Closer look at FIA WEC 2022 entry list

After the announcement of the FIA World Endurance Championship 2022 entry list, we will have a deeper dive, and highlight some of what we find interesting.

There are no major surprises in Hypercar, other than the Alpine no longer has the Matmut name associated with them. Toyota Gazoo racing has already announced all six drivers, while Alpine Elf Team #36, Peugeot TotalEnergies #93 and #94 plus Glickenhaus Racing #708 only announced a single driver for each car.

The majority of the LMP2 field is already set. Only 7 of the 45 seats are yet to be announced – with the final drivers for Sebring still awaiting, since we already know that Sebastien Bourdais won’t be racing with Vector Racing #10 that weekend, since he has to focus on his IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship ride with Cadillac Chip Ganassi Racing.

There is an interesting name on board the Richard Mille Racing Team #1 with Lilou Wadoux. The young female racer made a big impression in Alpine Elf Europa Cup, which is a GT category with the A110 model. She tested an LMP2 car at the Rookie test in Bahrain, where she did a total of 25 laps onboard the ORECA 07 Gibson.

Team Penske #5 has been rumoured to be an LMP2 for a long time, prior to their LMDh entry with Porsche in 2023. It is however a bit of a surprise to see Emmanuel Collard as a teammate to Dane Cameron and Felipe Nasr. We are definitely not dissing Collard, but the French driver is Silver ranked due to age, and it would probably have been possible to find a young talent instead. But on the other hand, there is plenty of experience and knowledge of the circuits, that he can share with the team and his teammates, which they have never raced on.

Prema Orlen Team #9 has taken over 2/3 of Team WRT from ELMS 2021. Robert Kubica and Louis Deletraz have chosen to move to the new team, with Lorenzo Colombo being the Silver ranked driver. The 21-year-old Italian is new to sportscar racing, but has claimed several top results in karting and single-seaters. Prema Orlen team will be a part of Iron Lynx, who is has decided to team up with the single-seater team Prema, following some years in GT racing.

G-Drive Racing #26 is back in the FIA WEC with a full-time programme, with James Allen and Rene Binder announced for their first full season. The third driver is not yet announced, but Roman Rusinov has said that it will be a very fast Platinum driver – whoever that will be.

JOTA is going for a brand new lineup in #28, with Oliver Rasmussen, Jonathan Aberdein and Ed Jones sharing the car. Aberdein has done a single season of ELMS, with the South African driver racing for United Autosports. Rasmussen and Jones will warm-up for their LMP2 debut, by sharing a G-Drive Racing car at Daytona in the coming weeks.

While the LMP2 Pro/Am category had five full-season entrants in 2021, there is a reduction to only three this year, which is such a pity. The category is meant for Gentlemen drivers, since they have no chance of fighting with the fast Silver ranked drivers in the LMP2 category, with some of them being more or less professional.

The LMP2 category will consist of ORECA 07 Gibson cars only in 2022, which already happened halfway through the 2021 season, with ARC Bratislava moving from Ligier to ORECA.

Team Project 1 Porsche #56 & Toyota Gazoo Racing #8
Photo: JJ Media

There are no big surprises in GTE Pro, since all five cars were announced beforehand. There had been rumours circling, that an Aston Martin would pop up, but that wasn’t the case. It does appear a bit strange that AF Corse Ferrari only announced a single driver in each of their cars. But there is no requirement to mention more than one driver, when you apply for your FIA WEC entry.

While the LMP2 category is pretty much set in stone, we still have a lot of open seats in the GTE Am. It’s actually only AF Corse Ferrari #21 and Northwest AMR #98, who has announced all three drivers. But it could very well be, that most of the drivers already are signed up, but the teams just haven’t announced them yet.

Team Project 1 Porsche lost one of their long time drivers. Egidio Perfetti has decided to ease off on his motorsport commitments for 2022, which leaves the team with four empty seats. That might be a slight worry, since the team had troubles fielding #46 anyway throughout 2021. The same thing happened for Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche #88, which had a new combination for almost every weekend. Let’s hope for more stability for 2022.

There is another interesting thing about the 39 car entry list, and that is connected to the 24 Hours of Le Mans. All FIA WEC entrants automatically have an entry for the prestigious race, which is limited to 62 drivers only. If we look at the list, we know for sure, that Corvette Racing would like to have an extra entry for the 24 hours race.

The winners of the Bob Akin and Jim Trueman awards in the USA, which is the best Am drivers in LMP2 and GTD respectively, will also have an entry. Ben Keating won the LMP2 category, and is already entered with TF Sport Aston Martin #33 in the FIA WEC. We don’t know yet, if Rob Ferriol wishes to participate in Le Mans, but if he wants to, we are up to 41 cars.

Five Le Mans entries were handed out in the European Le Mans Series 2021, in addition to the Michelin Le Mans Cup GT3 champion. Three entries will be awarded to the champions in the Asian Le Mans Series categories. And that makes it 50 cars, if everybody puts in an entry.

That leaves just 12 entries to probably 40 ELMS teams, plus the various entry from the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, which probably includes WeatherTech Racing, since they have been a regular team at the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the past few seasons.

So there will be a tough battle for the remaining spots in the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June 2022.

The full list of the confirmed team and drivers for the FIA WEC 2022 is here.

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