It’s not called the FIA World Endurance Championship for nothing. One definitely needs to focus on the ‘Endurance’ part. Tallying distance covered by the respective race winning entries over the eight rounds of the WEC reveals a total of 12,442 kilometers covered. Yes, you read that right. And 5,165 km of that is covered at the 24 Hours of Le Mans alone, which still stands above the other seven six hour (around 1,000 km each) events.
To put that into perspective, tallying the total distance covered in an F1 season the same way reveals a total of 5,700 km for the motorsport championship that gets the lion’s share of attention in the media.
A little perspective
Think of it like 19 intense games of T20 cricket played between Australia and South Africa on a bowler friendly track vs equally intense seven one-day-internationals with one test match (Le Mans) thrown in for good measure. Conquering this test of motorsport in 2014 was the Toyota Racing squad’s team of former F1 drivers Anthony Davidson and Sebastien Buemi, who had wrapped up the drivers’ title in the final round of the season at Sao Paulo, Brazil after Toyota secured the manufacturers title in the previous round at Bahrain.
It was the first time that Toyota had managed to get the better of the mighty Audi squad since they first entered the Le Mans Prototype 1 (LMP1) category in the inaugural 2012 WEC season. Prior to that in one of the many avatars of premier endurance sportscar racing, Toyota had tried and failed to win the 24 Hour of Le Mans.
It was a goal that eluded them again this year, but winning the overall title is no small consolation even if the storied 24 Hour race is the one that usually garners the most amount of attention. AF Corse’s pair of Gianmaria Bruni and Toni Vilander took the drivers title in the World Endurance Cup for GT drivers with a Ferrari 458 Italia that took the GT crown for manufacturers ahead of Porsche. Russia’s Sergey Zlobin won the title for LMP2 drivers for SMP Racing while the team of Mathias Beche, Nicolas Prost and Nick Heidfeld won the LMP1 Private Team Drivers’ title for Rebellion Racing.