The GTE class of the FIA World Endurance Championship has been granted World Championship status by the FIA ahead of the 2017 season.
Through the first five seasons of the WEC, official World Championship titles were only afforded to the winning drivers and team in the LMP1 class.
However, following a push for recognition of the class by the series officials, the GTE Pro class – which has been a ‘World Cup’ up to now – will now also become a World Championship.
The decision was confirmed by the FIA following the latest meeting of the World Motor Sport Council in Vienna.
“The World Motor Sport Council approved the proposal to upgrade the status of the GTE class. This class has previously been run as a World Cup within the WEC,” a statement from the FIA reads.
“From 2017, the new title will be the FIA World Endurance Championship for GTE Drivers and Manufacturers.
“This has been decided due to the increase of GTE manufacturer involvement in the Championship, as well as improvements in professionalism and car performance.”
The WMSC also approved the decision to freeze the technical regulations for the LMP1 class of the WEC until the end of the 2019 season.
“The Technical Regulations originally scheduled to be introduced for the LMP1-Hybrid class in 2018, have now been postponed until 2020,” the statement read.
“As a result, the 2017 Technical Regulations will be enforced for the 2018 and 2019 seasons.”
Juncos Racing continued to bolster its entries in the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires by signing Carlos Cunha to pilot a third Juncos Pro Mazda entry for 2018. Cunha, who finished third in the 2017 Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda season on the back of seven podium finishes, joins Rinus VeeKay and Robert Megennis in Juncos’ Pro Mazda lineup for 2018.
Cunha previously tested with the team at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in October and joined Juncos for the Chris Griffis Memorial test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in November, testing cars for both the Pro Mazda and Indy Lights Presented by Cooper Tires teams.
“It’s great to become a part of Juncos Racing,” said the 18-year-old Cunha. “I am really excited to start the 2018 season with Juncos Racing. This fall we did some testing together and from there I was able to see how focused everyone on the team is and I even felt like I became a part of their family in no time. I am confident we will get great results together next year and I look forward to learning and growing more with the team. It will be a huge pleasure and also a great responsibility to carry the number one on my car, thanks to (2017 Pro Mazda champion Victor Franzoni) and I hope to deliver it back to the team at the end of the year!”
Team owner Ricardo Juncos added, “We are excited to add Carlos to our Pro Mazda lineup. From the moment we started testing with him in early October, we knew he would be a great fit for our team. Carlos has been very quick in testing and even had an impressive showing in the Indy Lights car at the Chris Griffis test back in October. He had a great run this past season in the Pro Mazda series and we are confident he will carry that momentum into the 2018 season.”