FIA, ACO Confirm Tweaks to LMP1 Regulations for 2018

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

The FIA and ACO have announced the planned tweaks to the technical regulations for the LMP1 class of the World Endurance Championship set to come into force for 2018, in response to the dwindling manufacturer interest in the class.

Porsche announced in July that it would be closing its LMP1 program at the end of the season in order to enter Formula E, leaving Toyota as the lone manufacturer racing in the WEC’s premier class.

Efforts have been made by officials from the FIA and the ACO to stimulate interest in the series and cut costs for current competitors, revealing a new ‘Super Season’ winter calendar for 2018/19.

From 2018/19, there will be a sole LMP1 classification in the WEC, moving away from the current two-tier model to differentiate between hybrid (LMP1-H) and non-hybrid (LMP1-L) cars.

The FIA and ACO plan to align current non-hybrid LMP1 regulations with the current LMP1 hybrid regulations via Equivalence of Technology, as well as ensuring that “each competitor entered in LMP1 will have the same potential of performance independent of the type engine power used.”

A statement from the WEC does however note: “very clearly there will always be a slight advantage for the hybrid engine in terms of autonomy related to lower fuel consumption.”

No changes are planned for the current chassis regulations in LMP1, but a greater choice of engine power options will be made available to interested parties in a bid to facilitate their entry.

“Depending on the selected criteria, an Equivalence of Technology will be implemented between turbo compressed and normally aspirated engines (as done in the past between petrol and diesel),” the statement regarding the new regulations adds.

While further decisions regarding LMP1’s regulations are still to be firmed up regarding issues such as testing, officials did concede “the 2020 LMP1 regulations will be substantially altered as compared to the model presented during the last 24 Hours of Le Mans.”

However, both the ACO and FIA knocked back criticisms that the hybrid era of the WEC is drawing to a close, albeit not to any lengths.

“The ACO and the FIA remain wholeheartedly convinced that technology including hybrid systems must keep its place of honor in endurance racing, but not at any price,” the statement reads.

“The budgets invested over these last years in LMP1 Hybrid are no longer sustainable and a return to reasonable budgets should allow all manufacturers to compete in this discipline.”

“We would like to sincerely thank Jean Todt, President of the FIA and Sir Lindsay Owen Jones, President of the Endurance Commission and all the commission members for their support,” ACO president Pierre Fillon said.

“Many decisions, essential for the future of the WEC, have been made in record time. With all these decisions, we are confident of seeing a full and very competitive grid next season.

“We are already discussing with several manufacturers and privateer teams who are investigating very seriously entrance from 2018/2019 season in LMP1, taking into consideration that the LMP2 and GTE grids are already strong with a high level of commitment for the future.”

16 Comments

  1. Vette76

    September 1, 2017 at 6:02 pm

    Ouais mais pas de rapprochement avec les Dpi ! Trop orgueilleux les dirigeants…

    • FLB

      September 1, 2017 at 8:26 pm

      Je ne pense pas que ce ne soit qu’une question d’orgueil. Les DPi sont des LMP2 à la base, après tout. Les accepter serait essentiellement remettre le LMP2 actuel en question.

      I don’t think it’s only a question of pride. The DPis are LMP2s in origin, after all. To accept them essentially would be to put the current LMP2 formula into question.

  2. TF110

    September 1, 2017 at 6:03 pm

    Just like I thought would happen. Equalize every p1 and let them go hybrid or not. Keep hybrid as a slight range extender but don’t enforce it for manufacturers.

    • AudiTT

      September 2, 2017 at 4:42 am

      For those wondering, this makes it easier for DPI’s to compete at Le Mans.They’ve opened up the engine regulations and will balance performance with P1-H. Whether you’re running a 2.0l Mazda (or whatever it is) or a 7l Cadillac,you will have the fuel/air allocation to put out power to be on competitive terms with hybrids. Obviously part of this equation is non-hybrids running 100kg+ lighter.

      With everyone on the same performance benchmark, it comes down to who has the better fuel mileage and reliability.

  3. Anonymous

    September 1, 2017 at 6:48 pm

    I seem to remember suggesting something like that on a previous article on this site!

    Maybe they read it! (Doubt it though)

    But this is what should have been done all along. ACO realises that LMP1 is on a knife edge and would rather die than accept DPi as the top class in sports car racing!

    • Steven

      September 1, 2017 at 7:04 pm

      DPi was a cheap solution to win over manufactures who only wanted to play in LMP2 class. The ACO had enough of it. Now that the hybrid requirement is being lifted. Mazda, Cadillac, Nissan, and Honda can all build an actual prototype of their own and bring it to Lemans.

      • Guest

        September 1, 2017 at 7:38 pm

        It’ll be interesting to see what happens for the 2020 regs and if they do allow manufacturers to build P1 non-hybrids. Then 2021 which should be the new P2 cars and whatever direction DPi heads.

        I would like to see things as P1/DPi, people like HPD could build their own car and people like Cadillac could still use a Dallara. Write good enough rules and the class can remain open, but not turn into a cost war. A great way to have hybrid is simply whatever is on your road car is what’s on your race car.

        IMSA teams have an easy route to Le Mans and international teams (like Peugeot) would have their car eligible for Daytona, Sebring, and Petit.

      • Mo

        September 1, 2017 at 7:41 pm

        Why, when they get just as much out of running a DPi for less. They have leverage now to get the ACO to except DPi at Le Mans. Why start the same process over again by running the cost through the roof.

        • AudiTT

          September 2, 2017 at 4:46 am

          A DPI is a P1-L with a ‘spec’ P2 chassis.

          Its not a great cost to allow manufacturers to build their own tub…..they can still buy one off the shelf. Then they need to find the power to compete at P1 performance levels.

          • FLB

            September 2, 2017 at 7:59 am

            To design it is a bit more expensive. And if you miss your shot, you can be stuck with a dog for which you’re the only one to aborb costs.

            Witness the Wirth-designed Acura ARX-04b.

            That said, the issue with the DPis is that, because they’re homologated cars, if you’ve chosen the wrong chassis, you may be stuck with somebody else’s brick.

            Witness the Multimatic Riley-based Mazda DPi.

  4. getagrip

    September 2, 2017 at 12:13 am

    You guys do understand that the DPis would have to have a considerable speed increase in order to get to the level of P1-L, don’t you?

    • Jorden

      September 2, 2017 at 12:34 am

      I think the Cadillac without the BOP restrictions, and on Dunlop tires could run sub 3:20 at Le Mans. I think they would be right on pace with the other P1-L cars or maybe quicker.

      • Steven

        September 2, 2017 at 12:08 pm

        The LMP2 Oreca 07 out qualified the slightly BoPed Cadillacs at Sebring in case you forgot. Also, they were only 2 tenths off of an unBoPed Cadillac at Daytona for qualifying.

        It’s not just a speed increase and tires, they need a lot more downforce and aero to get to the level of LMP1-L times.

        Hell, it cost what, $300K+? for the DP’s to be brought up to the level of the LMP2’s.

  5. Max

    September 2, 2017 at 2:18 am

    Hey look. It’s the rule set they should have always had instead of wasting Rebellion’s time and scaring P1 privateers away.

  6. Rus'L

    September 2, 2017 at 9:36 am

    So, it’s another opportunity for Toyota to blow it… LOL

  7. Chris Mickler

    September 22, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    Does anyone know why the P-1 cars that have or will be exiting (Peugeot, Audi, Porsche, Toyota) do not support privateer efforts to keep the programs going? I’ve followed endurance racing since the 1970s and it seems like there have always been both factory teams that get full factory support and funding, but also many privateer teams that could purchase Porsche 935s, 962s, or an Audi R8 and compete. Then in the mid-2000s that system just went away. If Porsche or Audi was selling 919s or R18 e-trons to private teams, couldn’t it still be viable? Is that business model just completely gone from the top tier of endurance racing?

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