The FIA World Endurance Championship preparations for the 2022 season finally got underway.
There was a two-day prologue at Sebring International Raceway before the season starts on Wednesday.
For the majority of the teams, the test went well with plenty of laps for the drivers. But it didn’t take long before the first lengthy interruption in the first session on Saturday. A huge thunderstorm with heavy rain and a strong wind drove over, so all the marshals had to leave the track for safety.
On the second day, however, there were problems for several teams.
Porsche #92 had to be helped in the pit, when the car stopped due to a technical problem with Kevin Estre behind the wheel.
But it was much worse for Spirit of Race Ferrari #71, which had a big run-off and hit the tire barrier hard. Luckily, Franck Dezoteux was okay, and the mechanics could rebuild the car so that they could drive in the last half hour on the Sunday practice, with Dezoteux behind the wheel.
Team Project 1 Porsche #56, with Brendan Iribe behind the wheel, went off the track at the start of the last session. It triggered a red flag since there was debris all over the track. Luckily, Iribe was okay, and the mechanics were busy rebuilding the car.
The Sunday finished with a red flag, when United Autosports USA #22 went off the track and lost their rear wing. There had been contact with another car, but there were different reports on who it could’ve been, so for that reason we won’t mention anyone here.
There were seven Danes in the test, in seven different cars. In the LMP2 category, Nicklas Nielsen was a part of the Pro/Am team from AF Corse #83, with Francois Perrodo and Alessio Rovera. In JOTA #28, Oliver Rasmussen shared the seat with Jonathan Aberdein and Ed Jones.
In the GTE Pro category, Michael Christensen was the only one with the Danish flag on his overall onboard Porsche #92, which he shares with Kevin Estre again in 2022, after being the third driver in the car in 2021.
A big Danish battle happens in GTE Am. Mikkel Overgaard Pedersen was onboard Project 1 Porsche #46 with Nicolas Leutwiler and Matteo Cairoli. Michelle Gatting was a part of Iron Dames Ferrari #85, with teammates Sarah Bovy and Rahel Frey, just like how they finished the 2021 season.
Last but not least, Marco Sørensen and Nicki Thiim will be driving against each other in each their GTE Am Aston Martin. Sørensen has jumped in TF Sport #33 with Ben Keating and Florian Latorre, while Thiim will share Northwest AMR #98 with Paul Dalla Lana and David Pittard. Furthermore, Henrique Chaves also joined the test. All the Danes were on the top half of the field, on both their own and their teammates’ lap times.
Like last year’s prologue, the lap times between Hypercar and the LMP2 cars were very similar, where an LMP2 was the fastest car overall.
In the first Saturday session, Toyota Gazoo Racing #7 was the fastest in Hypercar, Realteam by WRT#41 in LMP2, Ultimate #35 in LMP2 Pro/Am, Porsche #92 in GTE Pro, and Team Project 1 Porsche #46 in GTE Am.
In the afternoon session, Prema Orlen Team #9 from LMP2 was the fastest, ahead of the fastest Hypercar from Alpine Elf Team #36, AF Corse Ferrari #83 in LMP2 Pro/Am, and Porsche #92 again in GTE Pro, while Iron Lynx Ferrari #60 was the fastest GTE Am car.
On Sunday morning, Realteam by WRT #41 was the fastest overall, again with Alpine Elf Team #36 the fastest Hypercar, AF Corse #83 was fastest in LMP2 Pro/Am, Porsche #92 was yet again the fastest in GTE Pro, and Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche #77 the fastest in GTE Am.
In the fourth and last session run on Sunday afternoon, United Autosports USA #22 was the fastest overall with their LMP2 car, ahead of Alpine Elf Team #36 as the fastest Hypercar, while Algarve Pro Racing #45 topped the LMP2 Pro/Am category. Corvette Racing #64 finished on top in GTE Pro, while Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche #77 was the fastest in GTE Am.
The next time the cars are back on the track will be on Wednesday morning local time, where the FIA WEC weekend starts. There will be practice sessions on Wednesday, followed by the qualifying on Thursday. And the race will be run on Friday at 17.00 CET.