Return of international endurance racing to Mexico City
AT&T announced as presenting sponsor
Promoter Ricardo Gonzalez launches plans for 6 Hours of Mexico
A packed Press Conference took place in Mexico City today, Sunday March 13, to herald the return of top-flight international endurance racing to Mexico.
In the presence of the President of the Federation de l’Automobile, Jean Todt, the FIA World Endurance Championship’s CEO Gérard Neveu, Chief Marketing Officer of Presenting Sponsor AT&T Mexico, Victor Tiburcio, José Abed from Mexico’s governing body of motorsport, OMDAI, and drivers from Audi (Lucas di Grassi and Loïc Duval), Toyota (Sébastien Buemi), Rebellion Racing (Nicolas Prost), Ferrari (Sam Bird) and RGR Sport by Morand (Bruno Senna), the 6 Hours of Mexico Presented by AT&T was officially launched to the Mexican media and public.
The fifth round of the FIA WEC will take place at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez between September 1-3 and over 30 of the world’s leading sports prototypes and GT racers will be present to light up the track and thrill the crowds.
Also announced at today’s conference was presenting sponsor of the event, AT&T. Victor Tiburcio, Chief Marketing Officer of AT&T in Mexico spoke of the importance of the event: “AT&T came to Mexico to transform the telecommunications market and drive innovation with a robust and reliable 4G LTE network, traits that we share with the Spirit of Le Mans. We’re excited to bring this great event to Mexico because the racing world stands for the same values that inspire us to provide our users with better service every day”.
Promoter of the 6 Hours of Mexico Presented by AT&T, Ricardo Gonzalez, explained to the assembled media why – in addition to his role as a team owner and driver in the 2016 WEC – he had seized the opportunity to stage the championship’s debut in Central America.
The inclusion in the 2016 WEC calendar of the Latin American round resurrects a long history of endurance racing in Mexico, stretching back to the halcyon days of the racing brothers, Ricardo and Pedro Rodríguez, the latter a well-established endurance racer.
Today, Audis, Porsches and Toyotas compete in the top LMP1 category with hybrid-powered prototypes which feature the most advanced technology in motorsport; the competition is intense and flat out from flag to flag. An example of the 2015 World Endurance Championship-winning Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 was on display at the conference venue in the Polanco area of the city.
Names such as Senna and Prost compete alongside Mexico’s own Ricardo Gonzalez, 2013 LMP2 Champion and Le Mans 24 Hours winner, in prototypes which race nose-to-tail and side by side for six hours. In the GTE (E for endurance) categories, official factory teams from Aston Martin, Ferrari, Ford and Porsche battle for supremacy in cars which are based around the production vehicles seen on today’s roads. There are four races within the one race, ensuring action, excitement, overtaking, the need for strategy and, above all, endurance.
The drivers present at the conference today included Bruno Senna (BRA), driver alongside Ricardo Gonzalez (MEX) at RGR Sport by Morand, Lucas di Grassi (BRA) and Loïc Duval (FRA) from Audi Sport, Sébastien Buemi (CHE) of Toyota Gazoo Racing, Nicolas Prost (FRA) of Rebellion Racing, and Sam Bird (GBR) from Ferrari’s AF Corse team. All had competed the day before in the FIA Formula E Championship race at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez which only heightened their enthusiasm for a return in September with the WEC.
Jean Todt, President of the Federation de l’Automobile: “Mexico City is a vibrant place with the population showing great enthusiasm for motorsport, as the FIA has witnessed first-hand recently when it hosted its 2015 FIA Sport Conference there, as well as enjoying the return of the FIA Formula One World Championship last year. We look forward to welcoming the 6 Hours of Mexico to our other World Championship events established in Mexico.”
Gerard Neveu, CEO of the FIA World Endurance Championship: “One of the cornerstones of our championship is the strong partnership we have with our partners, competitors and, indeed, everyone who is part of the WEC including, of course, the media. The WEC offers a unique stage on which to compete, at premier race circuits around the world, plus high visibility in key commercial automotive markets and this is why the 6 Hours of Mexico Presented by AT&T is so important for all concerned. We are proud to be bringing top level endurance racing back to Mexico and we are confident it will be a huge success.”
Ricardo González, Promoter 6 Hours of Mexico: “The WEC for me means a lot because it has given me great satisfactions through my career. So be part of this project in my country it is a big challenge but I am confident that Mexico will make its mark on the WEC. I’m very happy to work with the WEC and bring the experience and the spirit of Le Mans to Mexico”.
Photo: from left to right: Gerard Neveu, CEO WEC; Mexican racing legend Adrian Fernandez; Promoter of the 6 Hours of Mexico Ricardo Gonzalez; Bruno Senna; Loic Duval; Lucas di Grassi; Sam Bird; Nicolas Prost, Sebastien Buemi.