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One-Off Entries Ruled Out as WEC Manages Capacity Grid

Race-by-race entries ruled out in rounds outside Le Mans as WEC manages capacity grid….

Photo: MPS Agency

The FIA World Endurance Championship will not permit teams to make one-off entries during the 2022 season as it manages the challenges stemming from a capacity grid.

WEC CEO Frederic Lequien told reporters that 39 entries is the “maximum we can do” considering logistical factors, and that any more cars would cause significant problems.

Race-by-race entries have been permitted in previous seasons.

Last year Corvette Racing and G-Drive Racing — both now full-time entrants — and PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports joined the grid for the 6 Hours of Spa in preparation for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

There were also cameos from Rinaldi Racing, Risi Competizione and Inception Racing at Monza for the same reason.

The rule affecting additional cars will be for the WEC only, although grid space is also tight at Le Mans considering all world championship full-season entries are eligible.

“For the 24 Hours of Le Mans the situation is quite different because there is a selection committee for the 24 Hours of Le Mans,” said Lequien.

“We have 62 places, 39 for the WEC. We have some entries for ELMS and Asian Le Mans. That means we have a very small number of entries available on the market and the selection committee will decide to who ill [get] those entries.

“In the WEC, I confirm that we will not take some additional entries race-by-race.”

The largest full-season grid in WEC history is set to create a squeeze in some pit lanes, particularly at Fuji Speedway where the number of entries is set to exceed the number of pit garages available.

Lequien acknowledged that the championship is evaluating special measures for the race in Japan, including the installation of temporary pit garages.

Another option is for some cars from the same team to share a single pit box and refueling rig.

The WEC had considered introducing a rule whereby all GTE-Am teams would be required to enter two cars and then use a single pit box and refueling setup during race weekends. However, this was rejected by an 80 percent majority when put to a teams’ vote.

“Fuji could be one of the trickiest [rounds] of the season with 39 cars,” said Lequien.

“First I would like to remind that we have 39 entries for the season, but there will certainly not be 39 on track at the same moment.

“We are not crazy and it was really a very serious internal discussion with [ACO President] Pierre Fillon, the guys around me and all the teams.

“It would be so simple to accept everybody. But it’s not good for an FIA world championship. So 39 is reasonable.

“Even in Fuji we discussed with some teams in the GTE and LMP2 categories that they may have to share a garage, maybe on certain tracks, but we will manage that in a very good way.

“We will not destroy something just to get more entries. Thirty-nine corresponds to the maximum we can do with still a very good logistics and sporting [setup]. More than this [is] impossible.

“By the way, we will not accept some cars just for one race, additional entries for one race. We cannot do it.”

The number of entry applications received by the WEC selection committee exceeded the number of grid spots available, although Lequien wouldn’t comment on how many entries were rejected.

“In total transparency, it’s not an easy job,” he said.

“Without sounding arrogant, I would say it’s a good problem. We have taken the decision to select 39 cars to maintain a reasonable amount of entries in terms of sporting, logistical and many different factors.

“Yes, we received much more than 39, but we have decided not to communicate on this.”

Avoiding Garage Shares the “Goal”

Lequien stated that the championship’s “goal” is to avoid having to ask teams to share garages at tracks such as Fuji where the number of pit garages poses a challenge.

The measure is not ruled out, with the possibility existing that a small number of teams might need to house two cars in a single garage, which could have tactical implications during a race.

“I’m saying that it could be a possibility with some teams that will accept that,” said Lequien.

“We had this discussion in Bahrain and one of the possibilities to take more than 40 cars was to share a garage in GTE-Am, and for strategic reasons we decided to not do it.

“Our goal is not to do that. Once again, it may happen in Fuji that one team will have to share one garage, not more than this.”

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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