The President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, Pierre Fillon, and CEO of the FIA World Endurance Championship, Gérard Neveu, have revealed multiple changes to the LMP1 regulations for the coming years.
From 2018/2019, and in the future, there will only be one category (and consequently one classification) in LMP1.
In an attempt to make it as accessible as possible for teams to join LMP1 from the 2018-2019 season onwards, the level of performance of the current non-hybrid LMP1 regulations managed via equivalence of technologies will be aligned with the current LMP1 hybrid regulations.
Each competitor entered in LMP1 will have the same potential of performance independent of the type engine power used. Very clearly there will always be a slight advantage for hybrid cars in terms of efficiency, as they will be able to undertake longer stints on the same level of fuel. For clarity, that means that the regulations will support very similar lap times for hybrid, non-hybrid privateer and indeed non-hybrid factory entries. Though the hybrid cars will be able to fulfil longer stints on the allocated fuel.
That also means therefore, that if a hybrid-powered cars had any significant problem when racing against a non-hybrid LMP1 running reliably, it would be difficult for the hybrid car to catch.
In addition to this, Gerard Neveu also told DSC, that Toyota will not be able to enter the Le Mans 24 Hours in LMP1, unless it enters the full FIA WEC season in 2018/2019 and beyond. DSC also understands that other chassis suppliers in the LMP1 class – Ginetta and Dallara – should be able to enter the LMP1 Manufacturer’s World Championship (the current entry fee for which is €360,000).
There will be no changes made to the current chassis regulations, that means existing LMP1 hybrids, the LMP1 privateer cars currently in development (plus any other eligible chassis which could include current LMP2 chassis re-designed to full LMP1 regulations.)
All these decisions will apply for the next two seasons.
Other regulatory decisions, which are still being finalised, will be announced later on covering areas such as a reduction in the number of private tests and collective tests proposed.
The 2020 LMP1 regulations meanwhile, which included the introduction of plug-in hybrid technology, will be ‘substantially altered’ from the announcement made during this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. It will definitely include the removal of the zero emissions start to each stint, and finish of the race at Le Mans.
The ACO and the FIA remains committed to including Hybrid systems in Endurance racing. Though, they admit that “the budgets invested over these last years in LMP1 Hybrid are no longer sustainable and a return to reasonable budgets should allow all manufacturers to compete in this discipline.”
More details on the Technical Regulations will be presented over the coming weeks…