James Calado and Kevin Estre have questioned the FIA’s decision not to include GTE World Champions from its recent induction of World Endurance Champions to the FIA Hall of Fame.
A total of 29 WEC drivers from past and present were inducted during an event in Paris earlier this month, all of whom had been overall or modern-day LMP1 world champions.
It included 17 drivers from the current iteration of the WEC that launched in 2012, including two-time LMP World Endurance Champions Sebastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley, Timo Bernhard as well as Fernando Alonso, who had previously been among the Formula 1 drivers inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Both 2017 World Endurance GTE Drivers’ Champions James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi, as well as Kevin Estre and Michael Christensen, who claimed the same title in the 2018-19 ‘Super Season’, however, were not included.
When asked by Sportscar365 on the omissions, a FIA spokesperson said the first round of WEC inductees had been largely focused on prototype champions and that the GTE World Drivers’ Championship, introduced in 2017, was still “too new” to be considered.
By comparison, the FIA World Rallycross Championship, launched in 2012, has yet to feature an inductee into the Hall of Fame, which was created in 2017.
“I think we deserved a little bit of recognition,” Calado told Sportscar365. “But I understand that it may only be open to LMP1.
“There’s no disrespect to the guys because they’re awesome drivers and well deserved world champions.
“But when you look at our world championship as well, and to get no acknowledgment of that…
“We’re equally as competitive as them, if not better, so I don’t understand why everyone, in these times, think LMP1 is a top class because although it’s the fastest car, it’s not necessarily the top class.”
While slightly disappointed, Estre admitted that he and Christensen have not been racing to get recognition from the FIA and still feels their achievement holds value in the world of motorsports.
“We’re racing to win races and win championships for Porsche,” Estre told Sportscar365.
“When you see the people that were there, I think we might have our place there, because of the competition there is in GTE-Pro.
“More recognition for GT drivers, in general, is always nice because most of the time, it’s where the big competition is and where it’s more stable.
“You’ve had fantastic years in P1 in the past and for sure these guys are [very] fast. But GT drivers have also proved that when they jumped in the LMP they are fast.”
It’s understood that the FIA has not ruled out GTE World Champions in future inductions, although a decision has yet to be made.