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WEC aims to slash budgets with new ‘hypercar’ regulations

World Endurance Championship

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The World Endurance Championship intends to introduce new regulations based around road-going hypercars in 2020, the FIA has announced.

The top flight of endurance racing is seeking to bring costs down and lure manufacturers back to the series. Porsche and Audi have left the championship in the past two seasons, leaving Toyota the only car maker represented in the top LMP1 class.

The FIA World Motor Sport Council announced on Thursday it had set a target budget around one-quarter of current LMP1 levels, which are approximate to those spent by leading F1 teams. It will allow “freedom of design for brands based on a ‘hypercar’ concept,” it added.

FIA president Jean Todt said last month the WEC’s top class, which may drop its ‘LMP1’ title, should have at least three manufacturers and ideally more.

“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 said.

The WMSC also approved a plan to increase participation in the WEC by women drivers. In a further change for 2019 the length of the Sebring round has been cut from 1,500 miles to 1,000.

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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
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22 comments on “WEC aims to slash budgets with new ‘hypercar’ regulations”

  1. Really hope this works out. Aston Martin, Ferrari, Ford, McLaren and Toyota have all been involved in the process of putting these regulations together – how could would it be to see two cars from each of those marques battling it out? Though hopefully not at the expense those involved leaving the GTE class behind. Fingers crossed.

    1. FreddyVictor
      7th June 2018, 13:58

      Yeah sounds really great !
      memories of the BPR series
      come to mind – yes, that series which came into existence due to the meddling of a certain organisation ….

    2. @supernicebob, the thing is, this does sound like it has the potential to make the same mistakes that were made during the GTP regulation era, which was leaving the door open for “homologation specials” that were built as pure racecars first and then the bare minimum number of models were sold for “road use” (though, in cases such as the Nissan R390, they never even got around to meeting the minimum production requirements anyway).

      The problem was that system soon collapsed because there was rapid budget inflation caused by manufacturers building the “homologation specials”, and eventually all of the manufacturers pulled out. The ACO is already pretty ineffective at enforcing the minimum production requirements to homologate GTE cars and has been getting even slacker in recent years – which, in turn, means that customer car costs have been rising steadily in recent years, whilst some manufacturers are now not selling customer cars at all.

      1. FlyingLobster27
        7th June 2018, 18:40

        In the GT1 era, the homologation requirement was one. You read that right: ONE.
        So manufacturers made the most track-efficient cars possible, built one on the side, convinced the FIA that it was suitable for the road and locked it in a museum. Mercedes did make several CLK-GTRs, and several versions of it, but Porsche, Nissan and Toyota, they just made their mandatory “one for the road” (one per year for Porsche, the cars getting significantly upgraded the more Porsche realised they could get away with) and put it away.

        There are actually some very silly anecdotes on how these manufacturers proved the road-worthiness of their cars. The cars needed space for a suitcase, to prove that they were practical for travelling, but no-one said that the space had to be accessible… or even dedicated solely to housing a suitcase. Toyota got their TS020 GT-One homologated by saying that there was enough room for a suitcase in the fuel tank.

  2. This is gonna be great!

    Hyper-car, which means it will need to be hybrid? Wonder what the restrictions will be on the power units. Would it need to be related to the road car in anyway? Or is it just a shell?

    1. @jaymenon10 Although I believe a cost cap is nonsense for F1 I believe it might work for the WEC, they’ve always had more solutions (see engines made by Porsche, Audi and Toyota) to the same problem being the rules whereas F1 only has one solution.

    2. @jaymenon10 According to Autosport:

      “There will be a lower level of hybrid technology allowed and it is expected that manufacturers will be able to choose a spec energy-retrieval system rather than developing their own.”

      1. I’d wish teams could just run a car without the hybrid systems. The hybrids make the cars look boring in the corners, take away control away from the drivers (because electric power is controlled by computers) and just add weight and complexity and don’t even earn enough lap time to offset the weight increase in the car. If the car has hybrid then it should be hybrid but if it doesn’t then it should not run hybrid systems.

        1. That’s absolutely not true. The hybrid systems make the cars much faster. Not sure where you get your information.

          1. No they don’t. F1 hybrids carry 100kg of additional equipment just to get 161hp out of it for 33.3 seconds. Let’ss say 53hp per lap (haha). Very bad deal considering you can get 900hp out of 100kg petrol engine. F1 car would be faster if it carried more fuel and bigger engine. Prove me wrong. I challenge you.

  3. It would be interseting to see if the new Brabham hypercar project would be considered too, it isn’t road going but I don’t really see any reason it shouldn’t be allowed (I think most of the reason it isn’t road going anyway is just to avoid having to do the necessary expensive tests required for that).

    1. FlyingLobster27
      7th June 2018, 13:51

      I think “road going” shouldn’t be a criterion for this new prototype category. It isn’t really one for GTE either TBH, what with the mid-engined Porsche 911 and the so far unreleased BMW M8…
      The idea appears to want to go further than the cosmetic cues on prototype chassis done in IMSA, but I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s what we ended up with. Not that that wouldn’t be cool, I love the look of the GT1 cars from the 90s like the next person, but just saying, we could get anything at this stage, depending on how “hypercars” is defined.

  4. This could be an incredible move. I was waiting to see the Porsche 918, McLaren P1 and La Ferrari race each other, and now variants of those cars could be racing in Le Mans! Awesome.

  5. Thumbs up!

  6. thepostalserviceisbroke (@thepostalserviceisbroke)
    7th June 2018, 14:05

    The WMSC also approved a plan to increase participation in the WEC by women drivers. In a further change for 2019 the length of the Sebring round has been cut from 1,500 miles to 1,000.

    From the way this is written, this makes it sound like the length of Sebring was cut in order to increase women participation in WEC…

  7. I think nobody ever said this ever, but… Thumbs up FIA :O

  8. How does this square with ACO regulations that cars must leave the pits and run the first kilometer under electric power?

  9. Given how the hype of diesel from the last decade ended, now facing the ghilotine all over the globe… this seems the most reasonable path at the moment.

  10. Why not just have basically GT3 cars with less restrictions on output? GT3 cars are already massively handicapped versions of the road counterparts, technologically. And I guess you can allow AWD and other electronic goodies car makers want to sell. If I’m, say, Porsche, I’d rather race a GT3-type 911, because I can sell more of those on Monday to privateers and sell more regular 911s to corporate lawyers. The 918s are sold out.

    1. @dmw gets my vote for Comment of the Day.

      This makes so much sense for the manufacturers and brings the cars so much closer to something “every day people” could relate to. I personally don’t like NASCAR but it’s original growth and popularity here in the States was because it let people fantasize that “hey, that could be me” driving there and I can own one of those cars!

      No, the average person isn’t going to buy a 911, but they can at least dream of it whereas an LMP1 is just a cool spaceship on wheels to the average person.

  11. What a fall from grace from the 2015 season…

  12. On the question of Hybrid … or not, why not reduce the minimum weight and then let the teams / designers / marketing types decide what works best and what sells the most cars …. on Monday.?
    Even in F1, I bet if there was a weight handicap for the Hybrid systems, batteries, motors etc. that some teams would go for the reduced weight. In the case of all these new small teams that are going to show up, they would make their choice, likely based on the chance to reduce cost and complexity. Now that would be fun.

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