5 Reasons Why I Love Endurance Racing (WEC)
For as long as Motorsport has existed, we have had endurance racing. Major races include the Sebring 12 Hours, Le Mans 24 hours and the VLN Series. These are all long-distance events lasting well over the normal time of a Grand Prix. Despite being so long and being focused on safe and intelligent driving, this sort of race is rapidly gaining in popularity making the big endurance races just as closely followed as Formula One.
So, let’s go over the main points that make endurance racing so attractive to spectators.
• Firstly, the cars involved in this extreme form of racing have to be specially adapted for long distance driving. In fact, just like when doing a long-distance roadtrip, a driver will get tired and start to concentrate less. At the end of each stint then, you may see the fatigue get to the drivers as they make small mistakes passing a slower car. To avoid these errors, the cars are fit with funky lights allowing the public to look into the cockpits.
• That leads us on to the next point, Traffic. As the races go on, cars tend to spread out more and more. This creates the great spectacle of seeing the faster cars lap the slower ones. Many championships make this even more of a feature with the inclusion of different classes. This means that you could see a BMW M6 GT3 overtaking a Porsche Cayman GT4 and a Peugeot TCR all at the same time. For example, the Kreventic and VLN series both have the implementation of fast and slower cars. This applies to the faster endurance racing as well. As we all know, the Le Mans 24Hours is a multiclass race but with cars a lot faster than a GT3 car.
• Endurance racing isn’t all about the racing in itself. In fact, over a 12 or 24-hour period, the cars will be pitting many times for tyres and fuel making the strategy extremely important. For those following the race in their own home therefore, it’s always interesting to follow the ongoing strategies using a second screen analysing lap-times, tyre wear, tracking the stint lengths of each car or even as a track map if the race broadcasters are showing it.
• If you decided to go to the track instead of spending the night on your sofa and watch the race live. You are in for a treat. Most endurance events aren’t only about the goings on on-track. At least the bigger events always have what seems to be a festival going on all-round the track. With concerts, fair grounds, parties and car shows, you would be forgiven if you only watch the beginning and end of the race.
• Last but not least, as Formula One gets more and more secretive and expensive, endurance racing seems to be going against this movement making the tracks and paddocks more accessible for the average Joe. Thanks to cheaper ticket prices and more open garages and paddocks, endurance race organisers are helping get the next generation of Motorsport fans interested in the sport.
If you don’t believe me, check out some of these highlight videos from this weekends Fuji 6hr.
Also, check out this amazing battle between the two top teams of the 2017 WEC round at the Circuit Of The Americas (COTA).
If you haven’t already, check out the next major endurance race. If you decide to go in person, check out everything happening around the track as well get some epic shots of the different classes racing each other. If you decide to watch from the comfort of your own home. Let’s see if you can stay up all night following the race. If you are already a fan, what have I missed out?