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ACO Evaluating Hypercar Class for Asian Le Mans

ACO proposing Hypercar addition to Asian Le Mans Series; mixed manufacturer feedback…

Photo: Porsche

The Hypercar class could be added to the Asian Le Mans Series in the future according to ACO President Pierre Fillon, who revealed that ‘discussions’ are underway for a potential privateer-driven flagship category.

Currently, LMH and LMDh-spec cars are only eligible in the FIA World Endurance Championship and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship but Fillon told reporters at Le Mans last weekend that it could expand to the Asian series that it also manages.

“This is something that we’re thinking,” Fillon said. “It’s very challenging because to manage a Hypercar, you need a big team.

“But this is something we’re working on for the future, but it’s not done.”

The development comes amid the FIA, ACO and IMSA’s joint decision to extend the joint top-class regulations in the WEC and WeatherTech SportsCar Championship through the end of the 2029 seasons.

When asked by Sportscar365 on a potential timeline for its integration into the Asian series, Fillon said “as soon as possible” although it’s understood to have been ruled out for the upcoming 2024-25 campaign, which will again feature LMP2, LMP3 and GT3 class machinery.

“It’s too early to tell you when it would be possible,” he said. “For sure, as soon as possible.”

Fillon stressed that if the class would materialize in Asia, it would be reserved for privateer teams only.

Currently, Porsche is the only manufacturer that offers LMDh cars for sale to customers, although others, such as BMW, have not closed the door to such a possibility in the future.

“We are discussing with [manufacturers] to see how we can manage that,” Fillon said. “But this is just a [concept] at this time.”

Should the platform be added to the Asian series in the future, Fillon stressed that the ACO has no plans for the Hypercar class to be eligible in the European Le Mans Series.

“In ELMS, the top category is LMP2 and it will stay like that,” he said.

“The European Le Mans Series is a continental championship. We have the WEC, we have Le Mans with the Hypercars. So we don’t need to have Hypercars in ELMS.

“In Asia, it’s different. The Asian teams like to run with big brands, so we think we can attract more Asian teams, only customer teams.

“It’s just a [thought] at this time.”

Porsche Not Wanting “One-Make” Hypercar Class in Asia

Hypercar manufacturers have voiced mixed reactions to Fillon’s proposal, with Porsche Motorsport boss Thomas Laudenbach taking a cautious approach.

“If they do it, we are happy if the 963 races there, yes. But honestly if it’s for customers, it’s a one-make series right now,” he said.

When asked by Sportscar365 if he believes Porsche has capable customers in the region to operate its 963, Laudenbach said “maybe one or two.”

“I think in Asia it would mean that you have to take into account, probably for the first one to three years, a bigger support,” he said.

“For sure you don’t have many teams on [the level of JOTA]. It would just mean you need more support in order to make sure the cars are handled well and they have success.”

Laudenbach, however, stressed that other manufacturers would need to make their cars available to customers in order for Porsche to be on board with the concept.

“I think we’ve got something like 35 one-make series all over the world,” he said. “I’m not looking for the 36th based on the 963.

“If there is a competition and others decide to do so, which I would put a question mark behind… if they decide to do that, then we are happy to participate through customers.”

BMW M Motorsport director Andreas Roos, meanwhile, believes that it’s “far too early” to add the class to the Asian series, admitting that he has not even been approached by the ACO on the concept.

“The cars are still too complicated and too complex to run them already in a championship like Asian Le Mans,” he told Sportscar365.

“For me at the moment, I don’t really see it the way the cars are. Maybe in two or three years we can discuss something like this. But at the moment when you see how complex the cars are and to run them in several championships…

“Definitely the push is not coming from [the] BMW side.”

Toyota Gazoo Racing team director Rob Leupen added: “It’s the first time I’ve heard this. I have no reaction. I don’t know how big the series is in Asia or which competitors are involved.”

Davey Euwema & Jamie Klein contributed to this report

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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