The GTE-Am class is expected to remain eligible only for cars at least one year old, following the apparent denial of a proposal for new-generation machinery for the FIA World Endurance Championship ‘Super Season.’
It’s understood an initiative was made by Aston Martin to explore the possibility of its yet-to-be-announced new Vantage GTE competing in the class, in light of the lengthened 2018/19 season that includes two 24 Hours of Le Mans.
However, Sportscar365 understands that GTE-Am teams will only be permitted to use 2016 or 2017-spec cars when the season kicks off at Spa-Francorchamps in May.
“The rule says you introduce the car in Pro, then a year later in Am,” Head of Porsche Motorsport Dr. Frank-Steffen Walliser said. “Everybody, even the British, have to accept this. No exceptions.
“The [Aston Martin] is still competitive. It was in pole position [in Shanghai].”
Cars such as the mid-engined Porsche 911 RSR will be eligible in GTE-Am next year, with 2015 and older cars, built to the previous set of GTE regulations, set to be phased out.
“It was under discussion but it’s too difficult to manage, at the end of the day,” Ferrari Competizioni GT technical coordinator Ferdinando Cannizzo told Sportscar365. “With BoP, different tires, single stint, double stint tires.”
ACO Sporting Director Vincent Beaumesnil did not respond to Sportscar365’s requests for comment regarding this matter.
Auto BoP Under Consideration
The FIA and ACO’s automated Balance of Performance system, first rolled out to GTE-Pro cars this year, meanwhile, could also be implemented in GTE-Am next season.
While a decision has yet to be taken, manufacturers have mixed feelings on the system’s possible use in the Pro-Am-enforced class.
“GTE-Am is a little bit different in the judgment because you have a way bigger drivers’ impact,” Walliser said. “There you have to have a closer look on the influence of the driver because you should not make a management of the drivers but of the cars. It’s a little bit more tricky.”
Ferrari’s Cannizzo added: “The best idea would be to stay with the current situation because you pretty much have different drivers.
“It’s very difficult to understand without human intervention on how to balance the performance of the car.
“For sure we need to improve the BoP for the Am car. We’ve done it with GTE-Pro. We feel the spread of performance between these cars is too much, mainly on straight line performance. It’s definitely too much between one car and the other.
“The FIA knows exactly the problem and will react accordingly.”
GTE-Am Growth Expected
While featuring only five full-season entrants this year, the class could double in size for the Super Season, with a considerable amount of interest expressed from teams.
Despite having been forced to remain with its current-generation car, Aston Martin could add customer efforts from TF Sport and Beechdean alongside the expected return of Paul Dalla Lana.
Walliser said he expects three or four of the mid-engined Porsches, out of the six sold to customers, to compete in the series, while Ford is expected to confirm customer car sales of its Ford GT.
Both Dempsey Proton Racing and Gulf Racing fielded single-car Porsche entries this year, alongside AF Corse-supported Ferrari 488 GTEs from Spirit of Race and Clearwater Racing, plus Dalla Lana’s Aston Martin.