The WEC after the summer break starts again in Mexico
The 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), where many teams involved are equipped by BMC, will resume after the summer break on Friday when free practice begins for Sunday’s 6 Hours of Mexico (September 3), a month-and-a-half after Germany’s 6 Hours of Nürburgring in July. The Mexican clash is the first of the season’s long-haul fixtures which will continue with visits to Texas (USA), Fuji (Japan), Shanghai (China) and, finally, Bahrain on November 18.
In comparison with the championship’s European phase, the campaign’s second half will tend to feature higher temperatures, along with visits to several challenging circuits. Meanwhile, the tyre factor promises to be even more challenging due to the latest FIA WEC regulations.
In 2016, two additional sets of tyres were authorised for qualifying and the races in Mexico, China and Bahrain (eight sets instead of six elsewhere). However, teams will have their allocations halved at these tracks this time round, since the number of sets permitted for this year’s six-hour races has been reduced to four, with no derogations. Michelin’s teams consequently face a fresh challenge at the season’s last five rounds.
“The 6 Hours of Mexico kicks off what promises to be a sequence of demanding races for the FIA WEC teams.” – notes Jérôme Mondain, the manager of Michelin’s endurance racing programmes – “With temperatures likely to be higher than those encountered in Europe earlier in the season, plus the more abrasive asphalt that is a feature of certain circuits, tyres face a tough test, especially during the second stints performed by the LM P1 and LM GTE Pro cars when they double stint. Indeed, these are the two classes for which the allocation has been significantly reduced. That said, we are confident that our compounds are up to the task and we are looking forward to seeing what the lap times are like in Mexico City to verify the consistency and performance of our 2017 endurance racing range”.
The 2017 6 Hours Mexico will also mark a key moment for the FIA World Endurance Championship, since the competition’s authorities are due to reveal plans for the series’ future following the announcement that Porsche is to withdraw from the LM P1 class at the end of the current season.