The field for the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship is continuing to shape up ahead of the collective pre-season ‘prologue’ test at Paul Ricard later this month following a series of announcements in the LMP2 class.
The WEC paddock will come together for the first time in 2016 at Paul Ricard on March 25 and 26 for five sessions of running ahead of the opening race of the year at Silverstone on April 17.
Here’s a run-down of the recent WEC news as the countdown to the beginning of the new season continues.
CANAL JOINS GREAVES MOTORSPORT FOR ELMS, LE MANS
Defending LMP2 WEC champion Julien Canal has moved from G-Drive to Greaves Motorsport for the 2016 European Le Mans Series campaign.
Canal won the LMP2 title last year alongside Sam Bird and Roman Rusinov, but will not defend it this year after his move into ELMS. However, he will still race at Le Mans alongside Memo Rojas.
RENE RAST IN AT G-DRIVE
Following Canal’s move to Greaves and Bird’s switch to AF Corse in GTE Pro, G-Drive announced earlier this week that Audi driver Rene Rast would be joining its line-up for the full WEC season.
Rast enjoyed an impressive outing in the third Audi LMP1 car at Le Mans last year, but the German marque has cut back to two entries for 2016. Rast joins Nathanael Berthon and Rusinov in the no. 26 entry.
RICHELMI TO MAKE WEC DEBUT WITH SIGNATECH ALPINE
Former GP2 driver Stephane Richelmi will make his debut in the FIA WEC this year with Signatech Alpine after the French team completed its line-up for 2016.
Richelmi left single-seaters at the end of 2014 and spent much of last year racing in the Blancpain GT Series, but will now move into endurance racing full-time.
The Monegasque racer will race alongside Nicolas Lapierre and Gustavo Menezes in the no. 36 entry this year, while the outgoing Nelson Panciatici has moved to the no. 35 DC Racing team.
ENTRY LIST SET FOR PAUL RICARD PROLOGUE
The entry list for the pre-season Prologue at Paul Ricard has been released by the FIA, featuring 29 of the 32 cars signed up for the full WEC season.
Audi and Toyota are both only taking one LMP1 car to Paul Ricard, while Aston Martin Racing is doing the same in GTE Pro with its Vantage car.
“The Prologue has now become an established part of the WEC calendar and is greatly anticipated by both media and fans alike,” series CEO Gerard Neveu said.
“Our manufacturer partners and teams take this opportunity to reveal their 2016 cars to a growing number of international media each year, and of course it is the first chance for all the competitors to test themselves against their rivals.
“For fans in France and beyond it is a fantastic event, with an open paddock, autograph session and pit walk on Saturday. The friendly and open spirit of the WEC begins here at The Prologue and we welcome everyone.”
You can see the full entry list here.