If you're anything like me, you may have had a hard time keeping up with all the acronyms being thrown around this weekend during the 12 Hours of Sebring (and the build up to it). For instance, what's the WEC and why is it discussed in conjunction with the American Le Mans Series (ALMS)? Is it the same series? The cars are all racing together, right?
World Endurance Championship Explained
The World Endurance Championship is a new series making its debut this year. The inaugural race was this weekend at Sebring (the reason we heard so much about it). Similar in format to the Le Mans Cup, the WEC season concludes in October at the 6 Hours of Shanghai after an 8 race season. A total of six titles, based on point tally, will be awarded. Two of the awards are the much coveted Manufacturers' World Endurance Champion and Driver's World Champion. The other four awards are a "World Cup" for the GTE Pro Class (see below), a Trophy for the leaders in LMP2 and GTE AM and a final Trophy for the best privateer team (one that is not supported by the factory). Both sports prototypes and GT vehicles race in this series. They are divided into four classes that all start together but are classified separately and only score points for their respective class and series:
- LMGTE Pro class: This class is reserved for slightly modified standard sports cars with 440 to 500 hp and a minimum weight of 1,245 kilograms (e.g. Porsche 911 GT3 RSR).
- LMGTE Am class: Like the LMGTE Pro, but the regulations stipulate that there must be no more than one professional driver per vehicle.
- LMP1 class: Sports prototypes with up to 550 hp and a minimum weight of 900 kilograms.
- LMP2 class: Sports prototypes with around 440 hp and a 900 kilogram minimum weight.
So, in this weekend's race there were more than 60 cars on the field but some were racing for WEC points and others were racing for ALMS points. Audi was the overall winner of the 12 Hour race, but their points go toward the WEC vs. the ALMS series. Hopefully, this explanation helps some. If we just confused you more, sorry, we're still sorting it out too. 🙂 Checkout this site for more info and standing.