While the GTE-Pro category has been somewhat cost prohibitive, three manufacturers have still taken to the fight in the FIA World Endurance Championship for next year.
The 2013 season gave satisfaction to Ferrari, which beat out Aston Martin after the British manufacturer had dominated much of the year. With its new 911 RSR, Porsche won the biggest race of the year at Le Mans.
The same players should do battle again in 2014. We look at the confirmed and expected entires for the championship. (en Français)
Porsche AG Team Manthey: Having debuted this year with the new Porsche 911 RSR, Porsche AG Team Manthey will return next season with two cars. The “new” 911 RSR started off in Bahrain with good performance. The driver lineup is still yet to be announced, but Hartmut Kristen, head of Porsche Motorsport, said he wanted to retain their existing drivers.
However, they will be without the services of Marc Lieb, who has been chosen to race Porsche’s LMP1 car, and Richard Lietz, who is headed to the TUDOR Championship. It’s expected Marco Holzer will join new recruit Fred Makowiecki, with the second car to be driven by Joerg Bergmeister and Patrick Pilet. (2 cars)
AF Corse: The Amato Ferrari-led team will be looking to defend its trophy, with two Ferrari F458 Italias likely to be in the game. Gianmaria Bruni will again headline, but the defending champion could share his seat with Toni Vilander, as was the case in Bahrain.
Giancarlo Fisichella and Kamui Kobayashi could be in the second car, even if the likes of Marco Cioci, Olivier Beretta and Matteo Malucelli are also apparently being considered. There won’t be room for everyone, though, meaning a few could find a home in the U.S. (2 cars)
Aston Martin Racing: Having lost the title in a down-to-the-wire battle in the 100th anniversary of the brand, AMR will celebrate its 10th anniversary in 2014, with the goal of taking revenge to Ferrari. Whether it’s with one or two Vantage GTEs, that’s still the question.
While the Darren Turner/Stefan Muecke duo will likely return, AMR will be without Makowiecki, who has left for Porsche. Bruno Senna could continue alongside Pedro Lamy and Richie Stanaway, however. Team boss John Gaw said more will be known next month. (1-2 cars)
Ram Racing: One year after its formation, the Dan Shufflebottom-led organization hasn’t hidden its global ambitions. The British team decided to focus on the ELMS this year, which saw them win in a dominating fashion and claim an auto-invite to Le Mans. A move to the WEC is likely, and it would seem logical for newly upgraded (from Silver to Gold) driver Matt Griffin to be in the team’s GTE-Pro plans with its Ferrari 458 Italia. (1 car)
Confirmed Entries: 2 cars
Expected: 4-5 additional cars