The long winter season break is almost over for the WEC, with the full grids for the 2015 season and the 83rd edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans set to be announced at 15:00 on February fifth (CET). Here is a round up of all the big news from the last few days.
Starting in the LMP1 category, Toyota have confirmed their driver line-ups for the forthcoming season. Kazuki Nakajima will join world champions Anthony Davidson and Sebastian Buemi in the #1 car. Nakajima has been moved from the #2 car, meaning there was space for Mike Conway, who won a race for Toyota in LMP1 last year, to take a full season drive. The Briton will share the #2 car with Toyota regulars Alexander Wurz and Stephane Sarrizan. With Mike Conway being moved up to a full season race driver, the position of test and reserve is now vacant. An announcement about the driver who will for-fill the roll for 2015 will be made in the coming weeks.
As had already been previously reported, the Lotus CLM team may have been going to change their team name to ByKolles. The name change has now been confirmed. The team has plans on expanding to a two car effort after Le Mans in June. The newly named team will run a revised version of the CLM LMP1 car this year. The 2015-spec racer will new front and rear suspension, revised aerodynamics and a new gearbox, as well as significant weight reduction. The car will be unveiled at Paul Riccard ahead of the pre-season WEC test at the end of March. The drivers of the car will be announced in the coming weeks.
The Anglo-Swiss team has been powered by a Toyota V8 for the last 4 seasons but will not continue the relationship into this season.. The privater team has yet to name an engine supplier for 2015. When team principle Bart Hayden was asked about the Subject, he said “All I can say is that when we looked at the marketplace, we were surprised at the number of options. There is Judd with a V8 or a V10, the AER turbo V6 and the V8 developed by Neil Brown, as well as options from Honda Performance Development and Cosworth.” Hayden went on to say that the engine supplier may not be announced on the fifth of February. The late engine call may cause the team to miss the 6 hours of Silvertstone.
Finally, the Japanese team by the name SARD have announced a return to international motorsport for the first time since 1997, in a partnership with European Le Mans Series competitors, Morand. The team will run two Morgan LMP2 EVOs, powerd by a 3.6 litre Judd/BMW V8. Out of the six available seats, four drivers have been named for this season. 2014 Morand ELMS driver, Christan Klien and a familer face in the Super GT paddock, Koki Saga, with the third driver yet to be named. Pierre Ragues will drive in the second car alongside 2014 ELMS champion, Oliver Webb. The team will run Dunlop tires.
Toyota Image and Source – Toyota
Rebellion Image – Walter Schruff
Rebellion Source – AUTOSPORT
Lotus Image – Walter Schruff
Lotus Source – FIA WEC
SARD-Morand Image and Source – AUTOSPORT