WEC delivers the goods, and a few pointers to F1


Audi #7 and Porsche #18 were locked in close battle for a thrilling finale at Spa

Having the good fortune to witness proceedings from the Porsche/Chopard hospitality suite right at the foot of Eau Rouge, I enjoyed some "up close and personal" views of everything that was going on. From the exhilarating speed of the LMP1 cars through the famous uphill sweep to a few perilous and heart-stopping moments when leading cars were forced to dispose of slower LMP2 or GT traffic at the same spot (something F1 never deals with), every single lap offered its fair share of excitement and thrill.

André Lotterer, who remains undefeated this season in the WEC (and also in Japan's Super Formula), put in a typically gritty drive as he battled with Marc Lieb during a triple stint in the middle part of the race. The day before, while speaking with the Belgo-German driver after qualifying, he talked about how racing around Spa with the Audi surpassed the pleasure he had felt behind the wheel of his Caterham during last year's Belgian Grand Prix. Incredibly, only half a second separated his qualifying time last weekend from the Caterham's best while Audi's R18 e-tron's weight deficit over André's F1 car is 250 kg!

Only half a second separated Lotterer's qualifying time last weekend from the Caterham's best while Audi's R18 e-tron's weight deficit over André's F1 car is 250 kg!

Mark Webber and Nico Hülkenberg were frequent visitors to the Chopard suite over the weekend, and both echoed Lotterer's explicit comments about the enjoyment of racing WEC machinery. "Compared to F1, you're always on the limit," explained Webber. "You're not preoccupied with the tyres as in Grand Prix racing where race pace is often defined by tyre wear. In endurance racing, we're consistently running fast, from start to finish."


Force India's Nico Hülkenberg is finding his feet in endurance racing, and will soon discover the delight of racing through the night at Le Mans

It was also interesting to hear Webber's views on F1's current state of affairs: "F1 needs a rethink because driving is no longer a differentiating factor," insisted the veteran Aussie. "Here, in order to maintain the required performance level with the Porsche, I'm forced to up my game much more than was the case during my last season with Red Bull. The talent level of the best WEC drivers rivals that of those in F1. And the series' manufacturers spare no effort in order to showcase a diversity of technical choices."