24h Le Mans
Green light for FIA WEC Season 9 with the Prologue
The 35 cars set to compete in FIA WEC Season Nine are taking part in two days of official testing at Spa-Francorchamps today and tomorrow. The Total 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps will be held next Saturday, 1 May.
The Prologue to the 2021 FIA World Endurance Championship will see the Toyota GR010 Hybrids, Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Hypercar contenders, make their official track début. After months of preparation, the Japanese manufacturer will take on the #36 Alpine A480-Gibson of Alpine Elf Matmut. “Since the roll-out in October 2020 at Paul Ricard, we have completed an intense programme of testing, learning progressively more about the car's characteristics and the new Michelin tyres,” said Pascal Vasselon, the team’s Technical Director. “With such different weight and performance parameters compared to the TS050 HYBRID, and totally new mandatory systems, it has been a steep learning curve for engineers and drivers. As often with testing, it has not gone entirely smoothly; we lost a complete three-day test at Aragón due to heavy snow and the weather was unkind to us elsewhere as well. Luckily the later start to the season allowed us to fit in additional tests before Spa so we have eventually hit our mileage target and ticked all the boxes before the first race.”
The Hypercars are joined by 14 LMP2s, five LMGTE Pros and 13 LMGTE Ams at the official pre-season tests. In LMGTE Pro, the #63 Corvette C8.R of Corvette Racing will make its long-awaited maiden appearance on European soil. Antonio García and Oliver Gavin will share driving duties.
The teams will have over 11 hours of test time at their disposal to adapt the cars to the specific features of the Spa-Francorchamps racetrack ahead of the season’s curtain-raiser which will start at 13:30 CET on Saturday.