Toyota, Spa-Francorchamps, WEC, 2018

Todt aiming for seven manufacturers in new, low-cost LMP1 from 2020

World Endurance Championship

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FIA president Jean Todt aims to lure manufacturers back to the top class of the World Endurance Championship with a new, much cheaper formula from 2020.

The number of manufacturer competitors in the top flight of endurance racing has fallen from four to one since 2015. Todt told RaceFans and other media yesterday budgets must be cut to attract them back and did not rule out the possibility of introducing a cost cap.

“I will not get into the detail how to achieve it but clearly we want to find ways of drastically decreasing the costs and making it more attractive to manufacturers and also to private competitors,” said Todt at a media briefing last weekend.

“At the top category of the championship, it’s not crazy to think if we do a good job and taking into account what needs to be taken into account, I could foresee without being over-optimistic five to seven manufacturers,” he added.

The top class could also be given a new identity, added Todt. “At the moment LMP1 is the top category. In the future we will still have a top category but it’s not taken for granted that the name will remain the same.”

Toyota is the only remaining LMP1 hybrid competitor following the departure of Porsche last year. WEC responded by moving to the ‘super-season’ format for the 2018-19 championship and encouraging more customer team entries into LMP1. Todt said he is pleased with the short-term measures which have been taken to stabilise the championship.

“We were in a kind of emergency situation,” he explained. “So being in an emergency situation we had to find some innovative solutions.”

Todt added he wants the LMP2 and the GT classes to continue alongside LMP1 but wants all the categories to be closer in terms of performance.

“I think it’s a good distribution to have a top category which will be clearly different from what it is at the present time and to have an intermediate category like what is called today LMP2 which will have a lot of teams which are competing at affordable budget and then a lot of GT cars competing.

“I would prefer to have less gap. What is sometimes a bit scary you go in Le Mans and you see after the first lap you have a group of cars arriving which is at the moment LMP1, then a few seconds behind you have another group of cars, and then you have to wait and you have the third group. I can understand that you have this pyramid in endurance racing but I would like a closer gap with this pyramid.”

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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22 comments on “Todt aiming for seven manufacturers in new, low-cost LMP1 from 2020”

  1. why don’t they aim for 7 privateers and NO manufacturers? bring back old school racing teams with as little corporation involvement as possible (it will still be millionaire capitalists though, but I prefer startups to overly corporate faceless companies)

  2. Todt, if you hear me, can you please bring back the GT1 category, we miss those top GT cars.

    1. @abdelilah, the people who had to bear the cost of developing those cars don’t miss that aspect, as the cost of competing just wasn’t competitive with other GT racing categories, particularly GT3 series. After all, being able to share components between GT3 spec and GTE spec cars is helping to keep down costs for both series, as both series have been trying to ensure that they can keep themselves on a healthy financial footing (and it seems to be working so far).

      The closest that you might get is the suggestion that the ACO might change the regulations so that the future LMP1 cars are allowed to have a greater visual resemblance to road going cars, but the GT1 category is unlikely to come back as there just isn’t the funding available at that level to field a large and sustainable field.

    2. GtPro is essentially GT1.

  3. BJ (@beejis60)
    6th May 2018, 13:44

    taking into account what needs to be taken into account

    I understand that English is not his first language but what the hell kind of answer is this???

    1. His Ron Dennis impression?

  4. Waiting for the GTP class.

  5. Yeah, bring some more LMP1 teams in. There is no reason somebody should have to spend 200 milion per year for racing in a second tier Racing series.

    At best 50 milion should be the maximum considering there is balance of performance.

    1. Second tier, do you mean lmp2? Because lmp1 is the top tier. Where do you get those numbers from, and are you saying teams spend 200million on lmp2?

  6. Frankly I think 4 manufacturers would be impressive, 7 is pipe dreams. I mean, Nissan never really counted did they?

    I can’t see how they can bring budgets down enough, while still keeping it relevant for manufacturers. Pretty fine line to balance.
    Low budgets is great for independents, but manufacturers won’t come back just because its cheap.

  7. jamesluke2488
    6th May 2018, 19:28

    The key to attracting manufacturers is the cross reference to road vehicles, GT pro is full of manufacturers because the cars are modified versions of road going cars it makes it easier to sell a car if they resemble a race car! Or that is the idea.

    Bring in road car based LMP1 cars with hybrid technology based on the McLaren P1 hybrid for example. Then you have a category that Ferrari, McLaren, Porsche, Audi or even Ford can buy into, make it cheaper as well. Just look at FE cheap cars with road relevant technology…..

    1. jamesluke2488, the thing is, manufacturers are now starting to abuse the homologation regulations in the GT Pro class, and the ACO is letting them do it.

      The ACO let Ford break the homologation requirements by letting them produce the race car first and only afterwards meeting the production requirements, perhaps because Ford happened to be bankrolling a massive event that the ACO happened to be holding that year. BMW are now doing the same thing with the M8, which isn’t going on sale until 2019 but the ACO have already given them a waiver to start racing it this year (although BMW haven’t been quite as blatant as Ford have been with abusing the regulations).

      That is now creating an issue where some manufacturers seem to be going back to the old “homologation specials” that occurred in the past and eventually killed off the GT categories because of cost inflation. Cost inflation is something that teams have been complaining about and is already beginning to occur in the GT categories.

      1. jamesluke2488
        7th May 2018, 9:48

        Yes that’s the problem and that is why we always get boom periods with manufacters and then when costs rise they all disappear. Then costs are then cut manufacturers come back and we start the cycle again.

        What I am saying is by 2021 this will be the start of the boom period for the WEC probably last for 5 years then they will all exit. But those 5 years will be epic competition. The key is then to manage the cost cutting process and the exit of manufacters which the world’s sports car championship failed to do. F1 on the other hand has been extremely successful at managing this.

  8. Thing is, what has struck me over the past couple of weeks looking at the LMP1 lineup for Spa and the 24h, is that if it weren’t for Toyota participating, this would be one of the most exciting, competitive field of LMP1 cars…. ever? Manufacturers coming in and spending huge sums, demanding advantageous BoP tweaks to justify the outlay, it actually ruins the competition. I have said a few times, I’m going to put a little wager on a Rebellion (or SMP, I’m not sure yet) winning the 24h outright this year, because frankly Toyota are specialists when it comes to missing an open goal, but the expectation really is that Toyota should be able to walk it. So in a field of, I think, over 10 LMP1 cars, there are only two which could reasonably be considered contenders for victory. But when it comes to the third step on the podium, it’s really anyone’s for the taking. Take Toyota out of the equation you could be seeing ten cars starting the race each with a genuine chance of victory. In all the years I’ve been watching and attending Le Mans, I’ve never known anything like it.

    For sure, not having the manufacturer badges on the cars might detract from the prestige in the eyes of some. But for me, I would rather see a mega battle for victory than see a team who have been handed just about every advantage they could possibly need, just for the sake of turning up.

    1. I agree. With LMPs, you either need a lot of manufacturer teams or none at all. I always wondered why endurance racing was never split up like that, actually. Make LMP1 manufacturers-only, with few to no restrictions on the car, and make LMP2 privateers-only with a homologated engine, but teams develop their own chassis and aero packages. It would make for some more interesting racing, given that the privateers typically operate on a much smaller budget, but I guess it couldn’t happen anymore since there is only 1 manufacturer team left in LMP.

      1. I’m pretty sure the intent of P1 and GT1 was for manufactures while P2 and GT2 was for the privateers. Over time, they just left and first GT1 died, and now P1 is in the same boat. The ALMS series ran at least 1 year with nothing other than Corvette Racing in the GT1 field.

    2. Manufacturers entering with bop does not ruin competition… Look at formula e with spec cars, great competition and all the manufacturers want IN!

  9. FlatSix (@)
    7th May 2018, 7:30

    I’m a endurance racing fan and a GT racing fan. When I went to the 6H this weekend I took around 2k photos, and let’s say 1.5k were of the GT field… so my opinion maybe won’t come as a surprise but why not kill LMP1. Yes, the cars are marvellous, and real pieces of brilliant engineering, but it’s no longer viable. I’d prefer a strong big healthy LMP2 field, and a whole bunch of GTe cars. Get rid of the chassis and engine ‘preferred suppliers’ thing and open up the regulations on what’s allowed within a certain budget.

    In all honesty since IMSA went with the DPi spec cars the racing and competitiveness has been great. In similar fashion to GT3 worldwide racing, try to get the same for LMP2, and just name it LMP…

    The fact suddenly all these “LMP” cars can win Le Mans where they have no chance will already stir interest. Together with the fact GTE is now an official world championship I think that’s the right way to go for the WEC.

    1. “In all honesty since IMSA went with the DPi spec cars the racing and competitiveness has been great. In similar fashion to GT3 worldwide racing, try to get the same for LMP2, and just name it LMP…”

      Huh ?

      Cadillac destroyed everyone in races since the introduction, only getting reigned in with heavyhanded BoP

      1. Cadillac dpi unrestricted by bop could be be competitive with the lmp1 privateers I think.

      2. @uneedafinn2win, as you say, when you are either first or second in every single race, and when they won seven out of the ten races that season, that does come across as being fairly dominant. The 4th place finish they had in Mid-Ohio recently was the first time since the DPi class was introduced that they had not either won the race or come second, such has been their monopoly on taking the top two slots.

    2. Pat Ruadh (@fullcoursecaution)
      7th May 2018, 11:52

      This was my hope too, ditch LMP1, and converge the DPi and LMP2 classes into a single P class

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