the podium edging out the other Aston Martin (No. 96). The result means that the Aston Martin crew of Cambpell-Walter, Hall and Adam retain their lead in the GTE Am Drivers and teams championship table.

2013-Shanghai -IMSA-porsche

A serious fuel rig fire in the pit lane looked to be disastrous for the No. 50 Larbre Competition team as their Corvette and pit crew were engulfed in flames. Quick action by the team & their neighbours meant that the fire was quickly extinguished and although a medical team was called no further action was deemed necessary. This was a big thumbs up for the safety requirements maintained in the FIA WEC.

So there is still much to play for in the FIA World Endurance Championship as the 2014 season moves on the final round in Bahrain at the end of the month.

Words: Richard Webb

FIA WEC 6 Hours of Sao Paulo; Audi remain unbeaten in Brazil

Bright sunshine and warm track temperatures greeted the grid at Interlagos for the 6 Hours of Sao Paulo; the 4th round of the FIA World Endurance Championship.

It was an Audi 1-2 at the front of the grid but a slow start by the No. 1 Audi allowed the quick Allan McNish to take advantage and lead after the first corner in the No. 2 Audi. The single Toyota followed in third ahead of the single Rebellion Racing car completing LMP1.

The G-Drive Oreca Nissan lead away the LMP2 field, but there were position changes in the GTE ranks as a Manthey Porsche briefly took the lead before sustaining damage. Aston Martin then took over before one of the AF Corse Ferraris took up the challenge to lead the GTE Pro class by the 7th lap. Initially the Ferraris kept ahead of the Aston Martins and then the Porsches. The No. 95 Aston Martin had a great start to lead the GTE Am field.

Just after half an hour in to the race a collision between the No. 32 Lotus and the third placed Toyota sent both off in a heavy collision with the tyre wall. Despite the best efforts of Sarrazin, including some impromptu removal of bodywork, this was an early race end for Toyota. The safety car bunched up the remaining cars for the most of the next hour as both cars were removed and repairs made to the damaged tyre walls and barriers.

There were numerous pit stops behind the safety car before it came in about 90 minutes in to the race. The Audi No. 1 benefitted from the pit stops and took the lead from its sister car. The safety car also benefitted the leaders in LMP2 with G-Drive and Pecom Racing now almost a lap ahead of the others.

The GTE Pro battle was now closer than ever and the GTE AM class saw the No. 95 Aston Martin ahead of the orange 8 Star Ferrari and the No.96 Aston Martin. A further safety car was called upon for a dramatic incident involving the No. 71 AF Corse Ferrari. A fuel line break caused a major fire to engulf the Ferrari and saw Tony Vilander bale out of the car and hurry over the barriers fearing an explosion. Despite the best efforts of the marshalls and the fire staff at the circuit the burnt out remains of the car was a sorry sight. The safety car again brought the GTE Pro field together with the surviving AF Corese Ferrari ahead of Aston Martin ahead of Porsche.

There was disappointment for the many Bruno Senna fans at the circuit as the No. 99 Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage was forced to retire with suspension damage.

By now the 2 Audis were 45 seconds ahead of the Rebellion Racing Toyota in LMP1. In LMP2, G-Drive extended their lead in LMP2 to 24 seconds to Pecom Racing. In turn Pecom were more than 30 seconds ahead of its nearest rival. The ADR-Delta car succumbed to engine problems meaning that one third of the field had retired before the halfway point of the race.

It wasn’t long after Loic Duval had taken over from Tom Kristensen at the wheel of the No 2 Audi when it struck problems. Leaving the pit lane the Audi lost a wheel & it bounced in to the tyre wall. Remarkably as the Audi came to rest, so did the errant wheel on the back of the car. Duval then showed remarkable skill in getting the car back to the pit lane on 3 wheels with the 4th balanced on the bodywork. However, although the No.2 Audi just retained 2nd place it was now a lap down on the No 1 car.

The GTE Pro battle continued to be close with 2 seconds separating the AF Corse Ferrari with Giancarlo Fisichella behind the wheel, from the Stefan Mucke’s Aston Martin.

As the race entered its penultimate hour & with G-Drive dominating the LMP2 race, the Oak Racing cars began to make their move, taking 2nd and third from Pecom Racing. In GTE Am the Danish Young Drivers of Aston Martin were doing so well they found themselves amongst the GTE Pro field but also in traffic.

The Audi No. 2 car was penalised by the stewards twice. Once for the unsafe release of the car with the wheel not secure, and second for speeding in the pit lane. Not the usual Audi systematic performance, however they were fortunate that the earlier retirement of the Toyota meant that they could soon regain second place from the faultless Rebellion Racing.

Disaster befell the Young Driver Aston Martin team when all was looking so good. They too lost a wheel out on the track, however, unlike the Audi, they could not recover the situation. This left the British team of Stuart Hall and Jamie Campbell-Walter to inherit the GTE Am lead in the remaining Aston Martin.

In to the last hour, the sun began to set, sending elongated shadows across the circuit. The race at the front was done but the battle in GTE Pro continued. For nearly 90 minutes Gianmaria Bruni’s mirrors were filled with Darren Turner as the AF Corse Ferrari held off the Aston Martin Vantage. The AF Corse team thought they had won it, only to realise that the No 1. Audi had crossed the line before the end of 6 hours, so another lap was required.

As the chequered flag eventually fell (as had the sun) Marcel Fassler brought the No. 1 Audi home with Allan McNish in the sister car keeping formation for a 1-2 win for Audi. Audi remain unbeaten in the FIA WEC but the points gap between the two cars is now reduced. Rebellion Racing continued their consistent year with a podium place.

The G-Drive Oreca-Nissan dominated the LMP2 class and deserved the win. A very light on fuel No. 35 Oak Racing Morgan Nissan held on for second ahead of Pecom Racing in third.

The GTE Pro battle remained close but Turner could just not get by Bruni, and he held on for an AF Corse Ferrari win ahead of the Aston Martin with Manthey Porsche taking the third place

The No. 96 Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage won in GTE Am ahead of the Ferrari of 8Star Motorsport. The Proton Porsche managed to clinch third place by just 3 hundredths of a second from the unlucky IMSA Porsche team.

The FIA World Endurance Championship now moves on to Austin, Texas for the 6 Hours of the Circuit of the Americas, which promises another fascinating race on another spectacular circuit.  

Written by Richard Webb

Audi celebrate 100th win in Austin

Audi achieved a historic milestone at the Texan debut of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) at Austin. Audi celebrated their 100th overall victory of an LMP sports car of the brand. The event has a parallel, as Audi had clinched its first-ever victory in America as well, that tine at Sebring, on March 18th, 2000. Back then and today, it was Audi Sport Team Joest that fielded the victorious race car and like today, Le Mans legend Tom Kristensen was part of the successful Audi driver squad.


With an air temperature of 28 degrees centigrade and track temperature of 45 in Texas, Audi managed top performance, as the brand remains unbeaten in the current WEC season. Loïc Duval, Tom Kristensen & Allan McNish celebrated their third WEC victory this year on the demanding ‘Circuit of the Americas.’ The trio had previously won the season opener at Silverstone and the Le Mans 24 Hours. The number ‘2’ Audi R18 e-tron quattro crossed the finish line with a 23 second advantage in front of the nearest challenger of Toyota. For the brand with the four rings, this marked an amazing fifth victory in an equal number of WEC rounds this year and the sixth LMP win in succession, if the triumph at the Sebring 12 Hours in March is included in the tally.


In addition to driving skills, tactical intelligence was crucial, as contrary to common practice at other events, not every tyre change was accompanied by a driver change. As a result, the Audi drivers remaining in the cockpit immediately and consistently converted the reserves of the tyres from partner Michelin into excellent lap times, as they were able to continue their race rhythm unchanged.


The successful run of car number ‘2’ was contrasted by the misfortunes of the number ‘1’ car, driven by Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer & Benoît Tréluyer. In the early phase of the six-hour race, Fässler became entangled in several tough positional battles with Toyota. This subsequently resulted in a whole series of setbacks. The Audi was forced to change a damaged rear diffuser. The hard impact following a collision additionally caused an electrical fuse to come loose. As a result, the electrical gearshift of the transmission could not be operated at times and the problem had to be corrected during an additional stop. To top things off, a piece of loose artificial turf got stuck on the car’s underbody during an evasive off-track manoeuvre in the commotion. The mechanics removed it during a pit stop, as the piece of turf obstructed the flow of cooling air. Benoît Tréluyer subsequently started a recovery & drove the fastest race lap but, in the process, ran over the track boundaries once. Thus, to make matters worse, car number ‘1’ received a drive-through penalty. In the end, last year’s World Champions had to settle for third place at Austin.


In the standings, the Austin winners increased their lead. Duval, Kristensen & McNish had arrived in Texas with a 22-point advantage and are now travelling to the next round in Japan with a 33-point advantage. On October 20th, the sixth of eight rounds in the FIA World Championship (WEC) will take place at Fuji.


The weather wins in Japan

Intense and prolonged rain curtailed the sixth round of the FIA World Endurance Championship at Fuji, Japan. Steady rain prompted race control to start the 6 hours race behind the safety car but after 8 laps under worsening conditions the stewards called a temporary halt & all cars returned to the pit lane.


The cars did return to the track nearly half way in to the allotted time of the race; however this resumption only lasted 22 minutes before the cars were recalled again.

Finally a further resumption was attempted behind the safety car 4½ hours in to the race time available, however, after just one lap; the race was red flagged as the stewards declared the conditions still unsafe for racing.


The disappointed, loyal crowd were rewarded for their patience is such wet conditions by an impromptu driver autograph session in the pit lane.

As a result of the shorter race distance, drivers were awarded half points (even if they never actually made it in to the cockpit of their car!). This means that Audi have won the manufacturers world championship with 2 rounds still to come in Shanghai (10th November) and Bahrain (30th November).


Official Result:

1. No. 7 Toyota TS030 Hybrid (Wurz, Lapierre, Makajima)
2. No. 2 Audi R18 e-tron quattro (Kristensen, Duval, McNish)
3. No. 12 Rebellion Racing Lola B12/60 Toyota (Belicchi, Beche)

1. No. 35 Oak Racing Morgan Nissan (Baguette, Gonzalez, Plowman)
2. No. 26 G-Drive Racing Oreca Nissan (Rusinov, Martin, Conway)
3. No. 27 Greaves Motorsport Zytek Nissan (Hiranaka, Ueda, Wirdheim)

1. No. 97 Aston Martin Racing Vantage V8 (Turner, Mucke, Makowiecki)
2. No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari F458 (Bruni, Fisichella)
3. No. 91 Porsche AG Team Manthey (Bergmeister, Pilet)

1. No. 95 Aston Martin Racing Vantage V8 (Nygaard, Poulsen, Senna)
2. No. 96 Aston Martin Racing Vantage V8 (Hall, Campbell-Walter, Adam)
3. No. 88 Proton Competition Porsche 911 GT3 RSR (Reid, Roda, Ruberti)

The A – Z of What’s new in Sportscar Racing 2013 (T – Z)

The Le Mans 24 Hours is now just 3 weeks away. Are you getting excited? We continue our countdown to the big day with the last in our alphabet preview “What’s new in Sportscar Racing 2013” with Graham Goodwin

T is for Toyota 
A big name team, with big facilities available and big expectations of success as they shed their “development year” tag from 2012 and embark on a full season with a two car attack. Their new car is less compromised, more easily serviceable (an essential part of modern endurance racing) and should be both faster and more reliable. 

There has been controversy however over the equivalence between petrol and diesel fuelled racers once again. After the Spa 6 Hours where the new TS030 made its debut, Toyota made it clear that the current position is that the Audi diesel had much, much more power than they could squeeze out of their petrol fuelled machine.  It could be that the outcome of that debate, as much as the cars inherent speed and reliability, defines the season to come.

T is for Talent
Whether it is young talent, with Alex Brundle, Oliver Turvey and Brendon Hartley in the vanguard, or those moving from other disciplines with ex F1 and Indycar drivers arriving in numbers in endurance racing, there have been plenty of new boys to follow over the past couple of seasons, and that’s a trend that looks set to continue.

And it isn’t just in LMP1 either, both LMP2 and GTE are now seen by many who would previously have dismissed sportscars as a viable, accessible and credible career path – So who is next?

U is for United Sportscar Racing Championship
The US RC is one that’s new for 2014 rather than 2013 but it presents plenty of questions for both the American Le Mans Series and the Grand-Am grids as the powers that be decide which races, which tracks and which cars will race in North America next season. 

Will we see Daytona Prototypes at Le Mans in 2014 or 2015? Time will tell, but the fact that the USRC prime mover Jim France is going to start the 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours seems to indicate that talks are well underway.

V is for Viper 
The snake is back! Two evolutions ago the Chrysler Viper utterly dominated GT racing, the big V10 engined coupe won race after race, Championship after Championship on both sides of the Atlantic. Now the brand is SRT but the basic concept is unchanged, big engine, big power, an American muscle car with some very European dynamics added to the mix.

After a learning year in 2012 the cars have found their footing and will contest not only the ALMS but also the Le Mans 24 Hours – the prospects for some high decibel wheel to wheel drag races down the Hunaudieres with their deadly rivals at Corvette are high! If you are camping at the circuit you are sure to know when the Vipers are on track.

W is for World Champions
Drivers love to win races but Championships are special too and the prospect of being able to add ‘World ‘Champion’ to a racing CV has more than a minor motivational factor for many. 

Certainly the battle at the sharp end in both LMP1 and GTE Pro thus far in the World Endurance Championship seems to indicate that we can expect the FIA WEC to be a dogfight from beginning to end! Bring it on!

X is for X Factor 
That indefinable something that makes the very best just that little bit better. Approachable in person, near untouchable on track.  

The fans know who these drivers are, and happily there are more and more of them, chatting easily in the paddock or at autograph sessions but then getting on track and doing things with a racing car that we mere mortals can barely comprehend!

Y is for Youngsters
Whether it is the younger drivers coming up through the GT ranks or prototype classes, or the single seater hopefuls finding that there is more to global Motorsport than F1, there has been a real influx of racing youth to sportscars of late. 

The good news is that they are all looking to impress, and all may learn the hard way that this means bringing a car home in good shape both for your team-mates and for the race result. There will be thrills, spills, mistakes and glory – Stand back from the fences!

Z is for Z4 GTE 
Sadly we won’t see this newest addition to the ranks of GTE racers in Europe this season. Not even at Le Mans which is a shame. Those lucky enough to attend the FIA WEC race at the Circuit of the Americas in August though will get the opportunity to see the GT3 derived cars in action in Saturday’s American Le Mans Series race. 

Will we be writing in 12 months time here that BMW are back on the world stage? Well, watch this space.

There is certainly a lot to look forward to in sportscar racing this year and next. The best place to see it all will be trackside with Travel Destinations.

Graham Goodwin

The A – Z of What’s New in Sportscar Racing 2013 (P – S)

With just 30 days left now until the Le Mans 24 Hours 2013 we continue our alphabet preview with Graham Goodwin Today we are looking at letters P through to R.

P is for Porsche

With their first factory team since 1998 Porsche are back with a vengeance and their new 991 based 911 RSR looks the biggest step forward for many a year.

The factory team will cp test the whole FIA WEC, including the Le Mans 24 Hours before 2014 sees customer versions of this car and the launch of a brand new LMP1 programme to take on the might of Audi and Toyota

P is for Paul Ricard

Not really new but more than ever becoming an integral part of the racing scene once again after years of being a strictly ‘behind closed doors’ spectator venue.

Whilst spectator facilities are few and far between this is a place worth visiting with unmatched track quality, the immensely quick Mistral straight and fabled Signes corner and a very good cup of expresso available in the paddock!

Q is for Quattro

The hybrid regulations last year gave the LMP1 factory tems the option of delivering their very considerable hybrid punch, energy collected under braking and then released, either via the rear or front wheels.  

Toyota evaluated both options and went for rear wheel delivery but Audi went the 4wd route with many observers feeling that they had taken a marketing-led decision to more closely align their racing hardware to their premium road car product – The iconic Quattro moniker then could justifiably be applied to the 2012 and 2013 R18s.

R is for RAM Racing

A significant new addition to the European Le Mans Series grid, Silverstone based RAM Racing have brought a pair of brand new Ferrari 458 GTE cars to the Series and are looking to bring home the title.

Their lead car sees Johnny Mowlem and Matt Griffin form an Anglo-Irish alliance that should see their car right at the sharp end of the action.

R is for Rebellion Racing

The reigning WEC LMP1 Privateer Champions are back with a more than mildly upgraded version of their already impressive Lola Toyota package.

The crew for their full season WEC car is a hugely convincing one with ex F1 ace Nick Heidfeld teamed with the super quick Neel Jani and F1 test driver Nicolas Prost.

Their aim will be to retain their title, and to take advantage of any fumbles from the factory boys. That will be a tall order but don’t bet against them finding their way mighty close to an overall podium at some point this year.

It’s just a month now to the big one. If you still need tickets for the Le Mans 24 Hours 2013 then call us now on 0844 873 0203. We have a limited availability in tickets for on-circuit camping and rooms off-circuit.

The A – Z of What’s New in Sportscar Racing 2013 (M – O)

Here we are nearly at the end of May and the Le Mans 24 Hours is just a month or so away, so all our thoughts are turning to La Sarthe and that weekend in June. To keep you going until then, we have the next chapter of our alphabet series on what is new in sportscar racing for 2013. This time Graham Goodwin from looks at letter M to O.

M is for Makowiecki

Known colloquially as ‘Mako’, the young Frenchman is rated by many as one of the fastest GT drivers on the planet after impressing mightily in GT1 GTE (aka GT2 and GT3 cars in recent seasons.

2013 sees him join Aston Martin Racing and contesting the full FIA World Endurance Championship in one of the teams squadron of plucky V8 Vantages, taking on the factory Porsches and factory backed Ferraris – He’s one to watch in that class.

M is for Manthey

Olaf Manthey is a racing legend, multiple winner with his immaculately prepped Porsches of the Nurburgring 24 Hours, 2013 sees him in charge of the first Porsche factory entered team in international racing since 1998.

He’s a quiet, considered sort, but that exterior masks a steely determination, an eye for detail that is second to none and a track record that should have the opposition putting the Porsche effort in their list marked ‘threat’.

M is for Morgan

Once badged as a Pescarolo the Oak Racing outfit bought the manufacturing rights to Henri’s baby some years ago and have been refining it ever since.

The cars were badged as Morgans in 2012 as part of the commemoration of the famous English make’s 50th anniversary of a Le Mans class win. The cars keep the famous badge in 2013 and the season will see no fewer than five contesting the Le Mans 24 Hours with single entries from Morand Racing and Hong Kong based KCMG plus a trio of factory entered cars.

N is for New Teams

There are a healthy number of new teams around in 2013.  The ELMS is particularly well populated with LMP2 cars from Morand Racing and DKR Engineering and a pair of brand new Ferraris from new UK outfit RAM Racing.

The WEC meanwhile sees 8Star Motorsport enter a bright orange Ferrari for the Venuzuelan driver Enzo Potolicchio.

N is for Nissan

No DeltaWing in 2013 for the men in black but there are still going to be some eye catching set pieces from the cleverest marketers in the paddock. They are entering a pair of the GT Academy graduates, now dubbed NISMO Athletes, alongside top pro Michael Krumm at Le Mans with Lucas Ordonez joined by the mercurial Jann Mardenborough.

O is for Osterreichring

Or the Red Bull Ring as it’s now known, reopened in 2011 after being bought by Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz after several years out of business.

It’s rated by many as one of the nicest tracks in Europe, certainly the surrounding Austrian countryside is wonderful and a race weekend here can easily be extended with a driving break that could take in see of the best driving roads in Europe

DTM races here and in 2013 so too will the ELMS.

O is for Openness

Ask for a close look at an F1 car at a Grand Prix or even a chat with a driver or mechanic and you WILL end up disappointed. Do the same at a major sportscar event and you’re highly likely to get a very pleasantly different response.

Openness is at the core of the culture of endurance racing, a place where many a hardened motorsport cynic has found their smile again!

Le Mans is not far away now. We are processing all your tickets for your travel packs in the office right now. So they will be with you soon. Graham will also be returning soon to continue this alphabet preview with letters P through to R.

Audi dominant in the Belgian sunshine

The big shock from the 2nd round of the FIA World Endurance Championship at Spa-Francorchamps this weekend was the weather. After wet practice and damp qualifying the 6 hours race took place on Saturday under nearly cloudless skies.

The race result was, as many had predicted, a clean sweep for Audi, but the in the early stages of the race the 2013 specification Toyota showed that it had the pace to get amongst the Audis. It was unfortunate that the Toyota were forced to withdraw the car later in the race when it experienced problems with its brakes and hybrid system.

The No.1 Audi experienced problems at the start and in fact dropped back further when it suffered a puncture and so was forced to pit out of sync with the other 2 vehicles. However, the young driver squad of Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer & Benoît Treluyer, the current World Champions, fought back to claim victory, and avenge the defeat they suffered at Silverstone.

Toyota’s other car, still running on 2012 specification, could not challenge the pace of the Audis and finished fourth, whilst the Rebbellion Racing team once again showed that they have a reliable and fast car by finishing fifth and sixth, and so were the first privateers home.

The victory in the LMP2 class went to Pecom Racing, improving on their third place finish at Silverstone. The team had a relatively untroubled race and showed consistent pace to keep any challengers at bay.  Oak Racing battled with British Jota racing throughout the race, with the Morgan Nissan finishing ahead of the Zytek Nissan on this occasion.

In the LMGTE Pro class, the No. 51 Ferrari 458 Italia of AF Corse recovered from a series of penalties for track infringements, to win by just 9 seconds from the No. 98 Aston Martin Racing Vantage V8. The other AF Corse car took the third step on the podium having been leading the race for much of the six hours.

The LMGTE Am class was not so close at the front of the field, where the orange Ferrari of 8 Star Motorsports was unchallenged, once it took the lead about three laps in to the race. The Ferrari even managed to survive a minor collision with a prototype, to take the chequered flag. Aston Martin Racing again had to settle for second in class after winning the battle with the Corvette from Larbre Competition who finished third.

All eyes now turn to the big one; The Le Mans 24 Hours. Toyota has some catching up to do if they are to challenge Audi for the trophy that they all really want.

Words: Richard Webb
Photography: Dailysportscar

The A – Z of What’s New in Sportscar Racing 2013 (J – L)

With the return of the FIA World Endurance Championship at Spa this weekend, in what is the traditional warm-up act before we all move on to Le Mans, we continue our look at the sports car racing alphabet with Graham Goodwin from 

J is for Jota

The Kent based Jota team have a new look lineup for 2013 with Simon Dolan joined by rapid young Brit Oliver Turvey. Former FIA GT1 World Champion, Porsche and Audi factory driver Lucas Luhr joins the team for Le Mans too.

Expect them to be in real contention in the ELMS and at Le Mans, particularly after a first round ELMS victory at Silverstone

J is for Japan

The past few years have seen a major resurgence of interest in international sportscar racing from Japan – Whether it is the major factories ( Nissan, Toyota and Honda), the drivers, Takuma Sato, Kazuki Nakajima, Satoshi Motoyama and now Kamui Kobayashi to name but a few, but if you want to really treat yourself, take a look at the WEC race at Fuji Speedway, a great track, close to Tokyo with great atmosphere and where you can be guaranteed a large crowd, a festival atmosphere and, all told, an entirely different racing experience.

K is for Kobayashi

Kamui Kobayashi didn’t take long to become a firm favourite with Formula One fans, a highly skilled exponent of the racing art who shrugged away talk of difficulties in overtaking with some truly fantastic displays of heads-up aggressive racing.

When the F1 musical chairs for 2013 stopped Kobayashi was left standing, bad news for his single seater career, good news for endurance racing as he arrives, no doubt feeling he has a point or two to prove, at AF Corse for the FIA WEC. He’ll want to win, and he’ll REALLY want the GTE World title – Stand by for fireworks.

L is For LMP1

Its a season of nips, tucks and tweaks rather than brand new machinery though you can be sure that the seemingly similar to last year’s Audis and Toyotas are anything but.

Spa will see the first appearance of the 2013 Toyota and of the new long tail Audi.

The privateer LMP1s from Rebellion and Strakka meanwhile have been sprouting, respectively, a new rear and a new front end.  Racers never stand still!

L is for LMP2

There are new teams, new drivers, but the cost capped formula for the junior LMP class means that most of the cars are very similar indeed to those we saw in 2013, there is though one major newcomer on that front

L is for Lotus

The major new addition to the LMP2 roster is the brand new Lotus T128, brought to the WEC by the Kodewa based Lotus LMP2 team.

The new coupe replaces the team’s pair of Lola coupes from 2012 but retains the BMW-based Judd engines. Another ‘L’ ex F1 man Vitantonio Liuzzi is amongst a strong driver line-up.

If we don’t see you at the FIA WEC Six Hours of Spa this weekend, then be sure to revist us here as we will bring you more of our sportscar alphabet next week.

The A – Z of What’s new in Sportscar Racing 2013 (G – I)

On the eve of the opening round of the FIA World Endurance Championship at Silverstone this weekend, Graham Goodwin, editor of,  reaches letters G through to I, on our Alphabet of what’s new in Sportscar racing in 2013.

G is for G-Drive

The branding that sat on a Signatech Oreca Nissan last year moves to Delta-ADR for 2013 with the Silverstone based team expanding to a 2 car effort as a result.

The team gains Nissan technical partner backing status too for the WEC and will be looking to translate the form that saw them take the title fight to the final round in 2012 into a Championship win this year.

G is for Green GT

G could just as easily here have been for Garage 56, the ACO initiative that encourages new technology in racing by offering a start slot at Le Mans for a car outside the current regulations.

In 2012 that slot was awarded to the Nissan DeltaWing but in 2013 it has gone to the GreenGT. In mocked up form at least the car looked like a primary school pupils Hot Wheels fantasy, huge, wings and slots everywhere and anything but subtle.

The news though, asides from the challenging looks, is in the propulsion source, because GreenGT is fuelled by hydrogen.  Will it work? Will it be quick – questions like that are the whole point of the initiative, but news since the cars launch has been scarce. The car has yet to make it’s debut on track and the clock is ticking on the run down to Le Mans.

H is for Honda

And astonishingly there’s only one Honda powered car in the FIA WEC this year, despite the domination of the LMP2 class by the Starworks car there are no takers in the junior class.

In LMP1, JRM are giving the Championship a miss this year which leaves the only all-British team in the Championship, Strakka Racing as the only representatives of the marque.

Strakka Racing will field a fully updated ARX 03c with a radically different front end from the 2012 version of the car.

H is for Hungaroring

The European Le Mans Series has an interesting collection of circuits on their calendar including the Hungaroring, famous for being the first circuit behind the Iron Curtain to host a Formula One Grand Prix.  The place is 1980s concrete-tastic but nearby Budapest is a stunning place to enjoy a long weekend.

I is for Imola

The European Le Mans Series is also visiting the Imola circuit, infamous as the place that Ayrton Senna met his maker, but a circuit with a long history and much more positive atmosphere than the statue and shrines at the point of Senna’s accident.

It’s a circuit much changed since that dark weekend when Roland Ratzenburger also perished but it produces great racing and has some truly wonderful spectator viewing areas as well as some great hotels and restaurants nearby.

I is for Irish

Murphy Prototypes made their debut in 2012 but will be running their own team in 2013’s ELMS rather than the Team RLR effort of last year.

They are a team that understand how to have fun, but are deadly serious about winning!
Look out too for Mercedes F1 tester Brendan Hartley, one of the quickest men in LMP2.

Our look at 2013’s sportscar news will continue next week.

If you are at Silverstone this weekend, be sure to come and visit the Travel Destinations stand in the FIA WEC Fanzone. We are running an exclusive competition as well as handing out some unique giveaways. Be sure to come by and say hello.

If you can’t make it to Silverstone this weekend, then you can keep up with what we are doing on twitter with@lemansrace and @TravelDest.