Friday, March 19, 2021

Another Sports Cars Renaissance On the Horizon?

But first we’ve got to keep our Heads above water during the current Doldrums…


By now, surely it’s Old News to Yuhs over la Scuderia’s somewhat “shock” announcement that they’ll return to sports Car Prototypes racing in 2023, exactly 50 years since their latest Factory effort. With Ferrari racing for outright victory at the famed Circuit de la Sarthe, which will be commemorating the Centenary running of le 24 Huers du Mans.


  Yet Porsche had already upstaged Ferrari when confirming Wayback in December, 2020 that it would be joining the IMSA Le Mans Daytona Hybrid (LMDH) ranks, which was followed shortly by Audi.


While hopefully the two remaining manufacturers for 2022, i.e.; Acura and Cadillac will participate in 2023? With Mazda having already announced their withdrawal from IMSA’s Daytona Prototype International competition at this year’s season’s end.


Yet I’ve since read that at least Acura has confirmed it’s LMDH programme, while hopefully Cadillac will continue also…


Glickenhaus and Toyota are the only two totally “New Stock” LMH runners in this year’s FIA World Endurance Championship, (WEC) while Alpine will campaign a single Grandfathered rebadged Rebellion R13 LMP1 chassis this year, with No word on whether they’ll bring a brand new Hypercar to the 2022 WEC season?


In 2022, Peugeot will debut it’s LMH Hypercar, and then the party of the FIA’s LM Hypercars will face competition from IMSA’s LMDH Prototypes at Circuit de la Sarthe with the two different categories being regulated by (bOp) Balance of Performance rules for the 2023 Le Mans 24 Hours race.


And as far as I can tell, currently the LMH Hypercars won’t be eligible for IMSA’s Rolex 24 or Sebring 12 Hours events, which I thought was the initial intent of bringing these two divergent Prototype classes together. But at least we’ll see a return Clash of the Titans at Le Mans, ergo Ferrari vs. Porsche, not to mention Toyota, Audi, Peugeot and Glickenhaus.


Interestingly during this year’s qualie’ session which I managed to Tune into on Zed Internet, John Hindhaugh mentioned Thars a rumour that Lamborghini is possibly considering an LMDH effort, Huh?


Whilst ‘Ol Booby Ruble’, aka Bobby Rahal’s been busy Beatin’ thoust Drum over hoping he and his RLLR Outfit can continue with BMW in the future as their potential LMDH project’s entrant, noting how they’ve  been with BMW for 13 years now. But I wonder if BMW would be inclined to partner with it’s Formula E entity Andretti Autosport instead? Since they’ll both be free at season’s end, when BMW quits Formula E.


As Racer’s Marshall Pruett notes, everybody will be talking to everybody about Thar future alliances over the Sebring weekend and only time will tell…

Fifty years ago, Porsche’s All Conquering 917 won it’s lone Sebring race, whilst just weeks prior on March 6th, SuperMario’, nee Mario Andretti won his Debutante Formula 1 race at Kyalami, South Africa in a Ferrari, before competing at Sebring behind the wheel of a Werks Ferrari 512M.


By my very unofficial count, la Scuderia, neeFerrari has scored 13 vidtories to date at the venerable Sebring International Raceway, albeit only eight  as a Werks’ participant. Which ranks  them second behind Porsche’s Mega’ tally of 18 W’s.


Although Ferrari’s tally of eight wins is the most by an Entrant, since many of Porsche’s were won by customers, ergo la Scuderia’s latest three victories during the 1990’s.   


The bulk of Ferrari’s wins began during the front engine era with it’s maiden W’ in 1956, then three consecutive wins from 1957-59 and two more in 1961-62, before it’s first Mid engine V-12 250P won in 1963, followed a year later with the 275P.


It would be a further six years before Mario Andretti’s emphatic win aboard a Factory 512M, followed by la Scuderia’s final W in ’72 with Jacky Ickx and Mario Andretti at the wheel of a 312PB before Ferrari Quit Sports Car racing in  1973.


Twenty-two years later, one of those beautiful customer 333 SP’s would claim the first of three victories for this evocative Sports Prototype, i.e.; 1995, 1997-98, the first two by Andy Evans Scandia Racing outfit, with Momo Corse the latter.


Porsche ran “the Tables” from 1976 to 1988, claiming 13 consecutive victories beginning with it’s legendous Carrera RSR’s, the Group 4 934, which I remember most fondly in it’s Jaggermeister livery, albeit think that was at Le Mans? Then came the All conquering Group 5 935’s and those Panzerwagon 962’s before Electramotive Engineering and it’s Nasty Nissan GTP ZX Turbos ended Porsche’s dominance.


Whilst I know I’ve scribbled before about Audi’s Dominance during the Oughts’, nee Double Zeros’, aka 2000’s, when the All  conquering Audi r8 and R10’s won an impressive eight in a row from 2000-07. As only El Capitano’, nee Roger Penske and his Factory Porsche RS Spyder could put a stop to this win streak when scoring Porsche’s latest victory in ’08, as Porsche currently holds the record for most victories by a manufacture at the aforementioned 18 W’s, Crikeys!


And I totally understand why Scuderia Ferrari would choose the WEC’s Hypercar class over the IMSA’s LMDH category, since after all, the 24 Hours of Le Mans is the most revered Sports Car Endurance event in the World and ultimately offers the most prestige. Not to mention it gives Automanufacturers more leeway by allowing road going cars to be utilized for Hypercar Homologation vs. IMSA’s four LMP2 chassis manufacturers and a spec Hybrid system required.


But that doesn’t mean I still don’t wish to see truly legendous  Sports Car racing around the Globe, i.e.; World Sports Car Championship when everybody was able to compete at Daytona, Sebring, Le Mans, Watkins Glen, etc. in a single unified category, albeit perhaps that cannot ever be achieved again due to almighty Capitalism? And who Controls  what…