A Galaxy of Stars for WEC in 2022
Many of the names in FIA WEC competition are celebrated not only for their endurance racing prowess but also for their achievements in other fields, while the series remains a platform for female talent to shine.
The 2022 FIA World Endurance Championship is strong on star quality with seven former winners of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, among whom five will race for Toyota Gazoo Racing in its Hypercar squad – Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, José Maria Lopez, Sébastien Buemi and Brendon Hartley.
Also joining the Hypercar ranks is 2016 Le Mans winner Romain Dumas, racing for Glickenhaus, while 2015 victor Nick Tandy will join the Corvette Racing squad in its bid to conquer LMGTE Pro.
Formula 1 drivers have always been a part of the mix in endurance racing, with the most recent successes having fallen to double World champion Fernando Alonso when he took his Toyota to victory at Le Mans in 2018 and the WEC title in its 2018-19 Super Season. This year, the F1 fraternity is represented by Le Mans winner Kobayashi, Robert Kubica, Felipe Nasr, Will Stevens, Esteban Gutierrez, Giancarlo Fisichella and Sebastien Bourdais.
Other big names in the series include former Formula 2 front-runner Louis Deletraz plus DTM star Nico Müller, alongside several other successful endurance racing names such as Antonio Felix da Costa, Filipe Albuquerque, Alex Brundle, Oliver Jarvis, Phil Hanson, Mathias Beche and Alex Lynn.
However, when looking for the highest-achieving driver in the WEC ranks, few in the series’ history can hold a candle to eight-time World Rally Championship winner Sébastien Ogier. Having mastered the art of running flat-out against the clock on asphalt, gravel, ice and snow to take 54 career wins, the 38-year-old from the French Alps will take the wheel of the Richard Mille-entered LMP2 team, fittingly carrying number 1.
Endurance racing has proven to be a hotbed for female talent over the years, whether in the management of the series, in the running of the teams or at the wheel of the cars.
Following on from illustrious names such as 2012 WEC championship-winning engineer Leena Gade and former class winning Le Mans driver Michèle Mouton, the women in this year’s FIA WEC are led by Lilou Wadoux, a race winner in the Alpine Elf Europa Cup who will share the Richard Mille LMP2 entry with Ogier and Charles Milesi. Meanwhile, in LMGTE Am, the all-female Iron Dames team of Sarah Bovy, Michelle Gatting and Rahel Frey will campaign their Ferrari 488 GTE Evo.
With Sophia Floersch also set to return at Le Mans this year with the Algarve Pro Racing squad in LMP2, the talent up and down the entry list of this year’s WEC makes it one of the most competitive sporting series in the world.