A number of rules changes have been confirmed for the FIA World Endurance Championship’s 2018/19 ‘super season’ following the latest meeting of the World Motor Sport Council in Paris on Wednesday.
Plans to shake up the WEC and create a 13-month ‘super season’ featuring two runnings of the 24 Hours of Le Mans were confirmed in September following Porsche’s exit from the LMP1 class, with further details being announced following the WMSC meeting.
A new world championship has been confirmed for the LMP1 class, with the existing manufacturers’ title being replaced by a teams’ title.
Toyota is set to be the only manufacturer fielding a factory team in LMP1 next year, but will be joined by a number of privateer teams including SMP Racing, Manor and DragonSpeed.
A points reduction for Le Mans has also been confirmed, with the 24-hour classic currently offering teams double points and having a significant say in the championship races.
For the ‘super season’, both runnings of Le Mans will be worth 1.5 x points, while the 12-hour race at Sebring in March will be worth 1.25 x points.
Teams will also now be permitted to change tires on cars and complete other work during refueling in a bid to create new strategic battles.
The new FIA WEC ‘super season’ gets underway on May 5, 2018 with the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps.
Dublin, Ireland’s Keith Donegan claimed a $200K scholarship from Mazda after emerging victorious at the second annual Mazda Road to Indy Shootout. The 20-year-old Donegan earned an at-large nomination for the scholarship based on his performance at this year’s Formula Ford Festival, in which he finished second in the final, and emerged from a pack of 17 drivers from across the globe to claim the scholarship.
“It really hasn’t hit me yet,” said an emotional Donegan, who earlier in his career actually spent two years away from racing as he focused on academics. “The weekend was really good and I enjoyed it. I have to say a huge thanks to Mazda and Cooper Tires and everyone at the Mazda Road to Indy. I enjoyed every moment. Throughout the weekend we were consistent and I kept the small things in check. I didn’t make any stupid mistakes and kept my head cool and that really paid off in the end.”
The two-day shootout was held at the Bondurant Racing School in Arizona and saw the nominated drivers tackle the school’s 1.6-mile circuit in Formula Mazda race cars before facing on and off-track assessments. Donegan was selected by a panel of judges that included former driver and current Verizon IndyCar Series TV analyst Scott Goodyear, Mazda drivers Tom Long, Andrew Carbonell, and Jonathan Bomarito, as well as Victor Franzoni – the current champion of the Pro Mazda Championship Presented by Cooper Tires – and Oliver Askew, the current champion of the Cooper Tires USF2000 Championship Powered by Mazda.
Donegan was humbled to be in the presence of drivers who have won scholarships and championships previously, and added that he is grateful to have the opportunity to continue his racing career.
“You see all these champions here today that will go on to great things in the future and I’m sure the names you see here today aren’t going to disappear,” Donegan added. “They will be back up there and I’m sure I will be racing them again some day. It is an unbelievable opportunity to be given and for Mazda to provide that for any young driver. It just gives that bit of motivation that you need because the [U.S.] is where you need to go to become a professional these days. It is such a boost to my career.”
Donegan is now slated to join the 2018 USF2000 championship, with further announcements regarding the team with whom he’ll be racing to come in the future.