The FIA has approved the technical regulations for the new breed of FIA World Endurance Championship top-level ‘Hypercar’ which will replace the current LMP1 prototypes in 2020.
The now approved rules confirm many of the initial details presented in brief at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in June, although there is new information in key areas, including the mandatory homologation and use of production-based powertrains with certain modifications permitted; a minimum of 25 road cars fitted with the combustion engine and energy recovery system (ERS) of the racing car must be produced by the end of a manufacturer’s first season, with that amount rising to 100 by the end of its second season.
The rules imply that non-OEM constructors, such as ORECA, Onroak Automotive (Ligier) and Dallara, would not be permitted to build ‘generic’ Hypercars, with an ‘off-the-shelf’ hybrid system not appearing in the regulations either.
The new Hypercars will have a total maximum power output of roughly 950 horsepower (708 kW) drawn from the combustion and electric hybrid system, slightly lower than the initial top figure presented in June, with the maximum output of the combustion engine now at 508 kW rather than 520, although the 200 kW electric unit power output remains the same.
The rules offer few caps on engine architecture, meaning manufacturers can run turbocharged or normally-aspirated configurations with no maximum displacement or size. There will, however, be a €3m cap on the supply of ERS systems from manufacturers to customer teams, while an ERS manufacturer cannot supply a system to more than three competitors without approval.
The Hypercars will be slightly larger than current LMP1 hybrid machinery allowing for a maximum length of 5000 mm with a maximum width of 2000 mm (Current LMP1 regulations allow 4650 mm length and 1900 mm width upper limits). The minimum weight of the new-generation cars will be raised from the 980kg stated in June to 1040kg, making the class 165 kg heavier than the LMP1 hybrid formula.
Hypercar constructors will be able to build evolution kits for their cars during the first five years of the formula. These are limited to five EVO kits (or ‘jokers’) per manufacturer from the start of the 2020-21 season until the end of 2024-25, and will enable manufacturers to develop their cars without needing to homologate a new model.
Movable aerodynamic devices, which are banned under the LMP1 rulebook, will also be permitted from 2020 onwards. Front and rear aerodynamic aids will be allowed, but they must have only two set positions and cannot run in different configurations at the same time.
The FIA and ACO also confirmed that a success ballast system will be implemented to ensure close competition in the top category. Similar to that already announced for the GTE classes in the WEC and ELMS, this will be based on points accumulated in previous races, with each point in an entry’s total worthy of a 0.5 kg weight addition, to a maximum of 50 kg.
The name of the new Hypercar class will be chosen by popular vote, and will be announced in the New Year.