FIA WEC: Who’s new in the LMP1 class?

While the headlines may have been grabbed by Fernando Alonso in joining the WEC with Toyota Gazoo Racing, there are additional big names and many promising youngsters who will compete in LMP1 during the Super Season.

By Sam Smith | WEC
Pho­tos by Adren­al Media

WEC: Tracking shots, WEC Prologue at Circuit Paul Ricard - Circuit Paul Ricard - Le Castellet - France
Track­ing shots, WEC Pro­logue at Cir­cuit Paul Ricard — Cir­cuit Paul Ricard — Le Castel­let — France

Among these is high­ly regard­ed GP2 race win­ner Oliv­er Row­land who will make his endurance rac­ing debut for the CEFC TRSM Rac­ing team at Spa next month.

Row­land has had a stel­lar sin­gle-seater career which has brought sig­nif­i­cant suc­cess with titles gained in the For­mu­la Renault UK Series in 2011 and the For­mu­la Renault 3.5 cham­pi­onship in 2014.  The 25-year-old will dove­tail his WEC com­mit­ments with a role as a test dri­ver for the Mar­ti­ni Williams F1 Team in 2018.

WEC: Oliver-Rowland

Char­lie Robert­son will com­pete in the No.5 CEFC TRSM Rac­ing Ginet­ta Mechachrome and comes to the WEC after a mete­oric career which has seen him take the 2015 ELMS LMP3 title and fin­ish run­ner-up in the 2016 Asian Le Mans LMP3 Cup.  Still only 21 years of age Robert­son has had close ties with Ginet­ta since he was 14. He will make his WEC debut at Spa next month in the all-new Ginet­ta LMP1 car.

Like Row­land, anoth­er of the UK’s most promis­ing young dri­vers will also get his chance to carve out a sports­car career, as Dean Stone­man joins an all-British line-up in the No.5 CEFC TRSM car.  Stone­man won the 2010 FIA For­mu­la Two title before going on to com­pete in GP2, Indy Lights and GT3 rac­ing. His career was inter­rupt­ed in 2012 after he was diag­nosed with can­cer but he has bounced back bet­ter than ever.

WEC: #6 CEFC TRSM RACING / CHN / Ginetta G60-LT-P1 - Mechachrome -WEC
#6 CEFC TRSM RACING / CHN / Ginet­ta G60-LT-P1 — Mechachrome -WEC Pro­logue at Cir­cuit Paul Ricard — Cir­cuit Paul Ricard — Le Castel­let — France -

Leo Rous­sel will also race with CEFC TRSM team as he grad­u­ates from LMP2 where he was crowned 2017 ELMS cham­pi­on when rac­ing for G-Dri­ve Rac­ing.

The US-entered Drag­on­Speed squad makes the tran­si­tion from the ELMS to the WEC this sea­son with the team enter­ing one car in LMP1 and anoth­er in LMP2.  Hen­rik Hed­man has been a famil­iar pres­ence in the ELMS over the years, hav­ing raced for Drag­on­Speed in 2016 and 2017 where he achieved five podi­um posi­tions and one vic­to­ry.  The Swede now makes the move up to LMP1 with the all-new BR Engi­neer­ing BR1-AER chal­lenger along­side team­mates Ben Han­ley and Renger Van der Zande.

Han­ley makes his LMP1 debut after sev­er­al impres­sive per­for­mances in LMP2 with var­i­ous teams in 2016 and 2017, while Van der Zande comes back to WEC for the first time since 2012 when he made spo­radic appear­ances for the Lotus LMP2 team.  How­ev­er, the Dutch­man will not race at Spa next month and will vacate the seat for reign­ing World Series For­mu­la V8 3.5 cham­pi­on Pietro Fit­ti­pal­di who test­ed the Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 in Bahrain last Novem­ber.

WEC: #17 SMP RACING / RUS / BR Engineering BR1 - AER - WEC Prologue at Circuit
#17 SMP RACING / RUS / BR Engi­neer­ing BR1AERWEC Pro­logue at Cir­cuit Paul Ricard — Cir­cuit Paul Ricard — Le Castel­let — France

Egor Orudzhev and Mat­evos Isaakyan will both race for the SMP Rac­ing squad in the Super Sea­son. The Russ­ian pair boast impres­sive pedi­grees and have come up through the SMP lad­der of tal­ent in sin­gle-seaters. Orudzhev comes to WEC hav­ing won an ELMS race last sea­son, a year in which he ran a dual pro­gramme in the For­mu­la V8 3.5 Series.  His team mate from the sin­gle-seater cham­pi­onship, Isaakyan, fin­ished as run­ner-up in the stand­ings in Bahrain after reg­is­ter­ing two race wins.


Joao Lamares

Editor in Chief at JLpress News
Fotógrafo profissional desde 1999, colaborou com diversas empresas, agencias de publicidade e gabinetes de imprensa.
Colaborou com o Blog Fashion Heroines como fashion phortographer.
É o fotógrafo oficial da Colorida Art Gallery.
Fundou a JLpress Sport News and Photo em abril de 2016 onde acumula os cargos de Diretor de conteúdos e fotógrafo.
Joao Lamares