SPA 6 Hours 2021

Excellent 1st race of the season in Belgium yesterday. The sunny conditions, which is very unusual in Spa Francorchamp, were perfect for the 1st outing of the hypercars (LMH).

There certainly was a battle on between the new Toyotas LMH and the Alpine LMH.

I watched the whole 6 hours using the WEC app on my PC as well as my tablet so that I could have a combination of the race on one screen and live positions on the other one. Excellent.

I have already updated my Excel file for the new season with the race results.

I’ll gladly sent you the file if anyone is interested.

The next race is Le Mans 24h in August. I am not planning on going and it is not yet known if spectators will be allowed.

WEC 2021 + Le Mans 24h

I have just completed my follow-up Excel file for the forthcoming 2021 season. It is of course subject to many changes, in particular on the driver’s side. Many have not yet been decided upon and many still need to get their 24h of Le Mans licences.

I can make the file available if you send me a message with your email address.

The dates of the races keeps changing due to the current health conditions. Let us hope that spectators will be allowed.

WEC 2021

A new year means a new racing season

Latest news…

🔶 News flash

NEW 25/01:

Richard Mille Racing Team enters all-female trio for WEC LMP2 campaign


After a promising rookie campaign in the ELMS last year, the all-female trio that makes up the Richard Mille Racing Team will step up to the world stage for 2021. Confirmed to drive the ORECA 07 Gibson LMP2 car will be Beitske Visser (Netherlands), Sophia Flörsch (Germany) and Tatiana Calderón (Colombia).

✑ 24/01: Due to the uncertainties linked to the health crisis, the ticket office for the 24 Hours of Le Mans Auto will not reopen before the beginning of April. The ACO will come back to us by the end of March with more information.

✑ 23/01: There are this year no cars from Aston Martin in the GTE-Pro category.

✑ It has just been announced that Round 1 of this season, the 8 Hours of Portimão, will take place from 2-4 April 2021. Due to the rapid evolution of coronavirus, as well as various changing directives from Governments in different countries including travel restrictions, the WEC did not want to take any unnecessary risks. With freight due to be sent to the USA imminently, a decision needed to be made early to help teams prepare for the 2021 season. With this in mind and the majority of the championship’s teams being based in Europe, after consulting IMSA, Sebring International Raceway and the FIA, a decision was made to hold the first race of the year on the continent. Located in the south of Portugal, the Algarve International Circuit will also host the Prologue, the WEC’s official pre-season test from 30-31 March. 

🔶 WEC Entry list

As expected, the 2021 competitors have been announced a few days ago. As planned, the LMP1 category no longer exists and has been replaced by the long awaited, at least in my case, Hypercars.

🔶 Hypercars

The arrival of the Hypercar category, represented this season by Toyota and Glickenhaus, joined by Alpine, heralds a bright future for endurance racing.

Peugeot Sport’s participation will begin in 2022, with Porsche and Audi confirmed for 2023.

The Alpine car is in fact a LMP1NH (Not Hybrid) and is a kind of partnership with the Swiss Rebellion team which left the WEC championship at the end of the 2020 season. The car is developed on the basis of an Oreca chassis with a Gibson engine, the formula which was used by the cars of the afore mentioned Rebellion team.

🔶 Races schedule (Provisional)

▫️ Pre-season testing in Sebring – 13th & 14th March

▫️ Pre-season testing in Portimão – 13th & 14th March (replaces Sebring)

▫️ 1.000 Miles of Sebring – 19th March

▫️ 8 Hours of Portimão – 4th April (replaces Sebring)

▫️ 6 Hours of Spa Francorchamps – 1st May

▫️ 24 Hours of Le Mans – 12th & 13th June

▫️ 6 Hours of Monza – 18th July

▫️ 6 Hours of Fuji – 26th Septembre

▫️ 6 Hours of Bahrain – 20th Novembre

🔶 Le Mans 24H

The complete list of participants will be made available later in the year

🔶 Bits & Pieces

▫️ For the first time in WEC history, two 100% female crews will participate in the entire championship: Richard Mille Racing Team (LMP2) and Iron Lynx (LMGTE Am). The six women entered set the record for female drivers in an FIA World Championship.

▫️ It should be noted that the presence in WEC also guarantees all competitors an invitation to the 24 Hours of Le Mans for next June. Among the more anecdotal changes, it should be recalled that the choice of numbers is no longer imposed by the organisers. Each team can now choose the one of its choice, but also the possibility of styling it, while respecting the colour code specific to each of the four WEC categories.

1969 – 2019 Celebrating 50 years

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Next year will mark the 50 years anniversary of my first to the 24h race which will call  for some serious celebrations together with my friend Chris who actually initiated this epic weekend.

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Friday June 14th

Chris turns up from England at our house near Paris as planned. Not too sure what happened that evening but going out with my friends was the most likely scenario. Our planned escapade to Le Mans was kept a secret due to the fact that it was the 1st communion weekend for my younger brother and family and family friends were turning up from all over France for the celebrations.

Saturday June 15th

Everybody is dressed for the occasion, ready to go to church ceremony. I have to follow my parents. However at the church, as expected, there is such a crowd that I can easily get away unnoticed. My friend Aline is waiting as arranged round the corner and she gives me a ride home a couple of miles up the road on her moped. We meet up with Chris and Brigitte. Time for me to change and finish packing my rucksack.

The girls give us a ride to the local train station without forgetting to stop at our local grocery store to purchase a few provisions on my parent’s account.

First step: The 20 minutes train ride into Paris.

Second step: The 3 hours train ride from Paris to Le Mans. It was a dedicated train scheduled to arrive a couple of hours or so before the race start. And indeed it did.

Third step: The bus ride from downtown Le Mans to the track. Again, dedicated buses dropping you at the track entrance.

At the track: The tickets are bought in a jiffy and inside the track we walk in. What an atmosphere! The place is full of people. There is smoke everywhere and unexpectedly, the predominant smell is the one of merguez grilling on the dozens of barbecues along the ways. It used to be the main source of food and has completely disappeared in the meantime.

I cannot remember where we were to watch the start. I believe it might have been on Brit’s hill. It became one of our favorite spot for years to come. Brit’s hill was the nickname given to a spot at the Esses de la Foret.

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The start was kind of special because it was the penultimate “Le Mans start”. Starting in 1971, the “Rolling start” also known as the “Indianapolis start” became the rule for safety reasons.

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After the start we decided to go to the Hunaudières more or less midway down the famous straight. No chicanes in those days. We made our way from the Tertre Rouge crossing fields, climbing fences, following paths always with the roaring sound of the cars on our right showing us the way to a certain extent.

We had the crazy idea to try and go to the trackside. One has to remember that in those days there was hardly any protection. Only straw bales on both sides of the road. So only certain areas were allowed and closely watched by the gendarmes. Anyway, decision is taken to make a dash for it. One look to the left, one look to the right and we ran like crazy towards the track. We did not get far…  A loud whistle told us we had been spotted. We had to walk back to the path to a fairly angry gendarme.

Not too sure what made me do this, but I pretended we could not understand french. Easy thing for Chris to do when he showed as requested his passport which was British. However mine is French. Nevertheless I kept talking to him in English. He was not amused. He eventually let us go with a stern warning.

We made it to the restaurant in the middle of the straight. Not too sure if we ate there. Most certainly we had a drink and a rest and enjoyed seeing the cars flying by a few meters away. What a noise.

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The fastest speed during the race of 319km/h was reached by the new Porsche 917. To me the best noise was from the Matra V12 engine. Absolutely amazing.

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Night time came and it was getting cold. We decided to make it back to the village. It was dark then and negotiating the fields, fences and what we considered at some point was a lonely and nasty bull was quite challenging. It was taking a long time. We walked and walked and walked.

We stopped for a break under a big tree and I think we had a couple of hours kip. Rain / dew and cold woke us up and we had no choice to try and find our way to the village. It was dawn and I remember well sitting on a bench under a tent in a bar drinking hot chocolate to try and warm up.

Another delight in those days were the latrines or should I say the lack of. We learned a lesson there and dealt with this on later trips. Things are slightly different now but I would still recommend some caution and good planning to new comers.

There was a race still on and that is what we were here for. In the end, only 14 cars finished. We saw Jacky Ickx win the race.

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It is interesting to note that the pole position was obtained with a time of 3’22″9. In the meantime the track has changed slightly with additional chicanes but this year (2018) qualifying time for the LMP1 Rebellion was basically the same.

Also interesting is that the Alpine (Sport Prototype) which finished 12th had a 1005cc engine.

Sunday June 16th

Late afternoon we did the exact reverse trip (bus+train+train) back to my house. We were tired, possibly dirty and in my case quite worried of the reception I would get from my parents as a result of disappearing as I/we did.

It is with a lot of apprehension that we opened the door to find my parents and guests + family having dinner.

“Where were you” said my mother

“Le Mans 24h” I replied.

“You look hungry”

We sat down, had a glass of wine and I did not here another thing about it (until years later that is).

A great weekend.

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