A careful trawl of the new regulations for the 2016 FIA WEC by Mat Fernandez reveals an interesting addition.
The new regulation is specific to refuelling during the race:
“Any device/system whose principle is not strictly linked to gravity is prohibited on board”
The strong assumption is that this is aimed squarely at Porsche who have consistently managed to refuel faster than its LMP1 competitors for reasons people could only speculate.
Various theories had been offered as to how Porsche were achieving this with senior technical staff in the WEC paddock offering the opinion that somehow Porsche were creating a void in their tanks to get fuels through faster.
The Porsche advantage proved to be anywhere between 3 and 5 seconds per refuelling. Transpose this to Le Mans where the winning car did 395 laps, refuelling every 13 to 14 laps – say 13.5 laps per stint, that equates to 29 stops over the 24 hours and an effective time gain of anywhere between 1min27s (3s lost per refueling) to 2min25 (5s lost per refuelling).
The rulemakers though have clearly decided to act before this part of the engineering of the sport becomes another expensive battleground!