Toyota Gazoo Racing’s dominance over the LMP1 privateer entrants in the 2018/19 FIA WEC ‘Super Season’ has prompted Equivalence of Technology changes for the upcoming season which begins at the end of next month at Silverstone.
The statement from the organisers, released on the eve of the pre-season Prologue Test at Barcelona, reads:
“In the spirit of ensuring a more equal level of performance and increased competition between the LMP1 Hybrid and LMP1 Non-Hybrid prototypes competing in the FIA World Endurance Championship, the following evolutions to the Equivalence of Technology (EoT) have today been announced.
“The different points were discussed and agreed by the LMP1 competitors, Toyota Gazoo Racing, Rebellion Racing and Team LNT ahead of The Prologue, the WEC’s official pre-season test in Barcelona on 23/24 July.
“Weight: The Toyota TS050 HYBRIDS will each carry an additional 14kg compared to the TOTAL 6 Hours of Spa 2019, thus +40kg compared to the car’s minimum regulation weight;
“Fuel tank capacity: The fuel tank capacity will be adjusted to ensure an equal number of laps per stint for both LMP1 H and LMP1 NH for every round including Le Mans;
“Refuelling time: At each pit stop LMP1 H cars will refuel 1 second slower than LMP1 NH cars to compensate for the advantage they have restarting in electric mode;
“Success handicap: A success handicap will be introduced whereby the performance of all cars – hybrid or non-hybrid – will be adjusted before each race to take into consideration points scored in the Championship.
“These changes have been agreed by all LMP1 competitors and will come into effect from the opening round of Season 8, the 4 Hours of Silverstone on 1st September.
“For the 24 Hours of Le Mans, a specific EoT will be implemented using the same principles as for the Season 8 EoT.”
This news means that the two privateer teams in the class, Rebellion Racing and Team LNT should be closer than ever to the TS050 HYBRIDs (which have been updated over the off-season) during the upcoming season.
During the ‘Super Season’ Toyota dominated and emerged victorious in all but one of the races; the only race it didn’t win was the 6 Hours of Silverstone after both its cars were disqualified post-race.
“We are focusing on the preparation of the season, and keeping the teams happy,” FIA WEC CEO Gerard Neveu told DSC last weekend when asked about the EoT situation in LMP1.
“We are working hard backstage, but that is backstage, not in front of the media. We have people working hard to provide something very interesting.
“Let’s see what happens in September.”
Lawrence Tomlinson, Ginetta’s CEO and Team LNT team principal spoke to DSC after the announcement and gave his immediate reaction.
“Before I got involved in sportscar racing, I’d always been a fan, attending Le Mans many times, watching close racing, with Jaguar, Mazda, and others. it’s important for our sport that racing in the top class is close. It’s fantastic that Toyota and the ACO and the FIA have recognised this and addressed the issue to make LMP1 and LMP1H now into a category that will create close racing for the whole of the season.”