Gary Watkins
Author

Gary Watkins

London, UK

Gary Watkins has, for reasons best known to himself, devoted all his working life to covering sportscar racing. This season is his 32nd as a motorsport journalist, during which time he has reported on major long-distance events on four continents and approaching 75 24-hour races. He reckons a degree in political philosophy makes him well qualified for covering the sometimes Machiavellian world of international sportscars.

Gary, who also writes for Autoweek, Motor Sport, Autocourse, RACER and others, lives in Surbiton but spends more time on the road than at home for most of the year.

Latest articles by Gary Watkins

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How Alpine's stunted Portimao charge kept Toyota clear

Despite going stride for stride for pace at Portimao, Alpine’s grandfathered LMP1 couldn’t convert pole position into a sustained victory fight against Toyota. And due to rules and car limitations that are set in stone, the French manufacturer will be searching for solutions in its own battle of endurance.

Toyota explains late Portimao team orders call Algarve
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Toyota explains late Portimao team orders call

The Toyota FIA World Endurance Championship squad has revealed a change to its internal rules of engagement to allow its cars to race to the chequered flag in the wake of Sunday's Portimao 8 Hours.

Alpine expects fuel mileage disadvantage for full WEC season

Alpine has conceded that it will have to live with its inability to match the fuel mileage of the new Le Mans Hypercars through the 2021 FIA World Endurance Championship season.

Portimao WEC: Alpine beats Toyotas to maiden pole Algarve
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Portimao WEC: Alpine beats Toyotas to maiden pole

Alpine edged out Toyota to claim pole position for this weekend's Portimao 8 Hours FIA World Endurance Championship round in a closely-fought qualifying session.

Portimao WEC: United LMP2 leads Alpine in final practice Algarve
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Portimao WEC: United LMP2 leads Alpine in final practice

Paul di Resta and United Autosports completed a clean sweep for LMP2 machinery across free practice for Sunday's Portimao FIA World Endurance Championship round, as the Glickenhaus made a dramatic improvement. 

Charting 100 world championship sportscar starts for Toyota Prime

Charting 100 world championship sportscar starts for Toyota

This weekend's Portimao 8 Hours round of the FIA World Endurance Championship marks the 100th world champion prototype start for Toyota. Here are the major milestones on the road to three figures since the earliest low-key days of its entry into the Group C arena nearly 40 years ago.

Portimao WEC: Da Costa's JOTA LMP2 fastest in FP1 Algarve
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Portimao WEC: Da Costa's JOTA LMP2 fastest in FP1

JOTA LMP2 driver Antonio Felix da Costa jumped to the top of the times in the dying minutes of first practice for this weekend's FIA World Endurance Championship round at Portimao.

Toyota won't contest "not avoidable" Portimao BoP blow Algarve
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Toyota won't contest "not avoidable" Portimao BoP blow

Toyota has no complaints with the double performance hit its Le Mans Hypercars have received for this weekend's Portimao round of the FIA World Endurance Championship.

Le Mans 24 Hours fans won't be divided into groups

The 50,000 spectators allowed to attend this year's rescheduled Le Mans 24 Hours in August will not divided into smaller groups.

Le Mans 24 Hours to admit 50,000 spectators in August
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Le Mans 24 Hours to admit 50,000 spectators in August

A crowd of 50,000 will be permitted at this year's Le Mans 24 Hour round of the FIA World Endurance Championship in August.

BMW to make top-flight sportscar racing return in 2023
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BMW to make top-flight sportscar racing return in 2023

BMW will make a return to top-flight sportscar racing after an absence of more than 20 years in the new LMDh prototype category in 2023.

Glickenhaus hypercar "100 percent ready" for WEC debut Algarve
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Glickenhaus hypercar "100 percent ready" for WEC debut

The new Glickenhaus Le Mans Hypercar is "100 percent ready for Portimao", according to British driver Richard Westbrook. 

Ferrari to continue AF Corse alliance for LMH programme

Ferrari's Le Mans Hypercar will be run by long-term partner AF Corse on the marque's return to prototype racing in the FIA World Endurance Championship in 2023.

Toyota gets BoP performance hit for Portimao

Toyota's new GR010 Hybrid has been slowed by a double performance hit for next weekend's Portimao round of the FIA World Endurance Championship.

BMW considering LMDh, Electric GT as post-Formula E options
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BMW considering LMDh, Electric GT as post-Formula E options

LMDh and the new FIA Electric GT Championship are among the options for BMW as it plots its future in top-level motorsport beyond the end its Formula E programme.

McLaren F1 team boss Brown to race GT4 for United Autosports

McLaren Racing boss Zak Brown will return to the cockpit of one of the British marque's GT racers at Zandvoort next month with his United Autosports team.

Aston Martin reunites Thiim, Sorensen for Spa 24 Hours

Reigning FIA World Endurance Championship GTE Pro title winners Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen will contest this year's Spa 24 Hours in an all-factory Aston Martin driver line-up. 

Glickenhaus LMH "ran like a train" during Aragon test
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Glickenhaus LMH "ran like a train" during Aragon test

The new Glickenhaus Le Mans Hypercar "ran like a train" through its first long-distance test ahead of its FIA World Endurance Championship debut at next month's Portimao round. 

The new threat facing SRO's ultra-successful GT3 category Prime

The new threat facing SRO's ultra-successful GT3 category

The manufacturers were unconvinced – and even hostile – when Stephane Ratel launched GT3 in 2006. Now, 15 years on from its debut, they’ve sold more than 2000 cars and counting, but its continued expansion puts the increasingly globalised category at risk of losing its roots.

Champion Racing unveils Pikes Peak hillclimb Porsche

The Le Mans 24 Hours-winning Champion Racing team has unveiled the car with which it will end a 12-season absence from competition in next month's Pikes Peak hillclimb.

GT3 could be "doomed" if it's adopted by WEC - Ratel
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GT3 could be "doomed" if it's adopted by WEC - Ratel

The GT3 category could be "doomed" if it is adopted by the Le Mans 24 Hours and the World Endurance Championship, the architect of the class Stephane Ratel has warned. 

Porsche wants GTE car to race on beyond 2022

Porsche is targeting a future for the GTE division in the FIA World Endurance Championship beyond the current two-year commitment to the class by the series organisers. 

The philosophical problems the WEC's new Hypercar class is already facing

Most of the column inches after the World Endurance Championship's opener were centred around the relative pace of the Hypercar class and the LMP2s, but there's another question that needs addressing in order for the new division to have a successful future

Electric GT Championship plans revealed ahead of 2023 launch

A new FIA Electric GT Championship promoted by Eurosport will kick off in 2023 using the rules unveiled by the governing body last month.

Porsche, Penske unite to run new LMDh prototype in WEC, IMSA
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Porsche, Penske unite to run new LMDh prototype in WEC, IMSA

Penske will mastermind Porsche's factory return to top-line sportscar racing with a new LMDh prototype in both the FIA World Endurance Championship and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship from 2023.

Alpine wants WEC BoP changes to ease fuel mileage concerns

Alpine is demanding changes to the Hypercar Balance of Performance after losing a shot at victory in Saturday's FIA World Endurance Championship opener at Spa on fuel mileage.

How stumbling Toyota drew first blood in the WEC's new era

Amid concerns that the new Hypercar class would be upstaged on debut by the spec LMP2 machines at Spa, Toyota delivered the pole and victory that the vast majority of observers expected. But neither car had a clean run, which gave the grandfathered Alpine LMP1 an unexpected shot at glory.

Estre: Porsche Spa WEC triumph was "extremely stressful"

Porsche driver Kevin Estre has described his World Endurance Championship class victory together with Neel Jani at Spa on Saturday as "extremely stressful" despite their domination in GTE Pro.

Toyota explains Kobayashi's race-deciding Spa off

Toyota has revealed that a braking problem cost reigning champions Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez near-certain victory in Saturday's FIA World Endurance Championship opener at Spa.

Toyota: Hypercars won't always outpace LMP2s in race trim

The advantage the Hypercars enjoyed over LMP2s in qualifying for the Spa FIA World Endurance Championship opener does not mean they will always be faster on race pace, according to Toyota.

Le Mans 24h date won't change again, even without fans

The Le Mans 24 Hours will go ahead on its new date at the end of August even if it is run behind closed doors for a second year in succession.

WEC won't slow down LMP2 cars if further tweaks needed

The FIA World Endurance Championship will increase the pace of cars in the new Hypercar category rather than slowing the LMP2s if it needs to adjust the balance between the classes.

Jani "starting my career again" with WEC GTE switch

Le Mans 24 Hours winner Neel Jani feels like he is "starting my career again" as he begins his maiden GT campaign in the World Endurance Championship with Porsche.

Spa WEC: United Autosports LMP2 fastest in first practice

Filipe Albuquerque and the United Autosports LMP2 squad again outpaced the cars in the new Hypercar class in first free practice for this weekend's FIA World Endurance Championship opener at Spa.

Toyota "surprised" by WEC call to leave LMP2 speed unchanged

Toyota has admitted surprise at the decision not to slow the LMP2 prototypes for this weekend's Spa FIA World Endurance Championship opener after they outpaced the Hypercars in pre-event testing.

Corvette star Gavin to retire from racing after Spa WEC
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Corvette star Gavin to retire from racing after Spa WEC

Five-time Le Mans 24 Hours class winner Oliver Gavin will retire from the cockpit after this weekend's opening round of the 2021 FIA World Endurance Championship season at Spa. 

What to expect from sportscar racing's bold new Hypercar era Prime

What to expect from sportscar racing's bold new Hypercar era

A slim field of three cars will be entered in the Hypercar class for the first round of the World Endurance Championship's post-LMP1 age. But there are plenty of reasons for optimism with the new wave of manufacturer entries and competing class philosophies just around the corner

Further LMP2 pace reduction ruled out ahead of Spa

Technical changes to slow the LMP2 cars for this weekend's Spa FIA World Endurance Championship season opener have been ruled out by the series' rule makers. 

Bill Whittington obituary: 1979 Le Mans 24 Hours winner dies aged 71

Bill Whittington, who has died aged 71 in a plane crash, won the Le Mans 24 Hours and made five Indianapolis 500 starts during a racing career overshadowed by controversy.

Toyota wants LMP2s slowed further after Prologue test Prologue
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Toyota wants LMP2s slowed further after Prologue test

Toyota has called for the LMP2 cars to be slowed after its new Le Mans Hypercar was outpaced during the FIA World Endurance Championship's official Prologue pre-season test at Spa. 

WEC Prologue: Buemi puts Toyota on top in final session Prologue
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WEC Prologue: Buemi puts Toyota on top in final session

Toyota moved ahead of the best of the LMP2 runners in the final session of the official pre-season test at Spa ahead of Saturday's FIA World Endurance Championship opener in Belgium.

How Aston Martin scaled new heights in the Prodrive era Prime

How Aston Martin scaled new heights in the Prodrive era

The 2021 FIA World Endurance Championship kicks off at Spa this weekend, but for the first time since its 2012 inception there will be no factory-run Aston Martins in the GTE Pro class. That's especially notable because as a works entity, the Prodrive era of Aston Martin Racing that began in 2005 has been a success from the very start.

Jan Magnussen: 2021 Le Mans "last chance" to partner Kevin
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Jan Magnussen: 2021 Le Mans "last chance" to partner Kevin

Sportscar stalwart Jan Magnussen believes this year's Le Mans 24 Hours was the last chance for him to fulfil his ambition of driving with son Kevin in the French enduro.

WEC Prologue: LMP2 team United Autosports tops first day Prologue
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WEC Prologue: LMP2 team United Autosports tops first day

The United Autosports LMP2 team again topped the times with Filipe Albuquerque in the final session of the opening day of the FIA World Endurance Championship Prologue test at Spa.

Alpine LMP1 gets hefty weight increase for Spa opener

Alpine's grandfathered A480 LMP1 car will carry a weight penalty of more than 100kg in next weekend's opening round of the FIA World Endurance Championship at Spa.

FIA reveals details of "groundbreaking" electric GT category

The FIA has revealed technical details of what it has described as a "groundbreaking" electric GT category planned for the future. 

Porsche beats Mercedes in GT World Challenge Monza opener

Porsche claimed first blood in a topsy-turvy opening round of the GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup as the Dinamic Motorsport squad reprised its 2019 victory at Monza. 

Williams F1 reserve Aitken making GT switch to broaden skillset

Williams Formula 1 reserve Jack Aitken's 2021 GT World Challenge Europe campaign with the Emil Frey Lamborghini squad was motivated by a desire to broaden his skillset as a driver.

How an ingenious fix prevented Paul Newman from winning Le Mans Prime

How an ingenious fix prevented Paul Newman from winning Le Mans

It's one of the great what-if stories in Le Mans history. Paul Newman finished second in the 24 Hours in 1979, but it could easily have been a famous victory were it not for the resourcefulness of the late Manfred Kremer.

Glickenhaus to skip first round of WEC at Spa

Glickenhaus Racing will skip the opening round of the 2021 FIA World Endurance Championship season at Spa in May with its new Le Mans Hypercar.

Bentley to contest Pikes Peak with extreme Continental GT3

Bentley will mount a factory assault on this year's Pikes Peak hillclimb with the most extreme version of its Continental GT3 racer ever built.

Porsche, Ferrari guarantee GTE's future through 2022

Ferrari and Porsche have committed to continue racing in the GTE Pro class of the FIA World Endurance Championship until the end of 2022, safeguarding the category's immediate future.

Farfus to contest full WEC season in Prodrive-run Aston

BMW factory driver Augusto Farfus will contest the FIA World Endurance Championship in Paul Dalla Lana's Prodrive-run GTE Am class Aston Martin.

Hawkey loses Iron Lynx seat over incorrect driver grading

Porsche Carrera Cup GB class champion Esmee Hawkey has been dropped from the Iron Lynx Ferrari team's all-female European Le Mans Series line-up over an incorrect driver grading.

Lynn joins United Autosports for Le Mans 24 Hours

Former Aston Martin factory driver Alex Lynn will team up with Paul di Resta for the rescheduled Le Mans 24 Hours in August at the United Autosports LMP2 squad.

WEC makes extra LMP2 performance cut for 2021 season

LMP2 machinery has been slowed for a second time to ensure a performance differential to the cars racing in the new Hypercar division of the FIA World Endurance Championship this season.

Glock, Wittmann headline Walkenhorst BMW GTWCE line-up

Ex-Formula 1 racer Timo Glock and DTM champions Martin Tomczyk and Marco Wittman will race for the Walkenhorst BMW squad in the 2021 GT World Challenge Europe. 

GTWCE Sprint Cup event at Brands Hatch moved to August

The Brands Hatch round of the GT World Challenge Europe Sprint Cup has been rescheduled for August.

How Dumfries’s Lotus F1 dream turned into a nightmare

When the late Johnny Dumfries, who has died aged 62, joined Lotus for the 1986 Formula 1 season, the pressure cranked up on the rookie sharing a garage with Ayrton Senna. In the 18 August 2011 issue of the magazine, Dumfries explained to Autosport how it all came about and why a promising campaign turned into a disappointment

Manfred Kremer: Le Mans-winning mastermind engineer dies

Manfred Kremer, who has died aged 81, was the engineering mastermind of the family Porsche team run together with brother Erwin that won the Le Mans 24 Hours in 1979.