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FIA grants WEC GTE class World Championship status from 2017

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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.”

Kubica, di Resta complete Williams F1 tests in Hungary

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Robert Kubica and Paul di Resta have both completed one-day tests for Williams in a 2014-spec Formula 1 car as part of the team’s evaluation for its 2018 line-up.

Williams is known to be considering a number of drivers to partner Lance Stroll at the team next year, including existing racer Felipe Massa.

Massa is thought to be going up against Kubica and di Resta for the 2018 drive, with the latter duo taking part in a private test at the Hungaroring in Budapest this week to aid the team’s evaluation.

After missing out on a 2018 Renault drive due to lingering questions about his physical condition six years after his rally accident, Kubica tested for Williams at Silverstone last week before getting back behind the wheel of the 2014 FW36 car in Hungary on Tuesday.

Kubica’s test was called “productive” by Williams, with the Pole handing duties over to Mercedes DTM racer di Resta on Wednesday.

Di Resta raced in F1 with Force India between 2010 and 2013 before returning to DTM, but made a surprise return at this year’s Hungarian Grand Prix with Williams when Massa was taken ill. Di Resta impressed on short notice, putting himself in contention for a full-time return to F1 in 2018.

Williams has one of the few remaining seats on offer in F1 for 2018, with Massa’s future known to be in question after a quiet campaign thus far.

The Brazilian had been due to retire from F1 at the end of last year, only for Williams to recall him after Valtteri Bottas’ late move up to Mercedes following Nico Rosberg’s surprise retirement.

Massa has made clear he would like to keep racing in F1 next year, but only if the deal is right and if Williams is determined to keep him.

While Massa, Kubica and di Resta appear to be the three leading contenders for the seat, Williams technical chief Paddy Lowe made clear in Japan there was a “large range” of drivers under consideration.

“You’ve probably seen a number of names that are floating around that we’re looking at, but honestly, the range is almost unlimited,” Lowe said.

“We will consider all ideas. We’re not in a super hurry to do so, and we’ll just make sure we land the best line-up we can.”