The FIA World Endurance Championship has confirmed the field for the 2023 season. In a breakthrough year for the series’ top category, no less than 13 cars will competing for the full season in Hypercar. Together with 11 entries in LMP2 and 14 cars in GTE Am, a total of 38 entries are included on the WEC entry list for 2023.
Hypercar enters brave new world
The Hypercar class sees the largest year-on-year increase in entry numbers, jumping from 6 in 2022 to 13 for 2023. New manufacturers include the likes of Porsche, Ferrari, Cadillac and Vanwall.
Cars built to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship’s LMDh regulations are now eligible to compete in the FIA WEC. The new prototypes will race alongside existing Hypercars constructed to the LMH ruleset, such as the Toyota GR010 Hybrid and the Peugeot 9X8, with performance-balancing used to strike a competitive balance.
New names, new faces
Porsche marks its return to the top class of the FIA WEC with a pair of works Porsche 963s entered by Porsche Penske Motorsport. Porsche won the WEC manufacturers’ title with the 919 Hybrid on three occasions, in 2017, 2016 and 2015.
The 963 has been built to LMDh regulations and will be making its competitive debut at the Rolex 24 at Daytona on the last weekend of January.
Not only will Porsche’s full-works programme be present on the 2023 grid, customer teams will also be racing the new 963. These include LMP2 stalwarts JOTA, who have partnered with car rental sponsors Hertz to run as Hertz Team Jota in 2023, and Proton Competition.
The return of the Prancing Horse
Ferrari is back in top-class endurance racing for the first time in a generation with its 499P Hypercar, two of which are included on the WEC entry list for 2023. All eyes will certainly be on the biggest name in motorsport as the Maranello-based manufacturer attempts to win a title it last won in 1972.
The programme will be managed by long-time Ferrari partners AF Corse, with some major names in GT racing making the step up to prototypes for the new season. Car #50 will be driven by Antonio Fuoco, Miguel Molina and Nicklas Nielsen, while #51 will be piloted by Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado and erstwhile Formula 1 driver Antonio Giovinazzi.
Cadillac bringing the American muscle, Vanwall with Villeneuve
Cadillac has a storied history at the 24 Hours of Le Mans but has yet to compete in the FIA World Endurance Championship. That is all set to change in 2023, with the US manufacturer entering a single Cadillac V-LMDh for the full WEC season.
A brand-new name on the 2023 entry list is the #4 Vanwall Vandervell 680 entered by Floyd Vanwall Racing Team. The outfit formerly known as ByKolles Racing Team had built and developed a new LMH machine for the 2022 season but were hampered by rights issues and refused an entry.
With the series organisers apparently convinced that the problems have been rectified, the team are on the full-season entry for 2023. Drivers Tom Dillmann and Esteban Guerrieri will be joined by former F1 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve.
Familiar names back for 2023.
Reigning champions Toyota return with a pair of GR010-Hybrids and no changes to their driver line-up compared to 2022. Sébastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley and Ryo Hirakawa will be looking to defend their drivers’ championship in the #8 machine, while the established trio of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez will pilot the #7.
Peugeot have spent the winter testing extensively in an attempt to iron out the difficulties that plagued their 2022 campaign. The French manufacturer has another two-car, full-season programme for 2023. Paul Di Resta, Mikkel Jensen and Jean-Éric Vergne are set to drive the #93 and Loic Duval, Gustavo Menezes and Nico Müller are entered as the full-season crew for the #94.
Glickenhaus Racing are another familiar name on the 2023 entry list, with a single Glickenhaus 007 entered for Jim Glickenhaus’ outfit and Romain Dumas named as the first confirmed driver for the #708.
11 cars in LMP2
The LMP2 entry has understandably shrunk in 2023, as teams like Jota make the step up to racing Hypercar machinery. Still, what it lacks in numbers it more than makes up for in quality.
Despite their Hypercar commitments, JOTA are back to defend their LMP2 title alongside the likes of Prema, Vector Sport, United Autosports, Team WRT and Inter Europol Competition. Alpine ELF Matmut also rejoin the LMP2 category in anticipation of Alpine’s Hypercar entry in 2024.
14 GTE Am cars in class’ swansong
GTE Am features a strong field in what will be the final season of GTE machinery in world sportscar racing. All four major manufacturers, Ferrari, Aston Martin, Porsche and Corvette, in one form or another. Notable names include Corvette Racing, who are partnering with Ben Keating for 2023, and the Iron Dames crew, who will be pushing for race wins in 2023 following a successful second half of 2022.
The full entry list can be found here.