FIA WEC

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Ferrari confirms Bruni’s exit, signs Pier Guidi to AF Corse WEC team

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Ferrari has confirmed that Gianmaria Bruni will leave the company in June, making way for Alessandro Pier Guidi to join its AF Corse factory team in the FIA World Endurance Championship.

Bruni has been linked with a factory drive at Porsche for some time, with his exit from Ferrari by mutual consent being confirmed on Sunday.

“Ferrari and Gianmaria Bruni announce that, by mutual consent, they have early terminated their relationship,” a statement from Ferrari read.

“After a collaboration started in 2007, Bruni will leave Ferrari at the end of June of this year.

“Ferrari thanks Gianmaria Bruni for his professional contribution and wishes him the best of luck for his new challenges.”

Pier Guidi raced for AF Corse at Le Mans last year in the GTE Pro class, and also took part in five rounds of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2016 with Scuderia Corsa. The Italian also won the Rolex 24 at Daytona’s GTD class in 2014 driving a Ferrari 458 Italia.

Pier Guidi will race alongside James Calado in the No. 51 Ferrari 488 GTE in the WEC this season, leaving the second line-up of Sam Bird and Davide Rigon unchanged.

The new WEC season begins on April 16 at Silverstone in England.

Lopez to prioritize ‘dream’ Toyota LMP1 commitments over Formula E

BUENOS AIRES, ARGENTINA - FEBRUARY 6:  In this handout image supplied by Formula E, Jose Maria Lopez (WTCC Champion - Citreon) during the Buenos Aires Formula E race at Puerto Madero Street Circuit on February 6, 2016 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. (Photo by Sam Bloxham/LAT/Formula E via Getty Images)
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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – Jose Maria Lopez is set to miss July’s Formula E double header in New York after prioritizing his new role with Toyota in the FIA World Endurance Championship over other commitments.

Lopez won three straight WTCC titles between 2014 and 2016 with Citroen before moving into Formula E with the French manufacturer’s sub-brand DS and the Virgin Racing team.

Toyota confirmed at the beginning of February that Lopez would be joining its full-season WEC line-up for 2017, replacing Stephane Sarrazin in the No. 8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid for 2017.

Lopez spoke warmly of the opportunity with Toyota, saying that he wants to learn as much as possible during his maiden WEC season, and confirmed that it will be put before all other duties in 2017.

As a result, Lopez is poised to miss the two Formula E races in New York on July 16 while he is at the Nürburgring for the WEC six hour race.

“The only race we’re going to have some problems where there is going to be a clash for the moment if they don’t find a solution is New York and Nürburgring,” Lopez told NBC Sports.

“My priority is Toyota LMP1 this year. I’m going to be racing for sure in the Nürburgring if there is a clash.

“It’s been a dream for me to become an LMP1 driver and race at the 24 Hours of Le Mans especially and the WEC. I’m really looking forward to the first race and first testing.

“My idea is to learn as much as I can and get on a good level with my teammates and get a good season.”

Lucas di Grassi ‘likely’ to make Le Mans, WEC appearances in 2017

Lucas di Grassi
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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – Lucas di Grassi says that he is “likely” to race in this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans despite Audi’s withdrawal from the FIA World Endurance Championship at the end of 2016.

Di Grassi previously balanced duties between Audi’s LMP1 team and with its affiliated ABT Schaeffler operation in Formula E, with the latter now becoming his priority for 2017.

A number of drivers involved in both WEC and Formula E face dilemmas over which to prioritize later in the year.

Most notably, the New York Formula E double-header clashes with WEC’s visit to the Nürburgring, ruling out a number of drivers from the electric event including Sebastien Buemi, Jose Maria Lopez and Sam Bird.

Di Grassi believes it will be hard for Formula E to avoid clashing with other series as it expands, and thinks that drivers will need to fully commit to the championship down the line.

“With Formula E expanding, I think it will be hard not to have clashes in the future. I hope there are no clashes,” di Grassi told NBC Sports.

“For me with Audi, they told me: ‘The priority is Formula E. If you want to do one or two other races, you can.’ They even told me if you want to do WEC, you can, but the priority is Formula E. You have to miss the WEC.

“It’s a very clear, straightforward view for us, for ABT Schaeffler Audi Sport. For the team the priority is Formula E. That I understand and I agree that Formula E is getting to a level where it is getting very complicated, very detail oriented, so you need to focus on that.”

When asked if he would be racing at Le Mans and making other WEC appearances, di Grassi said it was “likely”.

“My interest is in the Pro categories. Either LMP1 or GTE Pro,” di Grassi added.

“I think GTE is the future. P1, you have very little cars, only two manufacturers. For GTE the tendency is to grow. GTE is very interesting in a career point of view.

“But still to be discussed if Audi would release me or not to do it.

“But normally Audi understand quite well if I want to do another race in which they don’t compete.”

Simon Trummer joins Manor for 2017 WEC season

Simon Trummer, GP Formula 2 racing driver, poses on June 12, 2012, in Thun, Switzerland. (KEYSTONE/Peter Schneider)

Simon Trummer, Autorennfahrer der Klasse GP 2 posiert am Dienstag 12. Juni 2012 in Thun.  (KEYSTONE/Peter Schneider)
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Manor has confirmed that former GP2 racer Simon Trummer will join its LMP2 line-up for the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship season.

Trummer, 27, raced in GP2 between 2012 and 2015 before turning his attention to sportscar racing, joining ByKolles for the entirety of the 2016 campaign.

Trummer claimed one victory in the LMP1-L class en route to second place in the drivers’ championship, but will now step down to LMP2 with the rebranded CEFC Manor TRS Racing team for 2017.

“I am very grateful to John Booth and Graeme Lowdon for their belief in me. This year a new era begins in LMP2 with new powerful cars that will be significantly quicker and therefore more challenging,” Trummer said.

“To go for podiums in this competitive class is our target. I hope we can put CEFC Manor TRS Racing to the top.

“This team was one of the best in Formula 3 and with a comparably low budget they have also earned a lot of respect in Formula 1. They are real racers.”

Manor chief Lowdon added: “We are very happy to welcome Simon to the team. We have followed Simon’s career through GP3, GP2 and then more recently in LMP1.

“He has a wealth of experience in motorsport including two 24 hours of Le Mans so he is a great fit to our growing driver line up.

“Simon has a very good understanding of WEC so it is great to be working with him. We are looking forward to working together this year and hopefully enjoying some success along the way.”

Trummer joins Tor Graves and Roberto Gonzalez in its two-car LMP2 line-up for 2017, with the remaining three seats set to be filled ahead of the season opener at Silverstone on April 16.

Already a good amount of FIA WEC, Le Mans entry list details are known

LE MANS, FRANCE - JUNE 18:  The Chip Ganassi Racing Team Ford GT of Ryan Briscoe, Scott Dixon and Richard Westbrook leads a pack of cars at the start of the Le Mans 24 Hour race at the Circuit de la Sarthe on June 18, 2016 in Le Mans, France.  (Photo by Ker Robertson/Getty Images)
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The release of the FIA World Endurance Championship and 24 Hours of Le Mans entry lists on Thursday provide full details and car numbers to what have trickled out in announcements over the last couple months.

So while there’s designated drivers that are listed today, that doesn’t mean they’re the only drivers that are known.

By class, here’s a breakdown of what drivers are known for the FIA WEC and Le Mans. Bold drivers are the designated ones from the Le Mans entry list.

LMP1

All that’s left to fill here is the third seat at ByKolles and second and third seats in the third Toyota. For the first time since its WEC arrival in 2012, Toyota has the majority of the entries in LMP1.

1-Porsche LMP Team-Neel Jani/Andre Lotterer/Nick Tandy, Porsche 919 Hybrid
2-Porsche LMP Team-Timo Bernhard/Brendon Hartley/Earl Bamber, Porsche 919 Hybrid
4-ByKolles Racing Team-Robert Kubica/Oliver Webb, ENSO CLM P1/01 NISMO
7-Toyota Gazoo Racing-Mike Conway/Kamui Kobayashi/Jose Maria Lopez, Toyota TS050 Hybrid
8-Toyota Gazoo Racing-Sebastien Buemi/Anthony Davidson/Kazuki Nakajima, Toyota TS050 Hybrid

9-Toyota Gazoo Racing-Stephane Sarrazin, Toyota TS050 Hybrid

LMP2

Gustavo Menezes (Signatech Alpine) and Renger van der Zande (Keating) are two of the names you’d expect to see added here. Manor was a round-robin last year of drivers, while the Jackie Chan DC Racing team now has a technical partnership with Jota Sport.

13-Vaillante Rebellion-Nelson Piquet Jr./Mathias Beche/David Heinemeier Hansson, Oreca 07 Gibson
31-Vaillante Rebellion-Nicolas Prost/Bruno Senna/Julien Canal, Oreca 07 Gibson
24-CEFC Manor TRS Racing-Tor Graves, Oreca 07 Gibson
25-CEFC Manor TRS Racing-Roberto Gonzalez, Oreca 07 Gibson
26-G-Drive Racing-Roman Rusinov/Pierre Thiriet, Oreca 07 Gibson
28-TDS Racing-Francois Perrodo/Emmanuel Collard/Matthieu Vaxviere, Oreca 07 Gibson
35-Signatech Alpine Matmut-Stephane Richelmi, Alpine A470 Gibson
36-Signatech Alpine Matmut-Nicolas Lapierre, Alpine A470 Gibson
37-Jackie Chan DC Racing-David Cheng, Oreca 07 Gibson
38-Jackie Chan DC Racing-Ho-Pin Tung, Oreca 07 Gibson

17-IDEC Sport Racing-Patrice Lafargue, Ligier JS P217 Gibson
21-DragonSpeed-10 Star-Henrik Hedman, Oreca 07 Gibson
22-G-Drive Racing-Memo Rojas, Oreca 07 Gibson
23-Panis Barthez Competition-Fabien Barthez, Ligier JS P217 Gibson
27-SMP Racing-Mikhail Aleshin, Dallara P217 Gibson
29-Racing Team Nederland-Jan Lammers/Rubens Barrichello/Fritz van Eerd, Dallara P217 Gibson
32-United Autosports-William Owen/Hugo de Sadeleer, Ligier JS P217 Gibson
33-Eurasia Motorsport-Chris Hoy, Ligier JS P217 Gibson
34-Tockwith Motorsports-Nigel Moore, Ligier JS P217 Gibson
39-Graff-James Allen, Oreca 07 Gibson
40-Graff-Enzo Guibbert, Oreca 07 Gibson
43-Keating Motorsports-Ben Keating, Riley Mk. 30 Gibson
45-Algarve Pro Racing-Mark Patterson, Ligier JS P217 Gibson
47-Cetilar Villorba Corse-Roberto Lacorte, Dallara P217 Gibson
49-ARC Bratislava-Miro Konopka, Oreca 07 Gibson

GTE PRO

Sam Bird (AF Corse Ferrari), Fred Makowiecki (Porsche) and Giancarlo Fisichella (Risi) are expected back at those places, with Corvette Racing’s Le Mans lineup also rumored to be similar in nature to past ones. Porsche has a number of GTE works drivers it could plug-and-play to fill its two works cars. Gianmaria Bruni’s status within the category arguably remains its biggest question mark at the moment.

51-AF Corse-James Calado, Ferrari 488 GTE
71-AF Corse-Davide Rigon, Ferrari 488 GTE
66-Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK-Stefan Muecke/Olivier Pla/Billy Johnson, Ford GT
67-Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK-Andy Priaulx/Harry Tincknell/Pipo Derani, Ford GT
91-Porsche GT Team-Richard Lietz, Porsche 911 RSR
92-Porsche GT Team-Michael Christensen, Porsche 911 RSR
95-Aston Martin Racing-Nicki Thiim/Marco Sorenson, Aston Martin Vantage
97-Aston Martin Racing-Darren Turner/Jonny Adam, Aston Martin Vantage

63-Corvette Racing-Jan Magnussen, Corvette C7.R
64-Corvette Racing-Oliver Gavin, Corvette C7.R
68-Ford Chip Ganassi Team USA-Joey Hand/Dirk Mueller/Sebastien Bourdais, Ford GT
69-Ford Chip Ganassi Team USA-Ryan Briscoe/Richard Westbrook/Scott Dixon, Ford GT
82-Risi Competizione-Toni Vilander, Ferrari 488 GTE

GTE AM

Quite a lot remains to be filled in in the GTE-Am class, with only a handful of cars having more than just the designated driver listed.

54-Spirit of Race-Thomas Flohr/Francesco Castellacci, Ferrari 488 GTE
61-Clearwater Racing-Mok Weng Sun/Keita Sawa/Matt Griffin, Ferrari 488 GTE
77-Dempsey Proton Racing-Christian Ried, Porsche 911 RSR
86-Gulf Racing-Michael Wainwright, Porsche 911 RSR
98-Aston Martin Racing-Paul Dalla Lana/Pedro Lamy/Mathias Lauda, Aston Martin Vantage

50-Larbre Competition-Ricky Taylor, Corvette C7.R
55-Spirit of Race-Duncan Cameron, Ferrari 488 GTE
60-Clearwater Racing-Matt Griffin, Ferrari 488 GTE
62-Scuderia Corsa-Cooper MacNeil, Ferrari 488 GTE
65-Scuderia Corsa-Christina Nielsen, Ferrari 488 GTE
83-DH Racing-Riccardo Ragazzi, Ferrari 488 GTE
84-JMW Motorsport-Robert Smith, Ferrari F458 Italia
88-Proton Competition-Wolf Henzler, Porsche 911 RSR
90-TF Sport-Salih Yoluc/Euan Hankey/Rob Bell, Aston Martin Vantage
93-Proton Competition-Patrick Long, Porsche 911 RSR
99-Beechdean AMR-Andrew Howard, Aston Martin Vantage