The FIA World Endurance Championship has 25 cars entered for the 2019/20 season finale in Bahrain, in the middle of November.
The LMP1 category is sadly reduced to only Toyota Gazoo Racing. They will enter their two regular works entries, in which will be the final outing for the TS050-Hybrid, before their new Hypercar will run from 2021 onwards. Rebellion Racing called it a day after Le Mans, and Team LNT Ginetta hasn’t run in 2020 at all. ByKolles Racing Team only participated at Le Mans.
Toyota Gazoo Racing has already secured the championship – they just have to figure out, if #7 or #8 will be the World Champions.
We have lost High Class Racing from the LMP2 entry. The Danish team has had a disappointing season, where they have shown good speed from Kenta Yamashita and Anders Fjordbach, while Mark Patterson has been lacking pace. They have been unlucky with the strategy, like we saw at Spa Francorchamps, where a Safety Car came out, just when Patterson was about to start his stint, so they ended up being penalized for a drive time infraction. Patterson had a big goal of becoming the oldest starter at Le Mans, but that title was snatched away from him, in the very final weeks leading into the race, by Dominique Bastien. High Class Racing does, however, continue their ELMS programme for the rest of the season, including Monza this weekend.
But we do have the seven regular participants in the field, with their usual line ups. United Autosports #22 already won the title at Le Mans, but JOTA #38, Racing Team Nederland #29 and Cool Racing #42 are the primary teams battling for the other medals, with an outside chance for Jackie Chan DC Racing #37 and Signatech Alpine Elf #36, to grab a medal, if the three teams ahead should stumble.
The GTE Pro category has the 6 full season cars. Aston Martin Racing #95 with Nicki Thiim and Marco Sørensen arrives in Bahrain as championship leaders, ahead of their teammates in #97 with Alex Lynn and Maxime Martin. AF Corse Ferrari #51 with James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi has a theoretical chance, if the two AMR cars have a really bad day. The defending champions Michael Christensen and Kevin Estre in Porsche #92, are without a chance for the title, and can only gain a spot if #51 finishes outside the points and #92 wins.
TF Sport Aston Martin #90 with Salih Yoluc, Jonny Adam and Charlie Eastwood took the GTE AM championship lead with their Le Mans victory. That is the first time this season that AF Corse Ferrari #83 with Nicklas Nielsen, Emmanuel Collard and Francois Perrodo has moved down to second. Those two teams, are the only ones remaining in the title fight. But Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche #77, AMR #98 and Team Project 1 Porsche #57 are all fighting for third. But a lot can happen in the 10-car GTE Am category. We have lost MR Racing. The Japanese team, which was run by AF Corse, chose to pull out from the FIA WEC due to the COVID-19 situation, but handed their entry over to Car Guy at Le Mans.
While 8 out of 10 cars continue with the same drivers as at Le Mans, it’s changed at Red River Sport. Kei Cozzolino and Colin Noble will step into the car, alongside Bonamy Grimes. Johnny Mowlem has hinted, that he probably has done his final race, with more focus being put on the team manager role/coach for Grimes, instead of spending two hours in the car himself. Cozzolino has raced in the MR Racing/Car Guy car, and knows the Ferrari 488 GTE Evo very well. Noble is an LMP3 regular for Nielsen Racing, so this will be something quite different for him. He wasn’t chosen for their Le Mans LMP2 entry, which apparently, he wasn’t too chuffed about, having raced for them in LMP3 for so many seasons in the ELMS and Asian Le Mans Series etc.
Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche #88 is sadly once again three times TBA. It’s been a bit of a lottery, regarding their line-up this year. Thomas Preining has been in the car for most of the weekends, but not even his name is on the list yet.
The season finale in the FIA World Endurance Championship 2019/20 will be run on Saturday 14 November.