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Neveu: “We Have to Stay Humble and Prudent”

Gerard Neveu on decreased WEC car count, future…

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

FIA World Endurance Championship boss Gerard Neveu has admitted they have to stay “humble and prudent” as the series faces a decreased full-season entry this year amid Audi’s withdrawal from LMP1 competition.

The ACO revealed last week a 28-car entry for the sixth season of the globe-trotting championship, down from last year’s 32 cars, featuring an all-Oreca 07 Gibson representation in the new-look LMP2 class, but stability in the GTE categories.

Endurance-Info caught up with Neveu to get his thoughts on the entry list and forecast the year ahead.

Are you satisfied with the number of cars committed to the WEC?

“When you think about the general context of motorsport, you cannot complain.

“That being said, you have to have a lot of humility and be prudent. You have to make up for the departure of Audi and welcome new LMP2 cars.

“I believe we have a very good grid, considering many had predicted [only] 20 to 22 entries.”

Do you feel it’s a handicap for having only two manufacturers in LMP1?

“I cannot deny that we would like to have three or more [manufacturers]. 

“The first two years of the championship, we witnessed an Audi and Toyota duel with animated races, and having two manufacturer does not mean [it will be less exciting].

“LMP1 Privateer is in the process of being restructured and the recent announcements are going in the right direction. This season will be somewhat complicated but the arrival of Robert Kubica is an added value.”

Does LMP2 meet your expectations?

“The fact that there is only one [constructor] is a situation of timing, due to the departure of a few teams, but you [still] see the profile and level of the teams and drivers.

“The performance of the [new] cars is quite spectacular, if you believe the first tests.”

Is the arrival of a world title in GTE a real plus?

“It’s true that having a FIA world title will motivate the manufacturers even more. BMW will arrive next year and we hope that others will follow.

“Since the announcement of the world title, discussions have begun with other brands, but with no specific deadlines. GT convergence can also be part of the parameters.

“On the GTE-Am side, we can speak of consistency, and that level of committed entries.”

There is renewed interest in the GT with five manufacturers in 2018. Will GT take precedence over prototype?

“GT and prototype are two parallel stories. But the budgets are not the same. GT is a market focused in road models, while prototype has a long history.

“We have the advantage of having these two families in the championship.

“The four brands currently present in GTE have produced a great show and have quickly adapted to the new rules. The reward is now the world title. Other manufacturers will follow.”

Is the Mexican round in jeopardy given the country’s economic situation?

“I cannot deny that the situation between Mexico and the U.S. is not the most comfortable. But the race is still in place.

“We have to assess the risks involving the race, as it takes place in eight months [from now].”

With 28 full-season cars registered, do you anticipate additional cars on the grid in select rounds?

“If there are requests, why not? We’ll look at it on a case-by-case basis depending the [track] capacity.”

Has the off-season been more complicated for you than in recent years?

“Our team has not stopped working since the Bahrain finale. We’ve had to adapt to the departure of a manufacturer and organize ourselves accordingly.

“But we’re prepared for this type of situation. The WEC is prepared and has adapted accordingly.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

8 Comments

8 Comments

  1. jason

    February 7, 2017 at 10:20 am

    Wish we can find out if a paid subscription package for the WEC will allow to show full race replays on a PC/Laptop computer.

    • Downforce

      February 11, 2017 at 2:54 am

      It did not last year, amazingly. Only live on PCs, and the live video quality was generally not good and degraded quite quickly as the race progressed. And with the low car count and lessened interest in the series, no way i’m renewing.

  2. J~

    February 7, 2017 at 11:12 am

    I thought you could order it last year. But it was a bit confusing and expensive.
    Shouldn’t be that way to watch motor racing. And you can’t even find anything on YouTube even a year+ later.
    FIA is the NFL of sports car racing….Top shelf but $$$
    Humble? Release the tapes!

    • jason

      February 7, 2017 at 11:28 am

      A good reason why I did not pay attention to the WEC very much in 2016. I do think GTE and LMP1 have potential to be very good in 2017. LMP2 in WEC is like PC in IMSA to me. Just don’t care about it and is irrelevant.

      I don’t mind paying but make it friendly for PC computers/laptops too. Not just a mobile app.

      • GR88

        February 7, 2017 at 11:44 am

        The new LMP2’s are amazing pieces of kit. Can’t wait to see them in WEC and ELMS. Tockwith will being their Ligier to 4/5 rounds (bringing total to 11) and I imagine Onroak are doing all they can to bring more entrants.

        I personally expect the Dallara to shine in ELMS.

        • Larry

          February 8, 2017 at 7:15 am

          Other than lesser competition, why do you expect the Dallara to “shine” in ELMS?

          The fact that no one picked it in WEC is kind of telling.

          If you are basing it on Daytona, that was all BOP and the rain showed the Riley to actually be better when the extra HP of the Caddirac was somewhat negated and the Rebellion Oreca was almost as fast with a lot less HP.

  3. NaBUru38

    February 7, 2017 at 3:18 pm

    If the Mexico and Austin races didn’t clash IndyCar, that would be great.

  4. Luna

    February 20, 2017 at 11:20 pm

    Humble the ACO? Amazing word coming from an arrogant organization.

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