Only three specifications of tires will be permitted per GTE manufacturer in the FIA World Endurance Championship next year, as part of a lockdown on tire regulations following a controversial season that was plagued with Balance of Performance issues.
Per the recently released 2017 WEC Sporting Regulations, manufacturers will allowed to declare up to three tire specifications for each car entered in GTE-Pro and GTE-Am next year.
Previously, the tire restrictions only applied to the LMP2 and GTE-Am classes.
Two of the specifications will be required to be submitted to the FIA at least 15 days prior to the season-opening Six Hours of Silverstone in April, and one additional version allowed to be declared 15 days before the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Tire manufacturers will be permitted to request just one revised tire specification per car, between July 1 and Aug. 31, but only after “justifying the need to replace a declared specification.”
The change comes in the wake of a contentious 2016 season, highlighted by ten BoP changes over the course of the nine-round championship, arguably influenced by the return of a tire war to the GTE-Pro class.
The Dunlop-backed Aston Martin Racing squad claimed the GT Teams and Drivers’ world titles, with class victories in Mexico City, Circuit of The Americas and Bahrain, with Michelin-shod teams winning the remaining six races.
GTE-Pro teams will be limited to only four sets of tires for each six-hour race next year, including qualifying, after previously being permitted to use up to six sets. The GTE-Am class remains unchanged at six sets for 2017.
There will also be tire reductions in LMP1, from 16 to 12 total tires in Free Practice and 24 to 16 tires in qualifying and each six-hour race.
Additional LMP1 tire allocations for the high-wear circuits in Shanghai and Bahrain, meanwhile, have been eliminated, as well as the provision for extra tires to be allowed at any new circuit the championship visits.
The FIA has also confirmed that teams will be allowed to change tire manufacturers only once per season, subject to a one month’s notice prior to the event, in all four classes.
LMP2 squad Tequila Patron ESM, which started the 2016 season on Dunlops, switched to Michelins mid-season before moving back to Dunlops for the final three races of the year, casting questions over the usage at the time.
The GTE tire lockdown is expected to be approved during the next World Motor Sport Council meeting in March.