THE DAWN OF A NEW ERA IN ENDURANCE RACING
When the 30 FIA World Endurance Championship cars took to the historic Sebring track in Florida in March 2012, it signalled the dawning of a new era in international sportscar racing.
Sanctioned by the FIA, manufacturers, teams and drivers were now able to truly fight for World Championships and the level of entries reflected this fact. Racing together with entrants from the American Le Mans Series for this season-opener, an incredible 64 cars raced flat out for 12 hours, with Audi, Starworks, AF Corse and Team Felbermayr becoming the first race winners of the new WEC.
Seven races later – six of which were of a duration of 6-hours plus the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans which became a round of a World Championship for the first time – Audi Sport celebrated its first World Championship titles. André Lotterer, Benoît Tréluyer and Marcel Fässler won the 2012 FIA World Endurance Drivers Championship while Audi sealed a clear victory over Toyota in the Manufacturers’ Championship - the Japanese team entering from only the third round onwards.
AF Corse secured for Ferrari the first FIA Endurance Cup for GT Manufacturers, battling it out with Porsche and Corvette. The two scarlet Ferraris were a dominant force throughout 2012 in the LMGTE Pro class, despite fierce competition from Aston Martin and Porsche. Gianmaria Bruni and Giancarlo Fisichella were the most successful of all the GTE drivers during the year in the No.51 458 Italia.
Swiss team Rebellion Racing showed it was a force to be reckoned with, winning six of the eight races and the inaugural FIA Endurance Trophy for LMP1 Private Teams against convincing opposition from the seven-strong entries.
The American Starworks Motorsport team claimed the LMP2 class honours in the 12 Hours of Sebring and the 24 Hours of Le Mans on its way to becoming the first ever holders of the FIA Endurance Trophy for LMP2 teams. The American team, with Stéphane Sarrazin, Ryan Dalziel and Enzo Potolicchio at the wheel of the No. 44 HPD ARX-03b, only faltered once due to a mechanical fault, otherwise finishing on the LMP2 podium at every race.
In LMGTE Am Larbre Compétition used its considerable endurance experience to claim the FIA Endurance Trophy for LMGTE Am teams. Class victory in the 24 Hours of Le Mans was the turning point for the French team which entered two Chevrolet Corvettes, although it was pushed throughout the season by the Porsches from the very strong Team Felbermayr- Proton.
The season started in the USA, visited Belgium, France and Great Britain in Europe before heading to Brazil in South America, Bahrain in the Middle East and closing with an Asian double-header in Japan and China. It set the scene for a great new era in endurance racing.
United States (USA)
United Kingdom (GBR)