Why Jose Maria Lopez isn’t motivated by emulating Fangio
Having twice missed out on Formula 1 and reinvented himself as a touring car driver, Jose Maria Lopez has had a rocky ride to becoming a four-time world champion. One more would put him level with his nation's favourite son, but there's another prize he would value far more than the honour of matching Juan Manuel Fangio's tally.
If Vernon Kay were to front a motorsport-themed edition of Family Fortunes asking for the names of Argentinian racing drivers, you can bet that the first answer given would be five-time Formula 1 world champion Juan Manuel Fangio. F1 aficionados might cite Jose Froilan Gonzalez or Carlos Reutemann, with Oscar Larrauri and Esteban Tuero at the more niche end of the spectrum.
It’s unlikely that one would immediately think of Toyota’s FIA World Endurance Championship charger Jose Maria Lopez for the simple reason that he never raced in motorsport’s most popular series. But with four world titles already to his name, Lopez is arguably the nation’s foremost export since the late Reutemann and it's not too much of a stretch to picture him surpassing Fangio in the world titles stakes.
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Toyota #8 trio Brendon Hartley, Sebastien Buemi and Ryo Hirakawa outscored their rivals in the last season before the World Endurance Championship’s top class gets ultra-competitive. Here's how their Hypercar battle with Alpine and the remaining class tussles played out in LMP2, GTE Pro and GTE Am
The organisers of the World Endurance Championship and IMSA SportsCar Championship worked together to devise the popular new LMDh rule set. But to turn it from an idea into reality, some serious compromises were involved - both from the prospective LMDh entrants and those with existing Le Mans Hypercar projects...
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OPINION: While the focus has been on the exciting prospect of Ferrari vs Porsche at the Le Mans 24 Hours next year, BMW’s factory return to endurance racing should not be ignored. It won't be at the French classic next year as it focuses efforts on the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, but could be a dark horse in 2024 when it returns to La Sarthe with the crack WRT squad.
The Peugeot 9X8 will make its FIA World Endurance Championship debut at Monza this weekend. The French manufacturer has gone radical and will be hoping it doesn’t need to overhaul its contender, as it did with its first Le Mans challenger…
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