The 2019 Le Mans 24 Hours’ ACO Press Conference has seen confirmation of a set of regulations for the 2020/21 FIA WEC season (including the 2021 Le Mans 24 Hours) for a totally re-vamped top class of international endurance prototypes.
After a torturous 12 months, with rumour, counter-rumour, high hopes and dashed expectations, all featuring in a high-velocity round of meetings and negotiations, the new top class regulations for the FIA World Endurance Championship have finally been confirmed.
Dubbed in the presentation to the media at Le Mans, as ‘Le Mans Hypercar Prototype’, there are strong similarities between the template now firmed up and the most recent stories featured here on DSC.
Now gone from reckoning are both the (FIA-backed) GTE Plus and DPi ‘Plan B’ options, with both Toyota and Aston Martin due to announce ‘Hypercar Prototype’ programmes as early as today.
Other major manufacturers have confirmed privately to DSC, that they are ready to commit to the new formula in year 2 (2021/22) should the regulations prove capable of applying effective ‘BoP’ and cost control.
There have been plenty of details revealed so far.
The cars will have a minimum weight of 1100 kilos, with around 750hp engines.
Both hybrid and non-hybrid cars are allowed, with the hybrid systems capable of producing 250hp.
In order to help equalise performance, between hybrid and non-hybrid cars, hybrid vehicles will not be permitted to deploy their boost below 120kph on slick tyres, with a speed between 140-160 kph set to be defined for deployment in wet weather.
In addition, there will be BoP for road car vs prototype chassis and the various drivetrains. Aero is free but with mandatory safety criteria and performance criteria will be defined at the point of homologation.
There will be strict safety parameters too. Safety standards for the road car-based chassis for this formula will be “similar to LMP1” standards laid down by the FIA.
There will be a single tyre supplier.
To be eligible for competition, manufacturers of hypercars must produce a minimum of 20 road-going versions over two years.
DSC believes that the initial draft rule provision which said that OEM hybrid systems must be provided for sale to other competitors at a cost-capped level has not made it to the final draft of the regulations.