During the ‘off-day’ yesterday between the Prologue and the start of the opening round of Season 9, the FIA World Endurance Championship has announced that it does not plan to make changes to either LMP2 or Hypercar performance levels ahead of this weekend’s Total 6 Hours of Spa.
Despite the ACO and FIA twice implementing measures to slow down the LMP2s the new Hypercar-class, which includes two new GR010 Le Mans Hypercars from Toyota and the “RebAlpine” non-hybrid grandfathered-in LMP1 of the Alpine Endurance Team, were beaten to the best overall lap time during this week’s Prologue at the Spa Francorchamps circuit by Nyck de Vries in one of the G-Drive Aurus 01 (ORECA) LMP2s which led Toyota to question whether the LMP2s should be slowed even further.
However, Philippe Sinault, the head of Alpine’s program hinted that it would be a “disaster” to add further restrictions to LMP2 before Saturday’s season-opening race.
In what may have been an attempt to quiet dissent in the ranks, the ACO’s Thierry Bouvet and the FIA’s Marek Nawarecki confirmed that the WEC’s technical department had decided not to implement changes between the Prologue and this weekend’s 6 Hours of Spa.
“To put a bit of background and to have a wider view, we did lots of work in terms of simulation work and car analysis before this event,” Bouvet told a press conference at Spa and continued to expand on the detailed modelling, wind tunnel tests that had been undertaken for the new class along with availability of multiple tyres.
When asked directly about further changes to LMP2 the answer was clear: “… the answer is, clearly, not at this point.”
However, the technical team have issued an updated BoP for the Hypercar category for Spa, although Bouvet explained that this only “corrects some mistakes” from the original version.
The grandfathered RebAlpine A480 LMP1 car has needed to be slowed from its 2020 spec in order to compete with the new LMH cars which are several seconds slower than the previous LMP1 formula. The RebAlpine’s original Spa BoP gave it 603hp and a weight of 930kg. The power output has now been boosted to 608hp. That said, Bouvet pointed out that nothing “actually changed on the BoP because the cars were already in that position during the Prologue.”
Bouvet also inferred that the WEC is aiming to avoid further LMP2 restrictions beyond the most recent set of last-minute measures further reducing power, increasing weight and mandating the LM aero package which were put into place earlier this month.