Written by Evan Veer, Edited by Vyas Ponnuri
The provisional entry list for the 2023 World Endurance Championship (WEC) season has been revealed, giving us an insight into the future of the championship. The list spans 38 full-season entries across three classes following the end of GTE-PRO, and this change has left room to expand for the Hypercar class in particular, entries for which have more than doubled from six entries last year to thirteen on this season’s list.
Among the new entrants, we have the heavily-anticipated factory efforts from Porsche, and of course, Ferrari, who recently announced their driver lineup featuring stars from their GT efforts, as well as Antonio Giovanazzi, fielding two cars each. Additionally, Chip Ganassi Racing will be bringing a single Cadillac V-LMDH to the championship, in order to open up the opportunity to bring over more Cadillacs for Le Mans. Fellow Americans Glickenhaus are planning on coming back for the first rounds until Le Mans, with intentions of once again doubling up with a second entry for Le Mans.
Perhaps the most surprising name on the entry list is the #4 Floyd Vanwall, entered by ByKolles, as the situation around their controversial legal battle over the Vanwall trademark still remains unclear. Notably the team’s lineup features 1997 Formula 1 world champion Jacques Villeneuve, the Canadian having tested the car for the first time last year.
The last two Hypercars on the list are the first customer Porsche 963’s, the #38 Hertz Team JOTA, and the #99 Proton Competition, although these cars will only arrive later in the season, as Porsche currently does not have the cars available.
Notably absent from the list is newcomer Isotta Fraschini with their Tipo 6 LMH-C, but the team and their partners at the current LMP2 team Vector Sport are hoping to enter on a race-by-race basis, starting from the 6 Hours of Monza.
According to dailysportscar.com, we could be looking at a potential 18 car strong Hypercar grid for centenary Le Mans this year, as on top of the 13 full season entries, we will have at least one extra Cadillac from Action Express racing, and Glickenhaus have confirmed their intentions to request a second slot. Meanwhile, the likes of Porsche Penske, Chip Ganassi Racing, and Vanwall could all realistically ask for an additional entry as well.
Alpine are taking a step down to LMP2 for the season, while awaiting the debut of their new LMDh prototype for next season, in preparation for which they will be doubling up to a two- car effort with their long-standing partner Signatech.
After a successful debut season, Prema is set to field a second Oreca 07 in the WEC, in preparation for a 2024 Lamborghini Hypercar campaign with partners Iron Lynx. The team has already secured F2 driver Juan-Manuel Correa in the returning #9, and an upcoming female talent Doriane Pin in the new #63, and Endurance Info have even linked former Red Bull F1 driver Daniil Kvyat to the team as well, after his 2022 LMP2 plans fell through due to the war in Ukraine.
The remainder of the LMP2 field is comprised of two-car efforts from WRT and United Autosports, as well as single cars from JOTA, Vector Sport, and Inter Europol Competition, leaving an 11-car strong field for the final year of LMP2 competition in the WEC before the class is removed to make space for the expanding Hypercar class, as well as the new GT3-based class, which is set to replace GTE. This won’t be a problem for most LMP2 teams, as all of them have plans in place to move their entries to the Hypercar class for 2024, with the exception of Inter Europol, and notably, United Autosports, who seem to be standing by for the long awaited McLaren LMDh which would likely arrive by 2025, if the project is finally approved.
GTE-AM’s final year sees the return of many familiar faces, albeit with a few major changes. Firstly, the Iron Lynx and Iron Dames efforts have moved away from their familiar Ferraris, as they enter into a new partnership with Lamborghini. Since there is no Lamborghini GTE, the team will be spending the final year of GTE competition using the machinery of fellow Volkswagen-owned brand Porsche, in partnership with Proton competition. Proton will also be bringing back their two GTE-AM Dempsey-Proton entries, on top of their Hypercar and Iron Lynx plans, with dailysportscar.com reporting that moviestar Michael Fassbender will be included in the driver roster for the team.
Corvette Racing are taking their C8.R to the GTE-AM category in order to secure a guaranteed slot on the Le Mans grid, with Ben Keating as their required bronze rated driver, meaning that Keating will have raced in every single GTE car that has competed in the WEC, the only exception being that of the BMW M8.
You can check out the full (provisional) entry list here: https://storage.googleapis.com/fiawec-prod/assets/ressources/2022/News/2023/FIAWEC_2023_Provisional_Full_Season_Entry_List_selected_cars_11_01_v2.pdf