The FIA WEC is Born
The inaugural FIA World Endurance Championship was held in 2012, featuring eight rounds across the globe with the 24 Hours of Le Mans forming the centrepiece. The timing was perfect, with Audi and Peugeot set to compete for a genuine manufacturers’ world championship and Toyota returning to the fold for the first time since the early 1990s. However, shortly before the season was due to kick off at Sebring, Peugeot dropped a major bombshell by withdrawing all of its motorsport programs (despite the new-for-2012 908 HY designed, built and ready for testing). It seemed as if the FIA WEC could be doomed to failure before it had even started, but, building on the success of the ILMC, the FIA WEC has gone from strength to strength since that tough first season.
Now almost three years old, the FIA and the ACO have attempted to establish the World Endurance Championship as an independent series rather than joining forces with the (now defunct) ALMS. The calendars have remained largely stable, with the traditional 6-hour races at the likes of Spa, Fuji and Sao Paulo combined with the historic 24 hours around the Circuit de la Sarthe.
Since its revival, the FIA WEC has tempted the likes of Porsche and Nissan to return to top-level prototype racing, while the new series’ LMP2 and GT categories have also thrived. Sportscar racing hasn’t always had the easiest of rides, but, in the FIA World Endurance Championship, the foundations have perhaps been laid for another golden era of multi-class racing.