Expanded 19-car grid for top WEC class in 2024 “so exciting” – Hartley


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World Endurance Championship winner Brendon Hartley says he “never thought” he’d see the category’s top class expand to the size it will reach next year.

The series confirmed 19 full-time entries for its top Hypercar class next year, up from 13 this season. Hartley’s Toyota team will be joined by newcomers BMW, Lamborghini, Alpine and Isotta Fraschini in addition to existing manufacturer rivals Ferrari, Porsche, Peugeot and Cadillac.

“It’s so exciting,” said Hartley in today’s FIA Gala press conference. “I just saw the results from the testing over in Daytona, the last days where the Lamborghini rolled out for the first time in front of everybody. They looked pretty quick straight away. There’s obviously BMW coming as well and others.

“It’s hard to believe that there’s 19 cars for the whole championship. It’s a big number. It’s exciting. I never dreamt that we’d see that when I started in LMP1 in 2014, I never thought we’d see a grid like that. So it’s really exciting.”

Toyota dominated this year’s championship, winning all bar one of the seven rounds. Hartley’s team mate and fellow champion Sebastien Buemi said the competition will “clearly” be closer next year as several of their rivals from this season will have a year of experience.

“Ferrari, Porsche, all those guys that came back, they will be in their second year,” he said. “So you can expect them to be a lot stronger. But we will really do our very, very best.”

However he acknowledged the series’ controversial Balance of Performance rules will also have a significant bearing on the competition.

“I guess it’s going to be really close again. Obviously we have the BoP in the championship that regulates a little bit the performance.

“But I think what we’ve seen this year is that the way you manage your tyres over the long races is making the difference. So of course you want to be fast over one lap and you want to start from pole position, but a lot of those races are won on how you manage the tyre deg.

“Clearly we’ve been working really hard on that and I think that will still be the key next year.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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5 comments on “Expanded 19-car grid for top WEC class in 2024 “so exciting” – Hartley”

  1. I’m also very excited to see what comes of such a large Hypercar field next year. Will also be very interesting to see how the LMGT3s fit into the championship, and particularly to what extent, and how, the FIA/ACO manage the BOP, both in WEC and in Hypercar

    1. With so many manufacturers planting their flag in this FIA World Championship (rather than Rally or F1) they can’t really afford to get it wrong – arguably, again, because 2023 was a Toyota walkover.

      1. I’ll be honest, I think it will take a season or two for it to fully settle in to be honest. Toyota have been doing WEC since 2012, and have an incredibly well built and slick operation. Some of these teams are either completely new to WEC or returning after a few years away, and it is going to take some time for them to get on top of things in my opinion. Hopefully Ferrari, Porsche and Peugeot (who I believe are bringing quite a major upgrade next season?) can start that process and make it more competitive at the pointy end of the field, but I think it could take a bit of time to reach the pinnacle that a lot of people (including myself!) are excited about, although I would absolutely love to be proven wrong of course. As long as the manufacturer commitment is there, I still think WEC has a very bright future.

  2. Interesting contrast between expansion in WEC while F1 stalls Andretti

  3. Of course the all but one race Toyota won was the only one that mattered

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