Insight: The Welcome End of WEC’s Long Transition Period
As Hypercar readies to ramp up next year, Sportscar365 reflects on the four-season transitional period between manufacturer-laden years…
The end of the tenth FIA World Endurance Championship season last month signified the end of two notable eras. One will be sorely missed and the other, less so. There was the official final race of the popular GTE-Pro category and its factory racing that will be fondly remembered for years to come. There was also the conclusion to an unofficial chapter: the bridge between so-called golden eras of manufacturer involvement in the top prototype category.
After Porsche ended its LMP1 program in 2017, the WEC was left with Toyota and a few plucky privateers. With LMP1 dying and the new LMH and LMDh formulas being crafted, it meant that for four seasons -- including two very long ‘winter’ ones -- the highest tier of world championship sports car racing lulled in transition.
Following Bahrain, the Hypercar class will be boosted next year with the arrivals of Porsche, Ferrari, Cadillac and the first full season for Peugeot. The anticipation is exceptionally high. Many new fans will come flocking in, while others will be returning as the major car brands do the same.
But it will also feel like a significant pay-off for those WEC viewers who sat tight and kept following through the long and testing transitional phase between 2018 and 2022.
Many of the WEC races during those years were anything but classics. The battles in other classes, particularly GTE-Pro, usually gave something to clamor about, but the lack of close-quarters racing in the top category was often hard to watch.