WEC - 2018 Six years at Shanghai – then and now | Federation Internationale de l'Automobile

WEC - 2018 Six years at Shanghai – then and now

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15.11.18.

It is just over six years ago that the FIA World Endurance Championship began its long, colourful and popular partnership with the Shanghai International Circuit. How many of the same stars of WEC are still on the entry list?

On that day in 2012, on the 28th October to be precise, 28 cars and 76 drivers took the start at the first and pivotal 6 Hours of Shanghai which was, that year, the season finale.

Fast-forward six years and two weeks: how many of the same stars of WEC are still on the entry list?

Nicolas Lapierre

Part of the winning team in 2012, and taking Toyota’s third ever WEC victory, was Nicolas Lapierre. The French ace, now with Signatech Alpine Matmut in LMP2, celebrated the third of his six overall wins with Toyota along with team mate Alexander Wurz in the No.7 Toyota TS030 HYBRID.

André Lotterer, Neel Jani and Mathias Beche

André Lotterer has been a mainstay of the WEC throughout its history, becoming the inaugural champion back in 2012 with teammates Benoît Tréluyer and Marcel Fässler. Just like in 2012, Lotterer will be gunning for the Toyotas again this weekend, albeit this time in a Rebellion R13-Gibson.

Lotterer’s stablemates at Rebellion, Neel Jani and Mathias Beche, were also on the grid in 2012, with Jani in a Rebellion-run Lola B12/60.  Jani missed out on the 2013 edition of the Chinese round before starting his four stellar seasons with Porsche in LMP1 from 2014.

In 2012 Swiss driver Beche took the LMP2 honours with the ADR-Delta team with Tor Graves and John Martin securing runners-up position in the then-named LMP2 Trophy.

Stéphane Sarrazin and Olivier Pla

Next up come a pair of quick French aces in the shape of Stéphane Sarrazin and Olivier Pla. While they arrive this weekend in LMP1 and LMGTE Pro machinery respectively, back in 2012 both had strong LMP2 rides.

Sarrazin was in the Starworks HPD-ARX 03b, while Pla was turning heads with impressive displays in the Oak Racing Morgan LMP2 car. They both took podiums, with Starworks just heading home Oak to take the runners-up position.

Stefan Mücke and Ricard Lietz

Pla’s current Ford Chip Ganassi Racing teammate Stefan Mücke was another class winner first time around in Shanghai as he took the LMGTE Pro silverware.  Along with Darren Turner, he took the win for Aston Martin Racing who will be one of the teams Mücke will be fighting against this weekend.

Richard Lietz followed Mücke home in second place aboard a Felbermayr Proton Porsche after a titanic fight in the closing stages.

Giancarlo Fisichella, Pedro Lamy and Olivier Beretta

A trio of aces, now all in LMGTE Am – Pedro Lamy, Giancarlo Fisichella and Olivier Beretta – were also in China for the very start of WEC’s Shanghai journey. Lamy fared best with victory in the category after sharing Larbre’s Chevrolet Corvette C6.R with Patrick Bornhauser and Julien Canal.

Beretta, then an LMGTE Pro driver, claimed third for AF Corse in the Ferrari 458 Italia he shared with Andrea Bertolini.  There was disappointment for Giancarlo Fisichella in 2012 as his AF Corse Ferrari failed to finish. Sharing the cockpit with Fisichella was current Porsche GT driver Gianmaria Bruni, the second Italian driver to span the years this weekend.

Christian Ried

And let’s not forget FIA WEC ever-present, Christian Ried, who drove his heart out for second position in LMGTE Am as he helped crew the Felbermayr Proton Porsche 997 with Italian duo Paolo Ruberti and Gianluca Roda.

Elton Julian

And although he isn’t racing at SIC this time, a special mention should go to DragonSpeed Team Principal Elton Julian. Six years ago he was donning his helmet as part of the Greaves Motorsport Zytek Z11SN – Nissan line up!

So, the answer to the question is that 13 drivers (12 actively still racing) will bridge the six years of racing at Shanghai from the very first to the very latest 6 Hours of Shanghai!