This weekend the FIA World Endurance Championship will make its first ever appearance at the world-famous Autodromo Nazionale di Monza. Here are a few things to watch out for at the third round of the 2021 WEC season.
Return to a classic circuit
There’s no doubt that Monza is one of the most historic circuits in the world of motorsport. Even the most casual of fans will recognise names such as Curva Parabolica, Curve di Lesmo or Curva Grande, or recall the famous banking on the old circuit.
The WEC has only ever made a stop at Monza on its calendar for the pre-season Prologue (in 2017), but has never raced here before. Although a firm fixture of the ELMS calendar for the past few years, the 6 Hours of Monza will be the first time that top-level prototypes have raced at the Italian track since 2008!
For a taster of what to expect, Audi once famously tested their R18 e-tron quattro in Le Mans trim without the Rettifilo chicane in place – with impressive results. Even though the chicane will be firmly in place for Sunday’s race for safety reasons, we certainly can’t wait to see the Hypercars at one of the fastest tracks in the world.
Teams gear up for Le Mans
Monza’s long straights and flowing corners will give WEC teams the perfect opportunity to prepare for the 24 Hours of Le Mans on the weekend of 21-22 August. In the background, teams of engineers will be keeping a close eye on the data to make sure they can eke out every last bit of performance ahead of the season highlight.
Peugeot in the paddock
Peugeot recently made a splash by unveiling its 2022 WEC challenger, the Peugeot 9X8. It will be on display this weekend in the paddock, giving the WEC teams and drivers their first glimpse of what’s to come in the Hypercar class. A public display is said to be planned for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Fans back trackside
The 6 Hours of Monza will also mark the return of spectators to the WEC for the first time since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. The last time fans were permitted to attend a WEC race was at the 2020 Lone Star Le Mans event at Circuit of the Americas in February 2020.
Italian teams have long been firm fixtures of the WEC. Finally, teams bearing il Tricolore on their cars get to experience the WEC in Monza in the ninth season of competition.
All eyes will be on AF Corse in GTE Pro as well as the all-Italian Cetilar Racing outfit in GTE Am, both of whom won their classes last time out in Portugal. Who knows, maybe Il Canto degli Italiani will ring out on the podium at the end of six hours of hard racing?
Glickenhaus with two-car entry and new drivers
Glickenhaus Racing is the latest entrant to the WEC’s Hypercar class. The US-flagged team made its debut with one of its Glickenhaus 007 LMHs in Portimao, but will bring two cars to the next round at Monza.
Luis Felipe Derani, Gustavo Menezes, Olivier Pla and Franck Mailleux will all make their Hypercar debuts for Glickenhaus, joining Romain Dumas and Richard Westbrook who competed at round two in Portimao.
Project 1 return to full strength
Project 1 made a fateful start to the 2021 season at Spa with two pre-race shunts that saw the team retire from the event entirely. One car made the journey to southern Portugal for round two, and in Monza the German team will be back to full strength with its two-car entry.
Dennis Olsen, Anders Buchardt and Axcil Jeffries will make their long-awaited first appearances of the season in the #46 Porsche 911 RSR-19.
The weekend timetable and the entry list can be viewed here on our race page.