New driver categorization rules for the pro-am GTE class in the European Le Mans Series look set to be followed in the World Endurance Championship.
It was announced today that each entry in the ELMS GTE class, as well as the GTC division for GT3 machinery, must include at least one silver and one bronze-rated driver. A platinum or gold-rated driver will only be allowed if a car has three drivers for the four-hour races.
It is understood that the same rules are under discussion for the GTE Am in the WEC and that the teams have agreed to the change. The GTE Am class presently allows for two silver status drivers to join a platinum or a gold.
The potential rule change follows controversy this year when Aston Martin Racing ran one platinum in Jamie Campbell-Walter and one silver in Stuart Hall. That led to a rule change for last month’s Fuji round mandating three drivers in each car.
Aston Martin Racing team boss John Gaw said he was supportive of the rule coming into the WEC.
“If you look at GTE Am, the majority of drivers who fund it are bronze, so I agree with this,” he said.
Ram Racing team principal Dan Shufflebottom, whose team is aiming to graduate to the WEC after winning GTE in the ELMS this year, added: “Amateur drivers are the lifeblood of sports car racing and we need to look after them. But we have to be a little bit wary of this, because the speed differential between the prototypes and the GT cars is big enough already without introducing a lot more bronze drivers.”
No comment was available from the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, which runs the WEC in conjunction with the FIA.
The rule changes come at a time when the ACO is examining its driver rating system and is due to publish a new list imminently. It is understood that drivers who are over 40 and are not paid to drive will be automatically bronze.
The announcement of the new rule for the ELMS accompanied a revised calendar. The Imola round, whose date was provisional on the original calendar, and the Estoril finale have each been pushed back one week to May 18 and Oct. 19, respectively.
The change for Imola follows the confirmation of its World Superbike date, while Estoril has been set back to allow for a better support package.
2014 EUROPEAN LE MANS SERIESApril 19 Silverstone (GB)May 18 Imola (I)July 20 Spielberg (A)September 14 Paul Ricard (F)October 19 Estoril (P)