If the centenary edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans is anything to go by, fans should be in for a treat with multi-car fights for victory at the remaining 2023 World Endurance Championship rounds – starting with the 6 Hours of Monza.
Ferrari may have stolen the headlines by defeating Toyota in a thrilling head-to-head for the win at the Circuit de la Sarthe, but so many more among the Hypercar ranks had their days in the sun with star turns at the front of the field.
That Ferrari triumph, for the #51 499P, was significant not just in the context of the 24 Hours of Le Mans and its return to the top class at the race, but also in the fight at the front of this year’s WEC field.
Not only did it mark the first non-Toyota victory of the season, it helped the winning crew of Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado and Antonio Giovinazzi to rise to second in the points, behind the #8 Toyota crew of Sebastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley and Ryo Hirakawa they defeated.
With both of those manufacturers’ sister cars hitting trouble – the #7 Toyota was eliminated in a clash in the night and the polesitting #50 Ferrari lost five laps to repairs – Cadillac made it three manufacturers in the top three positions, with the #2 Cadillac V-Series.R crew of Earl Bamber, Alex Lynn and Richard Westbrook continuing their ultra-consistent start to the WEC season with a first podium of the campaign.
Add in sportcar powerhouses Peugeot and Porsche – which both ended Le Mans without headline results but both showed impressive turns of pace and spent time at the front of the field – plus independents Glickenhaus, which took a credible sixth and seventh at Le Mans, and Vanwall, and all the ingredients are there for a highly competitive race at Monza.
And there’s a new name on the Hypercar entry list, too – as the Proton team will field its Porsche 963 for the first time at the Temple of Speed. Gianmaria Bruni, Neel Jani and Harry Tincknell will race the #99 car as Proton becomes the second outfit to field a customer 963 in the WEC, joining the Jota squad that had a brief spell in the lead at Le Mans – having started 60th.
The state of play is no less intense heading to Monza in the LMP2 division, where the leading two teams are separated by just four points.
The Inter Europol Competition squad took victory at Le Mans – its first win in the championship – despite a complicated route to the top step of the podium that included driver Fabio Scherer having his foot run over during an early pitstop and the car having to serve a drive-through penalty for overtaking under a safety car.
That crew of Scherer, Albert Costa and Jakub Smiechowski are right behind the WRT line-up of Rui Andrade, Robert Kubica and Louis Deletraz in the points after they finished runners-up at Le Mans, while United Autosports’ #22 and #23 cars are third and fourth in the standings respectively.
The Corvette Racing team’s incredible start to the GTE Am season continued at the 24 Hours of Le Mans as it secured its third class win from four 2023 races, but its path to victory was no straightforward task either as Ben Keating, Nicky Catsburg and Nico Varrone fought back from two laps down, having been forced to replace a damper in the early stages of the race.
The trio’s remarkable run of form also includes a runner-up finish in the TotalEnergies 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps in May, but they still face stiff competition at Monza from a chasing pack including Aston Martin, Ferrari and Porsche outfits.
You can find ticket information for the 6 Hours of Monza, which takes place July 9, on the WEC’s official website here.
The WEC has also released a brand-new app for fans who are unable to attend Monza to follow the action from at home.