A significant suite of changes to the 2021 specification of LMP2 in the ELMS and FIA WEC is set to be unveiled.
As DSC wrote earlier this week there has been some significant testing of a number of measures designed to drop the current LMP2 cars away from the intended pace of the incoming ‘Hypercars in the FIA WEC, with the same specification for the LMP2s also set to be introduced for the ELMS too in a process referred to by the rulemakers as ‘stratification’
A dramatic twist to that process has now been revealed with work to produce a tyre to assist the strtification process abandoned as the revised product from sole-supplier Goodyear was proving problematic in terms of what the LMEM, organisers of the WEC and ELMS, describe as ‘drivability’.
A letter received by all LMP2 competitors this morning instead outlines a series of measures that will be introduced from the start of the 2021 ELMS and WEC seasons to slow down the cars.
The cars will see a reduction of power by 50kw from 2020 levels (some 20 kw more of a reduction than initially proposed, tested and indeed raced in the Asian Le Mans Series).
The cars will see weight increased by 20 kg (to 950 kg).
And the cars will have to run the previously Le Mans only specification of bodywork with lower downforce available (and lower drag).
With the lateness of the notice to the teams the bodywork aspect of the changes will be introduced from Round 2 at the Red Bull Ring.
An associated letter from Goodyear to their customers states:
“Over the past 12 months we have been working on achieving the targeted performance reduction set out by the FIA and ACO at the end of 2019, to meet the correct performance window required for the LMP2 tires and the new stratification for 2021.
“Through that process it has become evident to all parties that fully achieving their required performance reduction in tires will bring ‘driveability’ consequences that are not acceptable to all parties.
“As a result, it has been decided to adopt a more balanced approach in selecting the tire specifications to begin the season. With the support of the ACO and the FIA partners, further measures will therefore have to be applied to manage the performance level. We look for your understanding in these unprecedented times for us all to be able to achieve the desired results.”
A statement from the ACO late afternoon states:
“In order to harmonise performance levels between the Hypercar and the LMP2 categories, the FIA WEC Committee and the ACO have decided to further adjust performance of the cars competing in the LMP2 class.
“This is to ensure that the performance windows of the two respective classes of cars, as well as their speed profiles, remain consistent at all circuits and in all weather conditions.
“Gibson engines, exclusive to this category, will therefore deliver 400kW instead of the previous limit of 450kW. Furthermore, mirroring the Hypercar category, a single aero kit has been made mandatory across the whole season and will be limited to the Le Mans specification.
“The minimum weight of the cars has also been increased by 20kg and has been set at 950kg.
“As announced last year, the initial plan was to reposition the performance window by adopting the 2021 Goodyear tyre specification and reducing the maximum engine power by 30kW. Following the initial testing phase and consultation with both Goodyear and the teams, the committee has decided that retaining the previously used compounds is the most suitable option, given their proven and consistent performance in all conditions as well as their drivability.
“Furthermore, lower power limit will contribute to lower running costs by extending lifespan of different components. The new level of performance will be introduced in all competitions (FIA World Endurance Championship, European Le Mans Series, Asian Le Mans Series) where LMP2 cars eligible to compete in the 2021 24 Hours of Le Mans are in use.”