An increasing Hypercar grid, a new class and an expanded calendar hint at what is expected to be an extremely competitive season in the FIA World Endurance Championship when it begins with the Official Prologue in Qatar on February 24-25 in Qatar.
Nineteen Hypercars are expected to line up on the grid at the start of the season, up from the thirteen that ran at various points during the 2023 campaign that concluded in Bahrain on November 4.
The growing Hypercar field has brought an unfortunate end to the LMP2 category, with the grid reducing to just two classes for full-time racing in 2024 and the overall maximum grid size of 37 now set for the full-time championship.
LMP2 will still be in action in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Competitors, including Toyota Gazoo Racing, Hertz Team Jota, Porsche Penske Motorsport, Cadillac Racing, Ferrari AF Corse, Proton Competition and Peugeot TotalEnergies, will return to the Hypercar class and will be joined by several new manufacturers to make for the largest grid size in the class since its inception in 2021 following the demise of the LMP1 class.
New Zealand’s four-time champion Brendon Hartley will look to defend his crown with Toyota, while Earl Bamber rejoins the Chip Ganassi-backed Cadillac entry.
Lamborghini Iron Lynx will field the new Lamborghini SC63, which began testing in August and has shown pace expected to challenge the front-runners. Former Formula 1 driver Daniil Kvyat joins Formula E competitor Edoardo Mortara and LMP2 star Mirko Bortolotti at the outfit.
BMW also join the fold through their BMW M Team WRT team, entering a pair of BMW M Hybrid V8s into the grade. Endurance racing specialist Dries Vanthoor is confirmed to helm the #15 entry, while 2022 DTM champion Sheldon van der Linde will control the #20. The second and third drivers for both entries are yet to be confirmed.
Alpine Endurance Team also enters a pair of their new Alpine A424s, a 3.4L Turbo V6. They, too, are relying on former Formula 1 talent behind the wheel, with Mick Schumacher joining Charles Milesi and Nicolas Lapierre in the #36, while Paul-Loup Chatin races alongside Ferdinand Habsburg and Matthieu Vaxiviere in the #35.
Luxury Italian manufacturer Isotta Fraschini rounds out the new teams in the series, their Isotta Fraschini Tipo 6 LMH-C running a 3.0L Turbo V6 in the hands of Alex Garcia and Jean-Karl Vernay.
A third Le Mans-winning Ferrari 499P will join the grid through AF Corse, with Robert Kubica the sole driver confirmed.
Hertz Team Jota expands to run a second Porsche 963, a car that features across 5 of the grid’s 19 entries.
The new-look LMGT3 class features a diverse range of machinery, with Aston Martin, BMW, Ferrari, McLaren, Lamborghini, Ford, Lexus, Chevrolet and Porsche represented.
Teams are now limited to a maximum of two entries to promote diversity in the class, with priority given to manufacturers running Hypercars.
The season features eight rounds, one more than 2023, following the introduction of the Qatar 1812km at Losail International Circuit, which begins the season on March 2.
The 6 Hours of Sao Paulo at Interlagos returns after a 10-year absence, while Italy’s round moves from Monza to Imola. The 1000 Miles of Sebring is another event discontinued, replaced by Lone Star Le Mans at Circuit of the Americas on September 1.
The 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, 6 Hours of Fuji, 8 Hours of Bahrain and 24 Hours of Le Mans are rounds remaining on the calendar.
2024 WEC Calendar
|Official Prologue (Qatar)
|6 Hours of Imola
|6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps
|24 Hours of Le Mans
|6 Hours of Sao Paulo
|Lone Star Le Mans
|6 Hours of Fuji
|8 Hours of Bahrain