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New LMP1 Regs to be Presented in December; Manufacturer Talks Intensify

New future LMP1 regulations set to be presented in December…

Photo: Porsche

The FIA and ACO’s revised new-generation LMP1 regulations are due to be presented to the World Motor Sport Council in December, according to ACO Sporting Director Vincent Beaumesnil.

Earmarked for the 2020/21 FIA World Endurance Championship season, the new rules will replace the ACO’s rapid-charging plug-in hybrid concept, which has been mothballed in the wake of Porsche’s exit from LMP1 competition at the end of this year.

Meetings have been ongoing between manufacturers, including Toyota and McLaren, in recent weeks, which Beaumesnil said has been productive, but is still in the early stages.

“We are conscious that we need to agree as soon as possible on a good regulations,” he told Sportscar365.

“We are in the middle of it. We’ve had some meetings with a lot of manufacturers. There is some interest and very good ideas. We are working on a good plan.

“I’m really confident. We still have the target to propose to the World Council the guidelines of the next rules in December, including the year of introduction, which is not confirmed yet.”

While not necessarily indicting the launch year of the new regs could be delayed, Beaumesnil reaffirmed the current LMP1 rules, which will see hybrid and non-hybrids equalized, have been locked in for at least the next two seasons, through 2019/20.

“Definitely there will be one year of grandfathering,” he said. “We always do that because people who have invested [in cars] need some time.”

Initial discussions have also taken place with IMSA, although Sportscar365 understands the prospects of a shared LMP1/DPi platform have hit a road block in recent weeks, and currently appears less likely.

Beaumesnil, however, remains hopeful in “trying to have” the same vision.

“We’re still at the beginning as it’s a long process,” he said. “But I think it would be nonsense not to evaluate this with them for sure.”

Toyota, McLaren Involved in Future Regs Discussion 

Despite not yet committing to a return to the WEC for next year, Toyota has been actively involved in helping shape the future regulations alongside prospective LMP1 manufacturers.

“We’re trying hard to bring it in the correct direction for us,” said Toyota Gazoo Racing technical director Pascal Vasselon. “It’s up to us as well to contribute to this process.

“We are actively making proposals in the direction which for us makes sense and not only for us… We are trying to contribute in the most constructive way.”

McLaren Executive Director Zak Brown said they’ve also been in the talks, having revealed to Sportscar365 in August a desire for the British manufacturer to mount a LMP1 program should a common formula be adopted in both IMSA and the WEC.

“We’re very active in those conversations,” Brown told Sportscar365 this week. “Right now, [the FIA and ACO are doing] due diligence on what everybody wants, so they’re kind of in research mode. But we’re going to stay real close to that.

“If they can come up with a formula that is technically relevant, competitive and commercially viable, then it’s something we would definitely consider.”

Vasselon said it’s too early to determine what the LMP1 grid could look like in 2020, as a number of factors are still at play, including the Japanese manufacturer’s own commitment to the class.

“It’s difficult to say because no one has committed,” he said. “At the moment there’s interest from several manufacturers but it’s true that no one has yet committed.”

Peugeot’s Decision “Doesn’t Change Our Direction”

Beaumesnil, meanwhile, has refuted claims that Peugeot’s decision not to re-enter LMP1 has changed the FIA and ACO’s direction for the future regs.

It’s understood the French manufacturer had been against the initial plan for 2020, which called for a 1km stretch of all-electric driving following each pit stop.

“We’re continuing our mission and direction,” Beaumesnil said. “The decision of Peugeot did not change anything.

“For sure we made a lot work for them to explain and to also understand what they like. We deployed a lot of efforts for that.

“But again we don’t make the rules for one manufacturer. 

“In the end they don’t come, they don’t come. It’s for their own reasons, but for sure on our side it did not change our direction. We are quite confident in where we go.”

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

25 Comments

25 Comments

  1. pdxracefan

    October 20, 2017 at 10:31 am

    Yes. No. Maybe.

  2. GR88

    October 20, 2017 at 11:16 am

    Mercedes CLK-LM & 911 GT1-98 design philosophy.

    Cost controlled hybrid drivetrains available to all.

    Open to manufacturers and constructors.

    • QW

      October 20, 2017 at 11:55 am

      GT1, hybrid drivetrain and cost control in the same sentence.

      Right……

      • ben

        October 20, 2017 at 12:48 pm

        I loled as well.

        • AudiTT

          October 20, 2017 at 10:02 pm

          A. It’s not GT1. Manufacturers are proposing prototypes with heavy production car styling influences for the upper body portion.

          B. All major components, including hybrid, will be designed to a basic cost and performance specification.

          C. Said components will be produced by both independent suppliers and manufacturers.

          This is a manufacturer led proposal that clamps down hard on costs, guarantees customer supply, but also allows a manufacturer to build a ground up car.

  3. Doug

    October 20, 2017 at 12:06 pm

    Why should IMSA bend? THEY are the ones with the gangbusters car counts in DPi. The only pressure the IMSA side is the manufacturers in IMSA DPi wanting to race their cars at LeMans. If it was not for that, IMSA could tell the ACO where to go.

    • CookieMonsterFL

      October 20, 2017 at 1:00 pm

      Because its the success of everyone together which makes the group stronger.

      obviously the unification worked for IMSA; but such mergers shouldn’t be common place to bring parties together. So while there shouldn’t be a identical ruleset, IMSA cannot afford to box out or ignore the FIA/ACO and their struggles – especially if some common rules can be put in place to make it even more enticing for makes to join and race in multiple championships.

      It doesn’t mean IMSA caves – just that they work with and support a P1 global class first – with the understanding that they can do their own thing if talks don’t go their way.

      We’ve spent decades with separate series based on egos. If IMSA and FIA/ACO can work together to improve both championships without eroding public confidence and trust (with obviously a good product on the track), shouldn’t that be the goal?

      • Blaneysellstrashbags@Ring24

        October 20, 2017 at 4:36 pm

        ACO didnt give a flip about IMSA until it was in their best interest. But I agree its better when both are prospering and I wanna see them at least try and work together.

    • Steven

      October 20, 2017 at 7:33 pm

      DPi may be a “hot” commodity right now, but will it be 3 or 4 years down the road? Manufacturers can easily come and go.

      What if the ACO decides to allow the DPi’s into the WEC, who’s to say all the teams stay in IMSA? Joest, Penske, and ESM could all bolt for the global stage and just like that, IMSA has little to no one left other than Cadillac and a handful of privateer LMP2 teams.

      • JD

        October 20, 2017 at 7:51 pm

        The difference really is that right now DPi does not require nearly the same level of commitment as LMP1 does for a manufacturer. You’re not spending hundreds of millions of dollars to create a DPi car. That lower bar for involvement makes it far more likely that a manufacturer will carry on long-term involvement.

        • Steven

          October 20, 2017 at 8:59 pm

          Well, obviously the bar is low. One only has to look at the half-assed attempts on the Acura and Nissan to show what its not all what’s cracked up to be.

          I feel if DPi was to be on the top step of the ladder. Using the monocoque of the LMP2 would be fine as the base, but all bodywork must be different. These are top manufacturers and its a slap in the face to Oreca, Ligier, and Dallara that made the car and the manufacturers basically slapped their engine/drivetrain in and called it theirs.

          • Larry

            October 21, 2017 at 9:45 pm

            What Steven, the Cadillac wasn’t half-assed? I noticed you didn’t mention them.

            You gotta be kidding.

          • Dave

            October 24, 2017 at 9:14 am

            Acura (Penske), Mazda (Joest), and ESM (Nissan) will stay in IMSA for the same reason they are already there – US marketing. A global platform though would make it easy for Mazda and others to campaign a car or pair of cars in both series.The only race that drivers and manufacturers care about in the WEC season is Le Mans. The logistics cost in moving teams and equipment around the globe is prohibitive for private teams. I’d rather see Le Mans as its own race, serving as a race of champions of sorts from the different world series (ELMS, Asian LMS, IMSA, or any series that features GT3, GTE, LMP1&2). That would likely never happen because the rules in the different series would never get homologated, but that would be a true World Endurance Championship.

        • M

          October 21, 2017 at 9:48 am

          Not only is the R&D less, but it is good having the manufacturers around to do things like sponsorships and hospitality at the events.

          Look at how different Le Mans was this year with Audi gone. No billboards around the track. No Audi club for VIP guests. I am of the opinion that it is good to have manufacturers in the top class spending $$$ of these sorts of things. The best way right now to have manufacturers involved in a top class is a DPi formula.

      • John

        October 20, 2017 at 11:45 pm

        A harmonized prototype formula makes lots of sense, but yeah, it is presumptuous on the part of many to think that if DPis were allowed at Le Mans, that all the IMSA teams would could and would automatically participate.

        It also ignores the fact that getting enough LM24 entries is not the main problem. The ACO can fill the LM field with ease, even if all of the prototypes end up being LMP2s.

        What the ACO and FIA are concerned with is trying to keep the WEC alive, and of the IMSA teams, nobody has displayed even the slightest new inkling of interest in entering that championship.

        Mazda and Joest might, if they could find the money.

        ESM gave it a go, had mediocre (to be kind) results, and came back to IMSA.

        Penske is only interested in an overall LM24 win, to add to his list accomplishments. Not the WEC. And at this stage in his career, I doubt he’d want to gear up for an international campaign even if someone offered to pay for it, when he also objected to a couple flyaway races for his first priority, the IndyCar team.

        GM? Least likely of all, IMO, when they have to shut down their PWC program to pay for another DPi against the increased competition coming in 2018, in their own market. Granted, the Corvette LM24 program is a stalwart, but even a carpetbagging Ford has exhibited a greater commitment in doing the full WEC. Those wet dreams of Caddy DPis decimating the field are more than likely to remain just that.

    • Larry

      October 21, 2017 at 10:05 pm

      Doug, “gangbuster car counts” in DPi? 5 DPis at Petit…….5. 2 Mazdas returning and 2 Acura coming, so 9 for next year.

      I am not counting the 5 P2s that were at Petit because you so boldly proclaimed “DPi car counts”. Of course, since WEC doesn’t have DPis, IMSA would have more DPis………………..DUH.

      However, there were 9 P2s at Fuji………basically the same cars.

      Your proclamation is complete nonsense.

      I ain’t taking the side of WEC, but let’s at least be factual. I hate the spec engine P2 class and think DPi DOES have the chance to be the best racing in the world if NASCAR doesn’t screw it up and and try to dumb it down like GrandAm was but let’s put out real numbers when discussing it.

  4. guest

    October 20, 2017 at 12:33 pm

    I think it’s obvious the IMSA collaboration was killed off because of IMSA using BoP and the platform price no longer sustainable for their privateer team stakeholders.

    • The Brad

      October 20, 2017 at 4:47 pm

      Agreed. IMSA keep doing what you’re doing, keep DPi the top class and under your control. I don’t need LMP1 racing in an IMSA series. Even though I’d like to see the P1 races, they don’t need to be an IMSA class. Going to a WEC race to see them is fine.

  5. JG

    October 20, 2017 at 6:15 pm

    All I care is that they get rid of the “big honking holes” over the front and rear wheels and go back to louvers on the front wheels. I’ve had enough of fugly sports prototypes.

    • HALLAM SPRINGER

      October 21, 2017 at 8:18 am

      JG, I agree. The holes over the wheels look sloppy on what’s supposed to be a sophisticated piece of machinery. I know they’re supposed to stop air from building up and causing a blow-over accident, but they look horrible. Just use bigger louvers.

  6. Jean Yves Hubert

    October 20, 2017 at 6:19 pm

    To wait always to wait, tired to hear always this same speech. The regulations are in the month of July they must be disclosed at the latest not in December for the following year. To lead is to predict, said a boss to me. Obviously at the ACO they do not know what that means. Transition year … One more is too much. It is the ACO that must make the regulations not the builders … Angry!

  7. vanillachinchilla

    October 20, 2017 at 9:36 pm

    good god can’t these people just grow up and get along. we need a global prototype wec cannot stand on its own indefinitely

  8. Blue Oval fan

    October 21, 2017 at 9:30 am

    and a partridge in a pear tree, oh right, sorry…………and once again the ACO kicks the can down the road while we survey the “manufacturers” market. Which right now consists of a wavering Toyota, and a wait and see Mclaren. Yeah makes perfect sense.

  9. jason

    October 23, 2017 at 10:54 am

    I would love to see a Super GT/GT1 type deal come out of this. At least something that involves more manufacturer styling and getting rid of the big honking fin.

    • Andrew from Kazan, Russia

      October 23, 2017 at 1:19 pm

      I’d love too see more manufacturer styling as well. To make people see that this prototype is Toyota, and that one is Ford (for example). I’d love too see stock headlights and rear lights on prototypes!

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