After years of great anticipation from the Italian public, which has always followed the exploits of the Italian riders, technicians, teams and constructors engaged in endurance competitions with particular interest, the World Endurance Championship returns to Brianza for the 6 hours of Monza. The reopening of the facility to a limited number of spectators, who will thus have the opportunity to appreciate and closely support some of the best pilots in the world, gives further importance to the event. The appointment of the Temple of Speed also marks the turning point of the championship, which has reached the third of the six scheduled events on the calendar. The 6 Hours of Monza therefore also stands as a crucial crossroads for the fate of the World Championship, as well as being the event preceding the expected 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The premier class sees the highest number of entrants since the start of the season (complete entry list available at LINK), with five cars present at the starting line. The parameters of the Balance of Performance for the Hypercar class have remained unchanged compared to the previous round of the 8 hours in Portimao, thus denoting the organizers’ confidence in having found a formula capable of smoothing out the conceptual differences between the cars, but without compensating for any imbalances due to the preparation and fine-tuning of the teams.
The 1030 kg minimum weight for the Glickenhaus and the 1066 kg of the Toyota GR010 Hybrid are thus confirmed, which in Portugal had been attributed an increase of 26 kg from the seasonal debut at Spa. The output curves and maximum power peaks are equivalent for the two prototypes, with 520 kW for Glickenhaus and 515 kW for Toyota, like the chemical and electrical energy that can be used at each stint, respectively 965 and 962 MJ.
The parameters for the Alpine A480 have also been confirmed, which being based on the Oreca ex-LMP1 chassis is subjected to different balancing criteria. The French car is confirmed as the lightest of the lot with its 952 kg, while the 918 MJ of usable energy have been reiterated, although the small size of the A480’s tank does not allow it to load the corresponding amount of fuel, effectively limiting the duration of the stints.
For the Hypercar class, it is worth mentioning that Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus lined up two 007 LMHs, against the single prototype present in Portugal. The 708 car will be entrusted to Derani-Menezes-Pla, while the 709 will be driven by the Dumas-Mailleux-Westbrook trio. The 6 Hours of Monza constitutes an important testing ground for the Italian-American team, which in Portimao had feared great difficulties, in particular in tire management, which even before the unforeseen events occurred in the race had prevented 007 from keeping up with the competition. Undoubtedly, the room for growth is wide for a debut team, which is why it will be interesting to evaluate if and how far the team has progressed in the last month.
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LMP2, a larger gap is likely
The LMP2 class is not regulated by any Balance of Performance, but there are still some aspects to underline. In fact, from an aerodynamic point of view, Monza is the track that requires the least load in the whole championship, thus neutralizing the driving difficulties that emerged in Spa and in particular in Portimao linked to the obligation introduced in 2021 to use the aerodynamic configuration with low downforce typical of Le Mans.
The preponderance at Monza of the long straights in relation to the more driven sections should open the performance gap from the Hypercar prototypes. The closeness between the two classes that emerged in the first two races is in fact due in part to the approximately 100 kg less than the LMP2s, making the second-class prototypes particularly competitive in corners. The 140 extra horsepower to the advantage of the Hypercars should however facilitate dubbing maneuvers on the numerous extensions of the Temple of Speed.
The third act of the intense duel between Porsche and Ferrari will air in the GTE-Pro class, with the respective crews composed of Kevin Estre-Neel Jani and Alessandro Pier Guidi-James Calado ready to compete again for the top of the standings. The Balance of Performance only involves a slight tweak at minimum weight, with the Porsche 911 RSR discounting an additional 5 kg going up to 1264 kg, while the Ferrari 488 GTE Evo are lightened by 5 kg, dropping to 1255 kg. The other values remain unchanged, including the turbocharging curve for the Reds and the amount of fuel that can be carried, equal to 98 liters for Porsche and 93 liters for Ferrari.
The starting grid of the GTE-Am class includes the traditional corrections to the minimum weight imposed by the Success Ballast mechanism, with the ballasts attributed based on the results in previous races and on the position in the championship. The leaders of the ranking of Cetilar Racing with Lacorte-Sernagiotto-Fuoco at the wheel of Ferrari # 47 they will discount a ballast of 35 kg, against the 15 kg assigned to direct pursuers Ferrari # 54 of AF Corse with Flohr-Castellacci-Fisichella and Aston Martin # 33 of TF Sport with Keating-Pereira-Fraga. Three crews not enrolled in the World Championship will also take part in the 6 Hours of Monza and therefore, as per regulations, will have to serve 15 kg of ballast. These are three Ferraris, in detail the # 61 of AF Corse, the # 71 of Inception Racing and the # 388 of Rinaldi Racing.
For the Monza event, the duration of the race also changes, which will take place over 6 hours against the 8 hours of the Portimao event. The sets of tires granted for qualifying and the race also change accordingly, which will be 18 for all classes against the 24 usable in Portugal, with the exception of the crews entered in the class GTE-Am which may run up to 26 sets of tires. In addition, in the GTE-Am class for registered drivers with a Bronze or Silver license the minimum driving time of 1 hour and 45 minutes will be imposed, with the Gold or Platinum driver of the crew who will thus be able to drive up to 190 minutes, over 50% of the duration of the race. In proportion this is an increase compared to the 8 hours of Portimao, where the driving shifts of the most experienced driver could not exceed 33% of the total distance.
Overall, the Balance of Performance stands for continuity in the different classes, with few changes from previous appointments. The hope is that this stability will materialize in a show worthy of the expectation that precedes the return of the WEC to the Monza racetrack.