The WEC is Back... Samba Style

It’s been a long wait. Over the past couple of months we’ve had to endure heat waves, enviro-mentalists and F1’s abysmal pretence of a race at Spa. But we’ve weathered the weather, left the protesters in our wake and put the ‘top level’ tedium behind us, and after 68 days of twiddling our thumbs proper endurance racing is back, Samba style.

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This weekend the FIA World Endurance Championship returns to the mean streets of Sao Paulo for the 6 Hours of Brazil, round four of the championship and the first race back since the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Set at the historic Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace (Interlagos to its friends), this race marks the start of the frenetic season finale; five races being held across the world over the next 3 months to determine who will win the WEC honours in 2013.

Interlagos is considered one of the greatest challenges to a sports car driver in the world; the combination of massive elevation changes, anti-clockwise direction and ridiculously long pit lane are unique to Brazil and make the circuit a force to be reckoned with, especially for inexperienced teams and drivers.

After such a long time off it was inevitable that there would be some changes to the normally consistent WEC line up, and fast-incoming rule changes for the 2014 season have inspired some teams to switch their focus to next year.

While the currently unstoppable Audi are bringing both of their Le Mans winning driver line ups to Sao Paulo their competition, Toyota Racing, will only be bringing one of their TS030 Hybrids to the party. As for the rest of LMP1 the sole British entry in the category in 2013, Strakka Racing, have bowed out to concentrate on some secret WEC-flavoured plans which leaves Rebellion Racing to field their reduced one car entry for the rest of the season.

LMP2 sees a drop from eleven entries at Spa to nine for round four, as both Gulf Racing Middle East (not much of a loss) and JOTA (which is a shame) are missing out. When you consider the woeful performance of some of the LMP2 entries at Le Mans we reckon it’ll be good to see a proper privateer prototype battle this weekend, and as always we’re sure to be treated to a real royal rumble as Oak, G-Drive, Delta-ADR, Greaves, Pecom and Lotus all vie for the P2 podium.


The GTE Pro roster remains blissfully unchanged as the two Porsches, two AF Corses and three Astons are still well in contention for the 2013 crown. Porsche will be looking to build on their huge performance leap and double points haul at Le Mans to extend their slim championship lead, but strong weekends from either of the others could throw a serious spanner in the Stuttgart works.

The ‘gentleman drivers’ of GTE Am are similarly all returning for the next round, with IMSA Performance Matmut currently sitting on top in their Tricolor strewn 911 GT3 RSR. However they only lead by a single point from the (also French but not quite as patriotic) Larbre Competition’s Corvette, and the close championship standings mean that anybody except Krohn Racing could come out of this weekend at the head of the pack.

There are three practice sessions (two on Friday and one on Saturday morning) before the action starts in qualifying on Saturday afternoon at 6.35pm BST. The lights go out for the 6 Hours of Sao Paulo at 4pm UK time and you can watch both quali and the race live at Make sure you join the conversation on Twitter by tweeting @speedchillsview where we’ll be covering the whole thing live.

Interlagos is famous for a reason and 6 hours worth of racing is sure to spit out some of the WEC’s usual excitement. The Audi machine might be dauntingly brilliant but Toyota have form around the home of Brazilian racing; it was here that they shocked the world with their maiden win last year and it won’t be beyond them to do the same again this weekend. In fact, anything could happen, and that’s just one of the reasons that we’re so glad endurance is back. The race is certain to be the usual mix of eye opening thrills and six hour long grudge matches, so we’ll see you at 4pm on Sunday as the World Endurance Championship returns for the 6 Hours of Sao Paulo.