The FIA and ACO have revealed the timeframe for the selection process of chassis constructors for the new-for-2017 LMP2 regulations.
The regulations, confirmed on Thursday during the Automobile Club de l’Ouest’s annual press conference, will see a four constructor limit, with tenders having been due yesterday from manufacturers.
According to ACO Sporting Director Vincent Beaumesnil, the final selections will be announced next month, in order to give constructors enough lead time to prepare for 2017.
“We have several working sessions next week,” Beaumesnil told Sportscar365. “We have meetings with the first selection of manufacturers the week after and we will announce the four selected car constructors by mid-July.
“The timing is short. I think when you have to build a new car, for sure, the date of July considering all the work that’s been done and the meetings, we could not do earlier.
“We’re still on time. The feedback from the manufacturers is good. But we definitely need cars homologated and ready to race by December 2016 because Daytona is early.”
Beaumesnil said the tender process for the previously confirmed spec engine and electronics will begin in July, with the selections being announced in September.
There are no significant changes to the initial 2017 LMP2 proposal, previously revealed in a Sportscar365 exclusive in February, which marks the first joint project between the FIA, ACO and IMSA.
The regulations, which will be locked in through 2020, will see a significant increase in power, to the range of 150 horsepower, which equates to a four-second decrease in lap time at Le Mans.
Also first revealed by Sportscar365, teams will be able to brand their engines, allowing for additional sponsorship opportunities.
The car’s minimum weight will remain at 900 kg but will feature LMP1-spec monocoques with additional safety measure, including a rear crash box.
“We will have a better car with better performance, better reliability, lower requirements in terms of maintenance, improved safety, and all for a reduced cost,” Beaumesnil said.
“I’m not talking about the sale price of the car because it will be increased [from 385,000 to 480,000 Euros], but the global annual costs must be reduced.
“The price of the spare parts, which is the biggest part of the budget for teams, will be reduced. There will be better servicing from the four manufacturers.
“They have a better business model. They can bring more service and spare parts on the race weekends. They can make stronger parts and we will cap some parts they use often.”
Beaumesnil said the same philosphy is behind the decision to go with a spec engine for the FIA World Endurance Championship, European and Asian Le Mans Series.
“If you want a strong engine with more power and good service on the track, the only possibility is to have a single supplier,” he said.
“We think by giving the possibility to the teams to do some [branding] deals with the engine, it’s a big step and shows that LMP2 is not the place for Audi, Porsche or Toyota. This is what we want to show.
“There is of course an exception in the U.S., but I think the philosophy of LMP2 is what we have decided and what we have to follow.”
As previously announced, LMP2 cars in the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship will be allowed to run multiple engines and brand-specific bodywork styling cues.
With IMSA performance balancing the engines to the same specification as the global spec powerplant, North American teams will be allowed to compete at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but with standard bodywork.
IMSA has yet to finalize its Prototype configuration for 2017, but remains committed to the new platform.
Existing LMP2 cars will be grandfathered into the FIA WEC for 2017 and in the ELMS through 2018, with the Asian LMS only accepting previous-generation cars through 2018.