Who’s new to the WEC for 2021? Part 1
Last week’s FIA WEC entry list revealed a total of seven new teams for the 2021 season.
Today we are focusing on some of the teams who are new to LMP2, one of four WEC categories which requires teams to run at least one Silver or Bronze-graded driver in its line-up.
For 2021, there will also be a new and specific classification in the LMP2 class for teams who have Bronze drivers. The best LMP2 Pro/Am crew (including a Bronze driver) will also be included on the LMP2 podium.
So, who are the newbies that will be joining our LMP2 regulars United Autosports, JOTA, High Class Racing and Racing Team Nederland for WEC Season 9?
First up, we have…:
Inter Europol Competition
The first Polish-flagged team to enter the WEC, Inter Europol Competition, will field the No. 34 ORECA 07 – Gibson for WEC Season 9 with its trio of drivers: Alex Brundle (UK), Renger van der Zande (Netherlands) and Kuba Smiechowski (Poland). It is backed by main sponsor Interpol, which is the leading producer of bakery goods in Poland.
After earning the LMP3 title in the 2018-2019 Asian Le Mans Series season and finishing 12th in the teams’ classification in ELMS last year, Inter Europol Competition will make a step up to the WEC for 2021 with the No. 34 ORECA 07 Gibson. The team has also been runner-up in the ELMS LMP3 class on two occasions.
Brundle is no stranger to endurance racing having competed in ELMS since 2012, winning the LMP3 teams’ category back in 2016. The 30-year-old has also competed at Le Mans a total of six times. Van der Zande also has a strong endurance background having raced in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship for several years, as well as select rounds of the WEC with DragonSpeed. Meanwhile Smiechowski has been competing with Interpol Europol Competition for several years, successfully winning the Asian Le Mans Series LMP3 title with the squad back in 2019.
Team manager Sascha Fassbender commented: “I am proud of our team for being the first Polish team to compete in the World Endurance Championship… As our driver line-up shows, we are not competing just to be there. No, we want to make an impression or two and leave our mark in the WEC. With Kuba, who is now contesting his third season in LMP2, and Renger and Alex, who can already look back on race victories in LMP2/DPI, we have put together a strong team. The whole team is highly motivated.”
Richard Mille Racing Team
Richard Mille Racing Team will be run by Signatech and will be supported by Richard Mille (President of the FIA Endurance Commission) and the FIA Women in Motorsport initiative. The French-based team will join LMP2 in another ORECA.
Stepping up from the ELMS, the No. 1 entry will see three Silver-graded females at the wheel: Tatiana Calderon, Sophia Floersch and Beitske Visser. The trio are new to the WEC, although all three drivers contested last year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, finishing ninth in class.
Calderon and Floersch are regulars in the Richard Mille Racing squad but Visser is a newer addition after substituting for Katherine Legge following a testing incident at Paul Ricard last year.
Visser is best known for competing in the W Series where she finished runner-up in 2019, while Calderon is a test driver for the Alfa Romeo Formula 1 team as well as competing in Super Formula. Floersch raced in FIA Formula 3 last season.
Floersch commented: “Having a team like Signatech, with experienced engineers and mechanics behind us is incredible… It made it a lot easier for us, as endurance rookies, during our first season. We all got along really well and enjoyed it a lot, especially at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. We are now about to begin our second year of the project and I’m really happy to be part of the Richard Mille Racing Team again as we forge ahead. We will have incredible events lined up, and the highlight of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.”
Check back on FIAWEC.com soon for part two of our “Who’s new for 2021” series where we take look at three of other new LMP2 teams: RealTeam Racing, ARC Bratislava and Team WRT.