50 days before the start of the 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours the countdown has begun to the blue riband event of the FIA World Endurance Championship. The 35 cars entered in the WEC will do battle one last time tomorrow in the Spa-Francorchamps 6 Hours before the big event on 22-23 June.
The Audi team, which kicked off the first round of the FIA World Endurance Championship with a double on the Silverstone circuit on 14th April with Duval-Kristensen-McNish leading home Trluyer-Lotterer-Fssler will be up against stiffer opposition in Belgium. The German manufacturers main rival, Toyota, will be running the 2013 version of the TS030 for the first time as in England the two cars were 2012 models. The Japanese manufacturer is expecting a lot from its latest LM P1 challenger driven by Wurz-Lapierre-Nakajima. To neutralize this threat Audi has entered a third R18 e-tron quattro so the team is already in Le Mans mode.
Strakka Racing, unlucky at Silverstone, and Rebellion Racing complete the LM P1 field of eight cars.
Eleven LM P2s will go head-to-head on the Ardennes roller-coaster. The Chinese team KCMGs Morgan seen at Silverstone will be absent, but there are two newcomers: the Gulf-Racing Lola-Nissan and the Jota Zytek-Nissan. Delta-ADR Racing is out to continue its successful streak after its win at Silverstone with its Oreca 03-Nissan driven by Graves-Pizzonia-Walker. To achieve this it will have to fight of the very quick OAK Racing Morgan-Nissans led by Pla-Heinemeier Hansson-Alex Brundle, second on 14th April.
Seven cars will go at it hammer and tongs in LM GTE Pro, one more that at the start of the season. Aston Martin Racing, which scored a dominant victory on home soil thanks to Turner-Mcke-Senna from the Kobyashi-Vilander Ferrari, is entering a third V8 Vantage (no. 98) for Makowiecki-Senna-Bell having reshuffled its driver line-ups. The English team will have to watch out for the two works Ferrari F458 Italias and the two works Porsche 911 RSRs.
As in Pro, Aston Martin won in LM GTE Am in England thanks to Nygaard-Poulsen-Simonsen from the Larbre Competition Corvette. They will join battle again while fighting off the attacks of a horde of dangerous rivals led by the Imsa Performance Matmut Porsche and the 8 Star Motorsport and Krohn Racing Ferraris. Note that AF Corse is entering a second Ferrari F458 in Belgium, no. 54, driven by Mallegol-Bachilier-Blank.
After 4 hours free practice today Friday, qualifying will take place this evening from 18h50-20h00 local time. The start of the Spa-Francorchamps 6 Hours will be given at 14h30 tomorrow (Saturday).