WEC Season 8 Review: LMGTE Am
As the dust settles on the longest FIA WEC season in history (nearly 450 days!), we take a look back at what’s happened in the LMGTE Am category throughout Season 8.
It was AF Corse who took an early GTE Am championship lead as the No. 83 Ferrari 488 GTE Evo claimed the first win of the season back at Silverstone in 2019 with François Perrodo, Emmanuel Collard and Nicklas Nielsen at the wheel. The No. 98 Aston Martin Racing entry of Paul Dalla Lana, Darren Turner and Ross Gunn claimed second position ahead of the MR Racing Ferrari who finished third.
Pole-sitters TF Sport dominated the field from start to finish in Japan with the Aston Martin Vantage. It was the first victory for the British privateer entry in the hands of Salih Yoluc, Charlie Eastwood and Jonny Adam. The trio finished a lap ahead of round 1 winners, the No. 83 car, which finished runner-up. Despite starting from the back of the grid, Team Project 1’s No. 57 Porsche 911 RSR driven by Ben Keating, Felipe Fraga and Jeroen Bleekemolen took the third podium spot.
After two podiums in two races, it was AF Corse who led the teams’ championship going into round 3 in China. Shanghai proved to be another dream weekend for TF Sport as the British team stormed to their second consecutive GTE Am race victory in the No. 90 Aston Martin Vantage AMR. TF Sport’s victory saw the squad take the lead in the overall team standings – three points ahead of round 1 winners, AF Corse.
Bahrain was next in the calendar where it was the turn of Team Project 1 and the No. 57 Porsche 911 RSR to take the winners’ trophy. America’s Keating led the charge after a phenomenal stint behind the wheel, supported by ten Voorde and Bleekemolen in the race’s closing hours. Runner-up in the class was the No. 98 Aston Martin Vantage crew, one spot ahead of the No. 86 Gulf Racing Porsche 911 RSR.
February of this year saw the WEC return to the Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas, where TF Sport continued its successful run as the No. 90 crew crossed the finish line first following a race-long battle with the No. 98 Aston Martin Racing entry. The No. 56 Team Project 1 Porsche 911 RSR of Egidio Perfetti, Matteo Cairoli and newcomer Laurents Hörr, in his first WEC race, took the final podium place.
Following the COVID-19 pandemic, WEC Season 8 resumed with a rescheduled race at Spa, Belgium, in August where the No. 83 AF Corse entry claimed victory after six hours of action. The result stretched the team’s lead to 110 points, 12 ahead of third place finishers No.90 TF Sport. Coming home second was the No. 77 Dempsey Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR of Christian Ried, Riccardo Pera and Matt Campbell.
September’s rescheduled 24 Hours of Le Mans provided even more drama in the LMGTE Am category as TF Sport claimed its fourth victory of WEC Season 8 after a gruelling 24 hour race. The No. 90 Aston Martin Vantage AMR finished 49s ahead of the No.77 Dempsey Proton. Third in class, just 3 seconds back, was the No.83 AF Corse entry.
Although AF Corse Ferrari had a tough time in the Pro category, it all came good for them in GTE Am. Second place in Bahrain for the No.83 488 GTE EVO of Collard, Perrodo and Nielsen and a less than perfect race for points-leader TF Sport saw AF Corse take the 27 points on offer for the 8-hour race and wrap up the FIA World Endurance Trophy for LMGTE Am. They finished the year 13 points clear of TF Sport in the teams’ championship who wrapped up second place.
Claiming a final win for the outgoing Porsche 911 RSR was the No.56 Team Project 1 of Egidio Perfetti, Larry ten Voorde and Jörg Bergmeister. The previous GTE Am champions finished the year third in the overall teams’ championship.
Can AF Corse Ferrari cling onto their team and drivers’ trophies next year? All will be revealed in WEC Season 9 which gets underway in March 2021.