I’ve followed F1 ever since I got caught up in the incredibly dramatic and controversial 1997 season. I am an F1 fan but I am certainly not an F1 evangelist. Recent F1 seasons have been accompanied by a chorus of well-founded criticisms. This discontent coincides with the ascendancy of the WEC. The series has matured since its 2012 inception and delivers a compelling product that provides fans what they demand of a world-class racing series: an accessible broadcast presenting fantastic on-track action between cutting edge race cars.
Porsche RS Spyder head-to-head with Porsche 962? Yes please. It was inspiring to see Le Mans winning cars back on track being driven like they were meant to be. Seeing a 917 navigate Laguna Seca makes me wonder what it must be like flying down the Mulsanne at night, well over 200MPH. Rennsport Reunion VI cannot come soon enough.
What better way for Porsche to celebrate their racing heritage than bringing together 60 years worth of extremely rare, race pedigreed cars and putting them out on track. These weren’t parade laps. Cars were driven just as hard as they were decades ago. The event drew some star drivers too: Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley, Neil Jani, Cooper MacNeil, Wolf Henzler, Brian Sellers, Jeroen Bleekemolen, Hurley Haywood, Patrick Long, Marino Franchitti, Kevin Buckler, and other I’m sure I’ve forgotten were all in attendance.
IMSA and the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship are, once again, having an identity crisis. Heading into the 2014 season, IMSA needed to find a way for ALMS LMP2 and Grand-Am Daytona Prototype entries to coexist. A season and a half later, things on track are looking pretty good. While there are still balance of performance issues to be finessed (top-speed, pace on restarts), both platforms have proven to be capable of topping timesheets and winning races.
The 2017 season will bring sweeping changes to both ACO and IMSA prototype regulations. IMSA has once again found themselves tasked with reaching a compromise between stakeholders with vastly differing objectives. For the FIA and ACO, the 2017 regulation changes will try to steer the category towards a more financially accessible future. In stark contrast to their European associates, IMSA may well be fighting to keep prototype racing viable in the North American market.
Two days from now in Le Mans, Ford will formally announce what many have long suspected. Taking aim at Chevrolet, Porsche, Ferrari, and Aston Martin, the Blue Oval will return to international sportscar racing with the new, Ecoboost-powered, Ford GT.