Photo: Francois Flamand / DPPI for FIAWEC.COM
There has been a change of date and schedule to the 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship. The calendar still consists of 8 rounds but the season finale will be in São Paulo, Brazil, rather than Bahrain.
There are still no weekends clashing with F1 races except for the US race which takes place on the same Saturday, albeit much later in the day, as the Singapore GP qualifying.
Although moving the Brazilian round from August to November creates a three month gap between Le Mans and Austin, however it now allows you to plan a super racing holiday in the region. The F1 Brazilian Grand Prix takes place on the 9th November at Interlagos, Formula E is scheduled the following weekend in Rio de Janeiro and two weeks later it's the 6 Hours of São Paulo in Interlagos.
18-20 April // Great Britain (Silverstone)
02-03 May // Belgium (Spa-Francorchamps)
11-15 June // France (24 Heures du Mans)
18-20 September // USA (Austin)
10-12 October // Japan (Fuji)
31 October-03 November // China (Shanghai)
13-15 November // Bahrain (Sakhir)
28-30 November // Brazil (São Paulo)
There is a major rule change in Formula 1 for 2014. Gone are the screaming 2.4-litre V8 power trains and in are the quieter 1.6-litre V6 turbo hybrid power units.
Whilst this is probably the single biggest change in the sport since 1989, one of the most noticeable differences from last year's cars is the nose section which has been lowered in two places.
The tip has now a maximum height of 18.5 cm compared to 55 cm last year and the section where the nosecone joins the rest of the car has been lowered by 10 cm, from 62.5 to 52.5 cm. There are other aero changes, most notably at the back of the car where only one exhaust pipe is allowed and there are no more blown diffusers. However, it is the strikingly different look at the front of the cars that has generated the most comments over the internet.
The most different aspect to spectators attending race weekends this year will be the lower noise levels. The previous engines revved up to 18,000 rpm whereas the new generation of power units will only manage a maximum of 15,000 rpm. Earplugs could be a thing of the past. A spectator at the Jerez test posted the the video below on YouTube. Have a listen at the Ferrari.
If you thought this sounds like a Le Mans prototype car, you're probably not too far from truth. Except that the World Endurance Championship features a variety of power trains. The Toyota is propelled by a V8 petrol hybrid unit, the Audi a V6 diesel hybrid and Porsche are rumoured to run a 4 cylinder petrol hybrid engine.