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ACO Targeting LMP1 Privateer Rebound in 2018

ACO targeting rebound in LMP1 Privateer entries in 2018…

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

The ACO is targeting a rebound of LMP1 Privateer entries in 2018, despite admitting next year could see only a single non-hybrid prototype taking part in the FIA World Endurance Championship.

Rebellion Racing’s announcement that it would move to LMP2 has left the subclass with only ByKolles Racing’s CLM P1/01 AER, casting further doubt over the category’s future.

“Clearly the target is to have cars back on the grid in 2018,” ACO Sporting Director Vincent Beaumesnil told Sportscar365.

“For 2017, Rebellion is going to P2 but in their communication they have made clear that they still have the intention to be back in P1 at some stage, so I think it’s very important for us.

“Next year, maybe we will have ByKolles [only]. We will not have many cars for sure. But in 2018, several customers and car manufacturers are working on projects.”

SMP Racing is understood to be a potential candidate to run a LMP1 program in 2018, alongside the possible return of Rebellion. Strakka Racing, which had evaluated an effort at one stage, now appears unlikely.

Nissan, Gibson and Judd, meanwhile, all have LMP1 customer engine options on the table, in addition to the existing AER turbo unit that’s been used in the Rebellion R-One and CLM.

“There are very good engines that will be available on the market and they are really committed to deliver proper service and support,” Beaumesnil said.

Beaumesnil stressed the importance of keeping LMP1 Privateer alive.

It could be especially crucial to the WEC’s future, amid rumors of Audi’s departure at the end of 2017.

“LMP1 is not LMP2,” Beaumesnil said. “LMP1 is a category where you build and develop a car. LMP2 is a customer car. When the car is homologated, it’s a question of drivers, setup and strategy.

“In LMP1, we want to give the ability to some teams and manufacturers to make developments to their cars. This is possible in LMP1.

“If you look at the figures today and the simulations of the potential of the rules we’ve announced [for 2017], the potential is huge.

“People need to realize that someone coming with a project of building and developing a car with the budget of a privateer, we give the potential of being competitive.

“If a manufacturer used these rules, they would be easily in front of the current hybrid cars, for sure because of the fuel allocation, the weight, the extra things we allow in aerodynamics.

“I think it’s something very clear and it’s very fair from the manufacturers to accept this principle that we give this help to the privateers to be in the game.”

Beaumesnil said the technical regulations for 2018 are being discussed, with the proposal to implement DRS sill under investigation.

“There are pros and cons,” he said. “Honestly at the moment I can’t say the final plan on this.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

46 Comments

46 Comments

  1. jeff

    October 17, 2016 at 8:13 am

    “People need to realize that someone coming with a project of building and developing a car with the budget of a privateer, we give the potential of being competitive.

    Spending ridiculous money to develop a car just to come at the back of the class every time with slim chance of even making a podium is NOT competitive. The ACO is promoting automotive technology but they can’t let P1-P win because they would disprove the P1 hybrid tech.

    • slow

      October 17, 2016 at 8:40 am

      They could solve all this by just seperating the two P1 classes completely.

      All they need is LMP-Hybrid, LMP-1, LMP-2. Then they can stop beating around the bush that these cars are “separate but equal”. Make the P1 rules to where they are fast enough to run with the hydrids or at least over lap.

      • jeff

        October 17, 2016 at 8:57 am

        A separate class of 1-2 cars is not a class. It should just be killed.

        • Slow

          October 17, 2016 at 10:34 am

          If you give them their own class more will show up…..

          • Matt

            October 17, 2016 at 1:26 pm

            Like they’ve had since 2014? Yeah, that’s worked out a treat hasn’t it?

          • slow

            October 17, 2016 at 2:30 pm

            A sub class isn’t their own class……. I get it logic is hard.

          • Matt

            October 17, 2016 at 4:40 pm

            They aren’t built to the same regulations so call them what you like, nothing the ACO does at this point is going to bring in teams. Hybrid cars are going to 10MJ in 2018, which will net them another 2 or so seconds of acceleration per lap that nobody else will get. Making LMP1.5 its own class won’t appeal to anybody more than P1-L already does. A class of 1-2 cars is a waste of time, as we’re seeing right now with the dominant team jumping ship.

        • kv

          October 19, 2016 at 12:15 pm

          ACO is doing a good job of killing their own series, with all their control freak ,cost escalating regulations !

      • GTurner38

        October 17, 2016 at 6:38 pm

        Part of the issue is that the manufacturer teams are so good at what they do that they have to give huge advantages to the privateers even without the hybrids. Just look at what Porsche was able to do with a failing car in Spa. They were way down on power, carried a lot of extra drag because they were antisipating more power, and likely had braking issues due to the hybrid failure, but the Porsche was still quicker. If the rules truly allowed for equal cars, the manufacturers will still end out ahead.

    • kv

      October 17, 2016 at 12:43 pm

      I agree jeff,ACO is stiffing p1-p competitors, with biased regs, to the P1-HY MANUFACTURERS,an atipical ROB PETER TO PAY PAUL sceanario !Beuamesnil will not address P1-P until AUDI OR TOYOTA leave WEC.

      • TuckerC

        October 17, 2016 at 2:04 pm

        Why do we need Hybrid race cars anyway? All the crap run in any of the 3 Hybrid prototypes will never seen their way into a road car. Frankly, I feel they have ruined Le Mans and the WEC.

        • Matt

          October 17, 2016 at 4:26 pm

          Batteries are the biggest thing that this can impact, followed by engine design. Learning to make power more efficiently will always be relevant to road vehicles.

        • GTurner38

          October 17, 2016 at 6:41 pm

          How do you know this won’t make its way into road cars? We already have hybrid hypercars and there’s little reason to believe hybrids aren’t going to take over larger segments of the car market.

  2. Tarek R

    October 17, 2016 at 8:20 am

    Guys, remember 2013, back when the ACO promised that the privateers will be protected and helped to compete against the works teams.

    Look at what happened next.

    • Bakkster

      October 17, 2016 at 9:11 am

      Exactly. I’m sure that’s what they want to happen, but for the last three years they’ve shown no initiative to actually do anything for the privateers except give lip service.

      I’ll believe the ACO is serious about the privateers when I see them actually do something about it.

    • Ko I

      October 17, 2016 at 10:30 am

      And all the talk ten years ago about allowing petrol engine cars to keep up with the diesels. I suppose it happened when they forced all the LMP1 manufacturers into the hybrid systems, but *only* at that point.

      • GTurner38

        October 17, 2016 at 6:45 pm

        Do we know for certain that the diesel issue was the result of the regulations? The only manufacturer to build a car with a petrol engine was Aston Martin, but they first built a modified Lola then had a disaster with their first bespoke chassis. I tend to think the domination of Audi and Peugeot had more to do with budget than any advantage diesels had. In fact, Kolles showed just how hard it was to get a result with a diesel by taking a pair of year old cars and running midfield.

        • Ko I

          October 17, 2016 at 8:54 pm

          We don’t, but the ACO did blow smoke about helping the petrol cars keep up. I can’t remember if it was in 2006 or 2008, but I remember them talking about it.

  3. someone

    October 17, 2016 at 8:34 am

    Stop me if you’ve heard this before.

  4. Cactus Tony

    October 17, 2016 at 8:45 am

    Clearly the only true way to fix this is to turn P2 into a full-spec class. Outlaw Riley and Dallara after 2017, then make Onroak and Oreca flip a coin for 2019 on- one gets P2 the other P3- and ban platinum & gold drivers.

    That’ll force ’em to move to P1. And if it doesn’t, just decide for them.

  5. Tim

    October 17, 2016 at 8:50 am

    I see Bykolles sticking around half season just to win a “championship” lmao. Probably after lemans they will be done.

    Unless we hear a solid commitment from another team for 2018. Otherwise whats the point really.

    • jeff

      October 17, 2016 at 8:58 am

      I think that’s a good guess.

  6. Luna

    October 17, 2016 at 10:54 am

    Lmp1 is doomed. Audi will leave. Only Porsche and Toyota left. No new manufacturer will join. Too expensive. Just for the self satisfaction of the ACO egos and the little FIA President.
    DPi is where manufacturers should go.

    • Ko I

      October 17, 2016 at 9:00 pm

      Unless FIA/ACO introduces a DPi class or subclass, I think the only downside to manufacturers ditching WEC for IMSA is they’ll be performing on a smaller stage.
      That would be funny, though. Audi, Porsche and Toyota all ditch WEC and go to IMSA. ByKolles wins Le Mans overall because they’re the only LMP1 car in the field. 😉

  7. Max

    October 17, 2016 at 11:40 am

    Seems like this could resolve DPIs at LeMans. Have them run with LMP1-L. Better yet, adopt DPI rules for the whole class and watch Rebellion come back. Allow the BR-01 to run there and the Russians will follow.

    • jeff

      October 17, 2016 at 12:04 pm

      The class runs at P2 power levels, not P1. They’ll never keep up with P1-P.

      • Max

        October 17, 2016 at 5:09 pm

        Neither can P1-Ls, so why is that a show stopper? What good is one car running at 90% of a factory P1 and 110% of a P2? ByKolles won’t actually race anyone (or will finish dead last in points behind P1H cars if they race with them), and given their track record they’ll likely finish behind the P2 leaders at most races.

        Moving P1L to DPI rules gives them an automatic field for LeMans. The WEC (And IMSA) could open aero up a little more and let the various engine configurations compete on their own merits just like current P2 rules allow for. There clearly is interest in a middle ground between P1 Hybrids and the next iteration of P2 or else the defunct Dome, still born closed top Gibson, and the BR-01 wouldn’t have been worked on.

  8. Justin Porter

    October 17, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    Easy solution.

    LMP Privateers HAVE NO FUEL FLOW RESTRICTION. Engines by racing manufacturers have no connection to this insipid “fuel efficient road car relevancy” so let the Judds, AER’s, and whoever else has a fantastic V8/10/12(!) on their shelf build the 1000hp they need to keep up with the Hybrids and watch to see if they hold together.

    Never forget that one of the greatest highlights of watching the ALMS was watching Jon Field tear away from the field in his AER-Lola while praying that the car would survive while the indomitable Audi Panzers steadily marched along.

    • kv

      October 17, 2016 at 12:54 pm

      The thought of an AER,CADILLAC,MAZDA,JUST SCARES THE HELL OUT OF THE ACO !LOOK what FORD did to them in the sixties ,LeMans is the EURO sandbox ,so let them have it and kill their own series !

      • Ko I

        October 17, 2016 at 9:18 pm

        I don’t think the 24 Hours of Le Mans will ever die, unless they do something truly stupid like turn it into a race run with nothing but Honda Civics or something.

    • Ko I

      October 17, 2016 at 9:15 pm

      I partially agree with this. LMP1L with no fuel flow restriction, and maybe some break elsewhere (faster tire changes, for example) might really help, but, remember that the Hybrids are at least a couple seconds a lap faster. So, if a fuel stint is, say, 14 laps, for an LMP1L car that is 1 second a lap slower than the slowest LMP1H car, they have to shave *fourteen seconds* off of that pit stop to break even with the slowest LMP1H car. That’s going to require one fast fueling rig! This is all assuming the ACO is willing to risk a manufacturer dropping out because the ACO let some watch company beat a car company at an auto race. 😉

      I certainly see the benefit in racing hybrids and other fuel efficient cars, though, and it’s an expensive enough project that only the street car manufacturers are going to bother doing it…. and I think I just realized why the ACO will *never* allow the LMP1L cars to be competitive with the LMP1H cars.

      They want to push efficiency. If Audi, Porsche, Toyota, etc could build a competitive LMP1L car, they wouldn’t bother with the hybrids. It might not have Audi plastered all over it, and might have a “customer” like Rebellion, but it’d be an Audi through and through, with Audi crew and drivers running it.

    • NASCAR/DPs Suck

      October 18, 2016 at 5:11 pm

      Those are good memories, it was always fun watching that twin turbo hand grenade take on the factory efforts.

  9. Mike S.

    October 17, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    It all sounds good and all but it’s kind of promising something. That is fine but there would have to be restructuring. It is same song. Let’s call it P1 Lites or P1.5 then it will work, certainly!

    • Ko I

      October 17, 2016 at 9:19 pm

      They’ve promised it before and nothing came of it, then, either.

  10. Mike White

    October 17, 2016 at 2:12 pm

    Why don’t they realize that LMP1 in it’s current form is just to expensive for a private team.

  11. Gary Jonson

    October 17, 2016 at 2:18 pm

    Simple cure!

    Just implement the old Group C rules. That worked and there was a genuine chance of privateer cars beating some of the factory entries, some of the time.

  12. FormulaChris085

    October 17, 2016 at 2:50 pm

    A quote that everybody seems to be neglecting is this
    “If a manufacturer used these rules, they would be easily in front of the current hybrid cars, for sure because of the fuel allocation, the weight, the extra things we allow in aerodynamics.”
    We’ve already seen this case occur twice in this season alone (Spa and Fuji), and Rebellion is still only as fast as they were when they ran the Judd-powered Lolas in 2010, and are just about as reliable as they were then too.
    The only solution I could forsee in terms of performance itself is kneecapping the P1-H’s by another projected 50 hp in addition to what the ACO will inevitably do in two year’s time, but even then, that isn’t going to make P1-L any more reliable than what it is.

  13. Gary Johnson

    October 17, 2016 at 4:48 pm

    The solution isn’t that hard.

    Move the LMP1 hybrids up to 1000kg weight (this will help slow them down especially in the turns as the ACO has to slow the factories down almost every year anyways)

    Have the non LMP1 hybrids run at 900kg weight (this will help reduce costs for them and make them more reliable). Then let the non hybrids use 50% more fuel or so than the top MJ class.

    • Max

      October 17, 2016 at 5:17 pm

      LMP1-Ls are already running at 850KG. Moving LMP1-H to 900 or more would help. Not a bad way to mandate more Zylon panels for driver protection either.

      • Gary Johnson

        October 17, 2016 at 10:12 pm

        When I said to run the non hybrid LMP1s at 900kg (from 850 or 830kgs now), I meant that this will lower costs for them.

        Because each team has to spend an incredible amount of money shaving grams off of the car everywhere in order to make the lowest minimum weight.

        This would keep the costs down for them.

  14. Hans Fritz

    October 17, 2016 at 6:51 pm

    I think the 919 is a modern marvel, and I think the racing is good. For the top six anyways. But it’s too expensive. Ditch the hybrids, make manufacturers produce privateer cars. Simplify rules. Bring back the days when more than two cars had a chance of winning the race. Anybody remember the group c days?

    • Ko I

      October 17, 2016 at 9:28 pm

      Even as someone that adores the hybrids, I have to admit that you’re right. It’s too expensive. If LMP2 was the top step, including the cost caps, and there was a separate LMP2 class for manufacturer teams (who would likely be faster), there would be tons of manufacturers competing in it. I mean, you could have, what, three or four LMP2 cars, with full crew, for the price of one LMP1H car and crew?

      • WBrowning

        October 18, 2016 at 4:34 am

        Isn’t that pretty much what IMSA is doing with it’s DPI/LMP2 class? I’m all for non-hybrid top class using that formula with an Amateur class, running spec. engines at a little less HP and or more Kg. You call the new open-engine Factory & Privateer Pro class LMP1/DPI and the spec. engine Amateur class LMP2 an just tweak the HP and Kg to make sure the LMP1s are some percentage faster. Would Porsche, Audi and Toyota stay if the hybrids went away? I’ll bet that Nissan, Ford, Ferrari, Aston Martin, GM and others would be interested in winning WEC/LaMans over all if they didn’t have to burn 100s of millions to do it. It would finally be a World Manufacturers Endurance Championship.

  15. Gary

    October 17, 2016 at 8:45 pm

    I guess nobody ever reads the articles any more. If you read the first line, “The ACO is targeting a rebound of LMP1 Privateer entries in 2018”. That means the ACO is working around the clock to get LMP-1L back to it’s former glory.

  16. Gary Johnson

    October 17, 2016 at 10:13 pm

    Would Aston Martin be interested if manufacturers could run non hybrid cars?

  17. theunknownmotorsportfan

    October 18, 2016 at 4:22 am

    Do agree with the everyone that LMP1-L or non hybrids are still out of the running. It is concerning and not much has been done by the ACO to get them closer.

    You maybe could very good LMP2 manufactures to go to LMP1 privateer but of course it comes down to budgets and being competitive. So need to give them a golden carrot. So can allow say a two car team with one can have the optional of bronze or amateur drivers so you can have LMP2 drivers competing in LMP1 privateer without restrictions. You still have hybrids having no bronze.

    The gap is so big right now that it’s so difficult. The actual regulations for private teams leave them with 500 horsepower down on average.

    My first solution would be to have the privateers allow them to have cars with the same power as the manufacturers, but a very light car.

    There is a solution so like you can build a car at around 650-750kg with no carbon fibre and power it with an engine that reliable can push out 1000bhp to match the hybrids then it is doable. If you say to a small manufacture or privateer that you can build a very light car to be competitive then they can compete against the hybrids. Think of a high powered single seater on the lines.

    ACO mentioned of giving these cars DRS so if it helps you can put it on but for safety can only use it on the straight parts not in corners.

    Other things would do are remove the fuel flow system like everyone says, increase tyre allocation so they do not need to double stint the tyres in races that includes Le Mans 24 e.g. for a 6 hour race they would need to do at least 7 pit stops give them 7 sets of new tyres with 1 joker set in case of punctures, increase the fuel tanks to make them more bigger and give them a break in terms of pit stops such as standardised fast fuel rigs and tyre guns etc.

    Of course it would need to be cost capped to a reasonable budget so there is no overspending. So can give them as much as they want but do it say around £20 million.

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