FIA WEC CEO Gerard Neveu was available after today’s annual ACO press conference at Le Mans, there he was able to talk about the new ‘Hypercar Prototype’ regulations, which have been finalised.
The wait is over Gerard, the regulations are in place for the 2020/21 season. What’s your immediate reaction?
“It’s good. We have good visibility, it’s like when you drive a car, you like to see the exit of the corner, this is the case for us now. We have to put all our knowledge and energy together to ensure we are on the right trajectory, to deliver very good regulations for September 2020.”
The performance window (3:30 lap at Le Mans) quoted puts these new ‘Hypercars’ in roughly the same performance window as the current LMP2s. How will you deal with this?
“The minimum time for the Hypercars is 3:30, that’s the mandatory target. We feel comfortable that we should be a little bit quicker at the end. We will see how it goes. We have to see the car running in the winter to work it out. If we have to reduce LMP2s by 50 horsepower, for example, it won’t be difficult and it won’t change the structure of the grid. It will be what we have now.
“What we have to be careful is what exactly the performance level is for Le Mans Hypercar Prototypes.
How confident are you in the Balance of Performance system that will be used to keep the cars competitive?
“I’m as confident as I was confident for the BoP in GTE. Who can complain about that? When we introduced the current BoP two years ago, people were sceptical for that. Then I see the qualifying times at Le Mans this year. That’s my comment. I think it will be a huge task, but we have established clear rules. There is a job to do, but they did well with GTE, balancing very different cars. I’m confident it will be as good as in GTE.”
We expect two manufacturers for Year 1, what do you expect we will see into Year 2?
“We expect more than two manufacturers. You never think for Year 1, you think that for the first year it’s reasonable two will be ready. But many more should come for the following season. Maybe more Year 1? That’s not my job, I have to manage the championship, I’ve just released the grid for season eight, I don’t know the grid for season nine yet!”
Where do the privateers sit in all this? They have become the backbone for LMP1 over the past season. Do you expect them to commit to these new regulations?
“I sincerely hope so. The privateers are doing good jobs. My feeling is that if we want a good structure and good business model, we don’t have to expect just manufacturers. The structure can be manufacturers providing technology to privateers or private teams running the cars, which is already the case with some manufacturers. In this case you can easily find a good structure for privateers.”
How careful do you have to be to maintain GTE numbers, with the increase in manufacturer interest for the top class?
“We started with two, we had five this year, normally we’re between 3-4, and the target is to stay at this level. Less than three is not very good, more than three is lucky. You have to know who will participate in the top categories first. This is two different models in GTE, to GTE Am, you can’t compare the platform. You can have new manufacturers in GTE.”
Finally, can you deliver a message to the fans, everyone who has been waiting for this day? Sum up for us this vision and what we can expect.
“Very frankly, I think the two presidents explained what we wanted when we built these regulations. The idea is to make the fans, the people, happy about this sport. We have a huge community behind us and our job is to make them happy. There’s no better way to do that than to produce a spectacular race in each category. The only thing people want is a battle, fighting and a story. We have to make this happy.
“I hope these new regulations will do that for the top category.”