The motor sports off season has been full of news for many series but I’ve been really interested in the ALMS/Le Mans/World Endurance Championship news. I can’t wait for the 2012 season to begin, especially the 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans!
The battle for overall victory at the 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans is shaping up to be a fight between Hybrids. Peugeot and Audi will both be running diesel Hybrids; Peugeot’s 908 Hybrid4 is reported to use lithium battery storage while the Audi R18H is rumored to use a flywheel system. Not much is known about the R18H system, but a flywheel system would make sense. Audi’s head of engine technology Ulrich Baretzky is known to oppose battery storage and Audi’s sister subsidiary under the Volkswagen Group, Porsche, has been using a flywheel system successfully in it’s 911 GT3 R Hybrid. A third hybrid could join them in the fight for the overall victory in the form of the gasoline powered hybrid car it will campaign with Oreca.
Additionally, it appears that for Le Mans and for the WEC there will be a good number of conventional gasoline cars including Strakka, Rebellion Racing, and Oak. Speed’s John Dagys is predicting between 9-11 entries for LMP1 and between 8-10 entries for LMP2 in the WEC, including US based Level 5 Motorsports. Among the GT ranks for the WEC, he’s predicting 6-8 GTE Pro and 4-6 GTE Am teams.
The 2012 ALMS Season is also shaping up to be a good one. The LMP1 class may once again be a two team show, but it appears that Dyson may be upgrading to newer Lola chassis and Muscle Milk will be going with HPD instead of the grandfathered Lola Aston Martin they used in 2011. LMP2 should be competitive with with Level 5 Motorsport being joined by form GTC competitor Black Swan Racing and a new LMP2 effort from IndyCar team Conquest racing. It is also possible that former IndyCar team Newman Haas and GrandAm GT team Dempsey racing could enter LMP2 cars in 2012. In GT, BMW Team RLL, Flying Lizard, and Team Falken Tire are returning and Corvette Racing is almost sure to return. BMW’s 2012 effort will be without standout driver Joey Hand, who will be a works driver with BMW in DTM in 2012 and Flying Lizard will be racing the 2012 Porsche GT3 RSR. While Risi Competizione’s return for 2012 is in doubt, Extreme Speed’s Ferraris will return. As far as new teams go, it has been reported that Aston Martin may possibly be moving to GT in 2012.
To keep up with all the latest in the ALMS as well as WEC, Le Mans, GrandAm, and other sports car series, give Speed’s John Dagys a follow on Twitter. Information from his tweets and articles on the Speed website are fueling my anticipation of the 2012 sports car season!