At the traditional pre-Le Mans 24 Hours press conference in the circuit museum today, the ACO confirmed the main details of the 2016 GTE regulations, which will apply at Le Mans, in the WEC, in the United Sportscar Series and in the European and Asian Le Mans Series.
ACO Technical Director Vincent Beaumesnil and his FIA counterpart Bernard Niclot were on hand to explain the background to the new rules, which have come about following the decision not to proceed with convergence between GTE and GT3.
The aim is to clearly define GTE as the top category of GT racing and improve its performance compared to GT3, to clearly separate the two classes in series where they compete together (such as TUSC, ELMS and Asian Le Mans). Cost reduction was also key, with an increase in the homologation period for each GTE car to three years.
Regulations will be less restrictive in an effort to reduce the number of ‘waivers’ required to balance the performance of GTE cars – but also more strictly enforced. Cars will be expected to fit into very tight performance window.
There will be free aero development allowed within imaginary ‘boxes’ around the wheelarches, front wing and rear diffuser – subject to the cars remaining within the defined performance window. Sonic restrictors will still be used to limit performance if necessary.
To improve a safety, an extraction hatch will be mandatory, allowing safety crews to remove a driver from the car in the event of an accident without bending their spine.
In 2016, the new cars will be eligible in the GTE Pro class alongside existing models, with GTE Pro running only new cars in 2017. GTE Am will see only current cars in 2016, before the new models come on stream alongside the exisiting ones in 2017. In 2018, both categories will permit the new models only.
In the regional series (European Le Mans Series and Asian Le Mans Series), the current cars will continue to be used in both Pro and Am classes 2016. New cars will be permitted in both classes in 2017 alongside the old ones, before both classes switch to new cars only in 2018.