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2016 WEC Silly Season Update: GTE-Pro

A look at the confirmed and possible GTE-Pro entries in WEC for 2016…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

With the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship having wrapped up last month in Bahrain, silly season is already in full swing as drivers, teams and manufacturers prepare for next year’s expanded nine-round season.

Sportscar365 takes a look at the confirmed and possible entries for the GTE-Pro class.

AF Corse — The Amato Ferrari-led squad will return with a pair of brand-new Ferrari 488 GTE cars with an expected unchanged driver lineup, headed by Gianmaria Bruni and Toni Vilander, alongside Davide Rigon and James Calado. The Italian team will be looking to reclaim all three GTE-Pro titles after missing out to Porsche in 2015.  (2 cars)

Ford Performance Chip Ganassi Racing — The highly anticipated debut of the Ford GT will deliver plenty of storylines, with the Multimatic-run crew set to deliver an all-star lineup for the pair of EcoBoost-powered beasts. Look for Stefan Muecke, Olivier Pla and Andy Priaulx to be among the full-time WEC drivers, with rumors of Nick Thiim also potentially being in line for a seat. (2 cars)

Aston Martin Racing — A reduced effort from Aston Martin Racing is expected next year, with the British manufacturer likely scaling back from a three-car GTE-Pro program to two of the upgraded Vantage V8s. Darren Turner will lead the charge again, likely to be joined by Jonny Adam in the No. 97 car, with a combination of drivers from the other two Vantages expected to complete the lineup. (2-3 cars)

Proton Competition — With Porsche Team Manthey set for a sabbatical, look for Christian Ried’s Proton Competition squad to fill the void with a single, works-supported Porsche 911 RSR entry. It’s believed the car will feature at least two factory drivers. (1 car)

Larbre Competition — The Jack Leconte-led team has continued to evaluate a step up to the GTE-Pro class with a Corvette C7.R, with what could be an additional entry to its existing GTE-Am effort, or an expansion for 2016. (1 car?)

SMP Racing — After winning the GTE-Am world title, the Russian-backed effort, run by AF Corse, could also move up to GTE-Pro with a new Ferrari 488 GTE car to join the pair of AF Corse Prancing Horses in the highly competitive factory-backed environment. (1 car?)

Projected 2016 Car Count: 7-10 entries

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

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