By sportswriter Michael Butterworth
SHANGHAI, Nov. 9 (Xinhua) -- The 2019-20 World Endurance Championship moves to China this weekend for its annual visit to Shanghai, which has been a mainstay on the WEC schedule since the championship's inaugural season in 2012.
This year's 4 Hours of Shanghai sees a total of 31 cars competing across four categories for top honors, and the early indications are that Toyota's recent dominance of the LMP1 category may be set to end this weekend.
A perfect start to the season, with one-two finishes in the first two races, has seen both Toyotas slapped with the maximum permitted success ballast under WEC regulations.
In theory, this means they will be lapping 2.74s slower per lap than in Shanghai last season, meaning the two Team LNT Ginettas and the single Rebellion Racing entry have every chance of knocking Toyota off top spot for the first time since last season's 6 Hours of Silverstone, eight races ago.
Local race fans will be watching the LMP2 category with interest, cheering on Chinese-Dutch racer Ho-Pin Tung in China's Jackie Chan DC Racing team.
Tung and his teammates Gabriel Aubry and Will Stevens currently sit third in the LMP2 standings, and will be chasing down the championship-leading Racing Team Nederland Oreca, after the Dutch squad took a surprise maiden win last time out in Fuji.
The Swiss Cool Racing squad are also likely to be in the hunt for victory on Sunday, having won the season's opening round at Silverstone in September.
Into the GTE category, things look exceptionally tight at the top, with the top three cars separated by just three points in the standings, meaning fans can likely expect plenty of close racing on Sunday as the chasing pack look to wrest top spot from Kevin Estre and Michael Christensen.