Enter a ‘Golden era’ of endurance racing

Friday 01 March 2024

With a record breaking-entry of 19 full-time Hypercars and no fewer than 14 manufacturers represented on the grid, there’s plenty of anticipation for the flourishing 2024 FIA World Endurance Championship kicking off in Qatar on Saturday.  

What’s more there’s plenty of British interest, too, with 2009 World Champion Jenson Button joining recent Le Mans winners James Calado and Mike Conway on a star-studded entry list also including seven-time MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi, former F1 drivers such as Mick Schumacher, Paul Di Resta and Robert Kubica, plus Formula E World Champion Nyck de Vries.  

Will Stevens, Harry Tincknell, Phil Hanson, Alex Lynn and IndyCar’s Callum Ilott are also among those gunning for glory in the Hypercar class, which now sees new manufacturers Alpine, BMW, Isotta Fraschini and Lamborghini all joining existing marques Cadillac, Ferrari, Peugeot, Porsche and defending champions Toyota on the packed 2024 grid. 

“This is one of the most competitive categories in motorsport right now and I have to say the Hypercars are the coolest looking cars ever,” enthused a clearly excited Button who lines up in one of the two Porsche 963s entered by Kent-based Hertz Team Jota. “It’s a fantastic opportunity and to do it with a privateer team fighting against the big manufacturers is very exciting.” 

With so many Hypercars champing at the bit, this year’s WEC has just one additional category for privately-run GT3 teams. Entries have been caped at 18 LMGT3 cars with Aston Martin, BMW, Corvette, Ferrari, Ford, Lexus, Lamborghini, McLaren and Porsche all well represented with two cars apiece. 

Familiar British names among the ranks of LMGT3 drivers are Darren Leung, James Cottingham, Ben Barker and Joshua Caygill. 

The legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans remains the pinnacle on a globe-trotting calendar, expanded to eight rounds in 2024 with the return of a South American showdown at Interlagos in Brazil. Imola, Spa-Francorchamps, Circuit of the Americas (Austin) and Fuji are four more of the standout highlights awaiting teams and drivers later in what promises to be a superlative season. 

To have an entry list featuring 19 Hypercars plus 18 LMGT3 entries representing 14 different manufacturers truly reflects the golden era of endurance racing that we are experiencing right now,” declared a delighted Frédéric Lequien, CEO of the World Endurance Championship. “The battles on track this season are going to be extraordinary,” he predicted. 

Eurosport will continue as the main broadcaster of WEC with coverage of FP3, Qualifying and all eight races screened live on its linear channels and Discovery+. All FIA WEC races – as well as live timing and on-board cameras – will also be available via the official WEC app which can be downloaded here.