Watch WEC, it’s the best
WEC is great because it’s lots of smaller races all rolled into one big race. Cars race at the absolute limit for hours and often still finish within fractions of a second of each other. There’s always something interesting going on, be it great racing or a tricky pit stop strategy. You can indulge yourself by sitting back for full day of racing, or just stick on the radio and have a lovely fast car background to your day. True happiness.
WEC in a nutshell
Four car categories all driving around at different speeds:
- LMGTE Pro
- LMGTE Am
Four levels of drivers with different capabilities:
Mix them all up and have them race each other for hours.
Fastest – Hypercar
The Hypercars are the fastest and coolest class of cars with the best drivers. That is all.
(Also, the Hypercar category is relatively new, meaning there are a few more big-name teams planning on joining through 2022 and 2023, i.e. it’s going to get LOADS more exciting).
Very fast – LMP2 (Le Mans Prototype 2)
LMP2 is a team category, so the teams purchase their car from a manufacturer. This year, all the teams are using the same car. As opposed to the Hypercar category, which is all professional drivers, teams in LMP2 are required to have at least one lower ranked driver (silver or bronze rated – see below).
Fast – LMGTE Pro (Le Mans Grand Touring Endurance – Professional)
The LMGTE Pro category is for factory teams (i.e. teams backed by a car manufacturer) with professional drivers. This year we have Ferraris, Porsches and a Corvette.
Depends on the driver – LMGTE Am (Le Mans Grand Touring Endurance – Amateur)
The cars in LMGTE Am are one year older than the LMGTE Pro category, with teams comprising of a mix of professional and amateur drivers.
The WEC people have actual information on the categories if levels of fastness isn’t quite enough for you.
Each car is driven by a team of drivers who swap throughout the race (either two or three depending on the category). Each driver is ranked according to their abilities:
Platinum drivers, as the name suggests, are the best, proper professional drivers, who get paid, win races and finish high up in championships. These are drivers you will likely have heard of if you’re a motorsport fan.
Gold drivers are also professional drivers, albeit slightly less successful than the Platinum ones. They know what a podium looks like.
Silver drivers might not be professionals but they have experience. They may be up and coming and not had time to win all the things needed for a higher classification, or someone who is involved in other motorsport series that aren’t considered as prestigious by the FIA.
Bronze is where everyone else gets lumped in. People who are over 30 (so old) when they get their first racing licence, those who have been downgraded from Silver for not being fast enough, and young drivers who haven’t really done much competing yet. The ultimate amateur category and usually the driver who teams want to spend the least amount of time in the car.
Top tips for the lazy WEC viewer
Sound overwhelming? Don’t worry, there’s an easy way to watch WEC. Here are my top tips for the lazy WEC viewer:
- First scan the entry list for any drivers you LOVE and support that team (just remember the car number for when your fav takes a break). E.g. #7 Toyota. This also works if there’s a car manufacturer you particularly like, e.g. Porsche.
- It’s most interesting if you’re supporting a car from each category. WEC isn’t all about watching the cars at the front. Spoiler alert: the LMGTE Pro category winner won’t be P1 in the overall race.
Note: the LMGTE Am category is always huge and can be confusing. Instead of trying to learn all these people and keep up with the action, I typically just enjoy watching them overtake each other and cause incidents that affect the faster car categories (unless your favourite driver is in there of course!).
- Don’t try to follow every detail all the time, it’s ok if you don’t always know what’s going on, no one does, not even the commentators. Just enjoy the experience of watching (or listening) and you’ll pick it up as you go along.