WEC: Ferrari, Aston Martin, Ford and Porsche will enter next year’s Championship in the GTE PRO category, with Chevrolet Corvette joining the field at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Porsche, which has won the 2015 GT Manufacturers’, GTE PRO Team and GT Drivers’ Titles after three years of Ferrari supremacy, will not return with its official squad Manthey Racing, but via Proton Competition. The announcement came despite Proton Competition Team owner Christian Reid had excluded on October the possibility of making the step up to GTE PRO. However last week Head of Porsche Motorsport Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser, interviewed by Sportscar365, said that, if the Manthey Racing programme stopped for 2016, a factory support to Proton Competition would be evaluated. Thus a 991 GT3 RSR will be lined by Proton Competition and two works drivers of the German Constructor will be at the wheel. For sure Ferrari will again support AF Corse, which will bring on track two 488 GTEs, while Ford will be represented on the grid by two GTs managed by Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates. On the Aston Martin front the British Marque has announced it will reduce the number of entries under the Aston Martin Racing banner from five, considering both the GTE PRO and GTE AM classes, to four or three. So far two V8 Vantage GTEs have been confirmed in GTE PRO and one in GTE AM, but Aston Martin is continuing to work for a third possible enrollment in GTE PRO. Furthermore a third 488 GTE could join the ranks thanks to a probable step up of the three times ELMS and 2015 GTE AM Champion Team SMP Racing and also Chevrolet Corvette is interested in a factory support to Larbre Competition for a C7.R. Therefore seven cars from four different Manufacturers are certain to take part in the series in GTE PRO for all the season, but they can potentially increase to ten and bring the number of Constructors involved to five. At the 24 Hours of Le Mans there will be the addition of the two Corvette Racing Chevrolet Corvette C7.Rs and maybe of the two other Chip Ganassi Racing with Felix Sabates Ford GTs competing in the IWSC. Of note the 2015 ELMS GTE Champion Team Formula Racing will receive an official invite by the ACO to participate in the twice-around-the-clock French race and will be allowed to run not only in GTE AM, but also in GTE PRO.
Blancpain GT Series: Autosprint has recently revealed that, before the last round of the WEC, the 488 GT3 completed about 7000 km of testing. For now Competizioni GT and Michelotto Automobili will continue the on-track development of the car, starting deliveries to Teams later. Target is debuting the 488 GT3 at the 24 Hours of Daytona, the first round of the IWSC.
Blancpain Endurance Series: Bentley has announced it will enter the Championship in GT3 PRO AM thanks to a new partnership with Team Parker Racing, which will manage two Continental GT3s. On the contrary HTP Motorsport is set to leave the British Manufacturer.
IWSC: while the debut of the 488 GTE at the 24 Hours of Daytona is nearly certain, the same can’t be said for the 488 GT3. In fact, as reported above, Ferrari wants to run at Daytona also the 488 GT3, but, according to Autosprint, there are still some problems with the FIA about the homologation that have to be solved in the next two weeks. If this does not happen, Scuderia Corsa, which currently is the only Ferrari squad interested in racing in the GTD category, will have to take part in the Floridian competition with a 458 Italia GT3 – IMSA will allow the participation in next year’s series of the previous generation GT3 cars. On the other Manufacturers side, given that Alex Job Racing and Black Swan Racing have confirmed they will enter two and one cars respectively and with Park Place Motorsports likely to join with a single entry too, Porsche will have at least a three 991 GT3 R effort. Moreover in these days both Lone Star Racing and Fall-Line Motorsports have not hidden their intention of being part of the Championship alongside Dodge SRT and BMW respectively.