An Italian Duel: WEC Heads To Imola For Round 2 of the Season

After Porsche Penske took the season opener, how will the dominant manufacturer fair in Round 2?
FIA WEC Qatar 2024
FIA WEC Qatar 2024 / James Moy Photography/GettyImages

The World Endurance Championship is also back in action this weekend after a month hiatus, returning to Italy for the second round on the calendar.

This is also the first of two back-to-back six hour races on the upcoming schedule prior the highlight race of the season, the 24 Hours of Le Mans, heading to Spa following this weekend.

Last time out back at Qatar, it was a 1-2-3 Hypercar finish for Porsche, putting the manufacturer in the conversation of being one of the teams to beat this season.

Manthey Purerxcing also gave Porsche the first-ever LMGT3 win back at Qatar, sweeping the weekend for the German-brand that has stood head and shoulders above the rest of the grid.

But after a month off and teams prepared to get back out on track, how could that narrative change this weekend in Imola.

Step Up

It wasn't a poor performance for the likes of Toyota or Ferrari, but, they may have some new competition to worry about for 2024.

Last season felt like a two manufactuerer race to the championship, with Ferrari and Toyota going back and forth each weekend when it came to race wins.

This year with Porsche added to the mix, their is no telling what could happen.

There are other teams who could make a splash at some point this year, whether that be an already established BMW program in hybrid-racing or a loaded Alpine group, but Porsche looked as dominant as any team on the grid.

Toyota and Ferrari both will be up at the top this season no question but they will have to fend off a Porsche team that is coming off a impressive opening weekend to the season a month ago.

Holy Imola

Imola is a circuit that may only be on the calendar for 2024 but it provides a unique layout for the potential one hit wonder.

This track isn't a technical circuit, but it is a more of a classic track layout, with a bit of age on the grounds of the facility.

Strategy is always important to a race weekend but it may be most important for this race given how the circuit can produce some wear on the car.

Also, given that this is a track that hasn't been competed on in WEC since 2011, it will be a new challenge for drivers.

So far, Ferrari's AF Corse group has been the top dogs of the weekend, taking two of the three top spots in Qualyfying in their home race but this maybe a race that could create some complications for teams.

Final Thoughts

Overall looking at Imola on Sunday, it will be interesting to see who can shine and take the overall podium and class podiums.

It has been about a month since the last WEC race for teams so it will be a regrouping weekend for teams before tomorrow's 2nd Round of the season.

Ferrari has the early advantage so far on the weekend and with the hometown advantage, maybe the team can win in front of their supporters, but a team like Porsche or Toyota may have something to say on that end.

Nevertheless, it will be a busy two days for teams who are in IMSA and WEC who may see a double win weekend.