With a revised FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) calendar for the 2018-19 year come proposed changes to both the Technical and Sporting Regulations. The WEC top category LMP1-H (for hybrid) has been challenged by political/financial pressures, and in some regards its own success for the dominant participants. Furthermore recent confirmation from Pascal Vasselon that Toyota will review their participation in October 2017 it is clear that revisions are required to steady the ship and ensure we have a true prototype category represented in the championship.
Hence in Mexico today, the senior management of both the WEC and Le Mans Organisers the Automobile Club de L’Ouest (ACO) announced changes as follows –
- Going forward there will be only ONE category in LMP1.
- The management of Equivalence of Technology (EoT) previously utilised solely for current hybrids will be extended to current non-hybrid prototypes, extending and equalising the use of energy whether hybrid or carbon fuel generated.
- Each competitor engaged in LMP1 will have the same potential, regardless of the type of engine used. Lower fuel consumption through the use of hybrid technologies will lead to a small advantage going forward.*
- No changes will be made to the current chassis regulations (only the LMP1 chassis are eligible). However, in order to facilitate better access to the LMP1 category, a broader choice and engines will be proposed. Depending on the criteria selected, the previously mentioned EoT (formerly utilised to equate energy derived from petrol and diesel engines) will be implemented between turbocharged and atmospheric engines.**
* Both the ACO and the FIA remain deeply convinced that hybrid technology must remain prominent in endurance (but no longer at any price). A return to reasonable budgetary requirements should allow all manufacturers to participate in this form of Motorsport, the traditional scene of technological development and evolution.
** This is focused at anyone attempting to bring a homologated LMP2 chassis into LMP1. As such this ensures that DPi ‘manufacturers’ will not be able to join the LMP1 category. They will be able to develop their power units in DPi but will need an LMP1 chassis to compete in WEC / at Le Mans. This in the short-term could be very good news for an LMP1 chassis developer such as Ginetta, Wirth or SMP Racing.
The above revisions will be applied for the next two seasons, that being 2018 through to 2020.
Further regulatory decisions are expected, but yet to be finalized, one such is a reduction in the amount of private and group testing.
The LMP2 2020 regulations will be further revised from what previously announced during the week of the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2017.