A look back at WEC races at Fuji Speedway (video)
As the weeks tick by in the lead up to the 6 Hours of Fuji, we look back in brief at the memorable races to have been held at the 4.563 km Fuji Speedway since the FIA World Endurance Championship’s first visit in 2012.
They certainly haven’t all been held in bright sunshine, but they’ve all been memorable! We start with 2012 and 2013, with others to come over the coming days.
2012 – Toyota’s home triumph
The first 6 Hours of Fuji delivered a popular home victory for Toyota, especially after the chasing Audi of Benoit Tréluyer had to serve a drive-through penalty for contact with Stefan Mücke’s Aston Martin while he was chasing down the Toyota. The penalty allowed Alex Wurz, Nicolas Lapierre and Kazuki Nakajima to score the marque’s second WEC victory, with Tréluyer, André Lotterer and Marcel Fässler just 11 seconds behind at the finish.
Each of the three different manufacturers in LMGTE Pro were represented on the podium, as Marc Lieb and Richard Lietz took their second win of the year in the Felbermayr-Proton Porsche. Gianmaria Bruni and Giancarlo Fisichella were second in the AF Corse Ferrari, while Mücke and Darren Turner recovered to take the final podium place.
The 2012 LMP1 privateer and LMP2 titles were also decided at Fuji, with Rebellion Racing and Starworks Motorsport taking the spoils, while Larbre Competition took the winners’ laurels in LMGTE Am.
2013 – All about the rain!
It didn’t matter that all practice and qualifying sessions had been run in the dry, the 2013 race will only be remembered for one thing – rain! A typhoon-hit Fuji Speedway prevented the WEC’s competitors from putting on the show they’d planned and, after just 16 laps of racing, worsening weather conditions and deteriorating light led the event to be red-flagged.
The Toyota TS030 Hybrid of Kazuki Nakajima, Nicolas Lapierre and Alexander Wurz was declared the overall winner and half points were awarded to all drivers. Second place for the Audi R18 e-tron quattro was enough to seal the Manufacturers’ World Championship for Audi – some reward for a difficult day.
While the closed cockpits may have offered the GTE drivers some protection in the driving rain, visibility in the middle of the grid was limited to almost nothing due to the spray from the prototypes ahead. Aston Martin Racing’s Darren Turner, Stefan Mücke and Frédéric Makowiecki were classified as LMGTE Pro winners, ahead of the Ferrari 458 Italia of Giancarlo Fisichella and Gianmaria Bruni. OAK Racing’s Morgan Nissan claimed first place in LMP2 and Aston Martin Racing also took maximum (half) points for a 1-2 finish in LMGTE Am.