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Record 39-Car Grid for WEC Season

Record 39-car grid set to contest tenth season of FIA World Endurance Championship…

Photo: Toyota Gazoo Racing

A record 39 cars are set to contest the 2022 FIA World Endurance Championship season, according to the official full-season entry list released on Wednesday.

The addition of new competitors in three of the four classes including Hypercar has contributed to a field that is three cars larger than the previous record grid set in 2018-19 and eight cars larger than last season.

Six Hypercar entries are listed including two hybrid-powered LMH cars each from Toyota Gazoo Racing and Peugeot, which is fielding its new 9X8 prototypes under the Peugeot TotalEnergies moniker with the No. 93 and No. 94 labels.

They are joined by a single Glickenhaus 007 LMH and the returning Alpine A480 Gibson grandfathered LMP1 car, both of which went up against Toyota last season.

As reported by Sportscar365 on Tuesday, the Vanwall-badged ByKolles LMH car is not on the entry list after the manufacturer’s application was rejected.

LMP2 is the largest class with 15 entries including the arrivals of Team Penske, Prema Powerteam and Vector Sport, as well as the return of G-Drive Racing under its partnership with Algarve Pro Racing. The Oreca 07 Gibson is the car of choice for all teams.

Porsche LMDh program operator Penske will field a single car for the German manufacturer’s new factory signings Dane Cameron and Felipe Nasr, as well as two-time GTE-Am champion Emmanuel Collard who is the designated Silver-rated pilot.

European Le Mans Series champions Robert Kubica and Louis Deletraz will line up for Prema, which has aligned with Iron Lynx for its sports car racing debut.

Will Stevens replaces Anthony Davidson at JOTA following the 2014 world champion’s retirement from professional driving at the end of the previous campaign.

Sean Gelael’s switch from JOTA to reigning LMP2 champion WRT has opened a new lineup for the British outfit which is running Oliver Rasmussen, Ed Jones and Jonathan Aberdein in its No. 28 Oreca.

As confirmed on Tuesday, WRT is running two cars for its LMP2 title defense involving Gelael and former TDS Racing customer Realteam Racing.

Three LMP2 entries are taking part in the Pro-Am classification. ARC Bratislava is back with an adjusted lineup, while Ultimate and AF Corse are joining the grid.

Inter Europol Competition, Richard Mille Racing and an expanded two-car entry from 2019-20 champion United Autosports complete the LMP2 roster.

GTE-Pro features the expected five-car menu, with a single Chevrolet Corvette C8.R joining the returning two-car programs from Ferrari and Porsche.

Alessandro Pier Guidi and Miguel Molina are the first two drivers named in the AF Corse Ferrari squad, which is the only GTE-Pro lineup that remains incomplete.

GTE-Am will continue to have 13 entries this year, with many of the category’s participants from the 2021 season continuing into the new term.

Two-car efforts from Ferrari outfit Iron Lynx, Porsche teams Dempsey-Proton Racing and Team Project 1, and Aston Martin squad TF Sport with D’station Racing, are all involved.

AF Corse will again operate three Ferraris despite the withdrawal of Cetilar Racing, with two new driver lineups including a Spirit of Race crew.

In one of the single-car entries, former FIA World Endurance GT champion Nicki Thiim returns to the WEC full-time in Paul Dalla Lana’s No. 98 Aston Martin Vantage GTE.

David Pittard also joins the NorthWest setup after sampling a Vantage GTE at the rookie test. GR Racing is the other single-car entrant with its Porsche 911 RSR-19.

Racing Team Nederland, Cetilar Racing, High Class Racing and DragonSpeed have all left the WEC to focus on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

The WEC season begins at the 1000 Miles of Sebring in March and includes planned stops at Spa, Le Mans, Monza, Fuji and Bahrain.

“What better way to celebrate the WEC’s tenth anniversary than with a record-breaking number of cars on the grid,” said WEC CEO Frederic Lequien.

“Not only do we have a strong and varied field in Hypercar and LMGTE Pro, we also see record numbers in LMP2 and LMGTE Am, which is testament to the continued growth of our championship.

“The future of the WEC is looking extremely bright and we’re looking forward to seeing everyone in Sebring for the start of what promises to be another memorable season.”

FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem added: “The championship continues to grow in strength and the 2022 entry list reflects this fact perfectly.

“The numbers are even better than last year, with top teams and world-class drivers represented across all four classes and contributing to the overall quality of the grid.

“In the meantime, the Hypercar category enters its second year, well-establishing as the championship’s top class and providing an excellent platform for the manufacturers.

“Exciting times lie ahead for the championship, both this season and in the years to come and this is something very encouraging.”

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

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