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ACO Planning June Release for New LMP1 Regulations

ACO planning to announce new LMP1 regulations in June; discussions with ACO continue…

Photo: James Moy/Toyota

The FIA and ACO are expecting to reveal its new set of LMP1 regulations at this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, according to ACO President Pierre Fillon.

Fillon, along with FIA World Endurance Championship CEO Gerard Neveu, meanwhile, remain hopeful that the proposed “GTP”-style platform will also be adopted in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship beginning in 2022.

Both Fillon and Neveu, along with technical representatives from the ACO and FIA are on-site at this weekend’s Rolex 24 at Daytona for continued discussions with IMSA on a possible common prototype platform.

It would allow the same car to compete for overall wins in the WEC and WeatherTech Championship and iconic endurance races at Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring.

“We try to do it because it makes sense that the ACO and IMSA walk on the same line together,” Neveu told Sportscar365.

“This is our hope and our wish is to make sure that we can find a way to join in the interests of the paddock because we are sharing the same clients, same competitors, same teams, same manufacturers.

“If we can find something respecting also the specificity of each paddock, this is good.

“This is why you will [meet] some technical guys from the ACO here this weekend, as you will cross some technical guys from IMSA in the events we are doing and all the meetings we are setting up in the season, technical meetings for this new regulations.”

The ACO’s proposed concept, involving production car stying cues, would provide more brand identity than currently seen in IMSA’s DPi platform, according to Neveu.

“That’s the idea,” he said. “And the key point is not really if it’s an LMP2 or an LMP1 chassis.

“The question is to make sure the budget will be a budget under the target we are looking for a manufacturers.

“That’s the reason why the participants around this table are manufacturers plus the FIA, the ACO and the IMSA technical delegates, working altogether to try and find the best way.”

Neveu said the topic of hybrids have so far been one biggest challenges, with a number of U.S.-based manufacturers not in favor of adopting the technology, at the risk of skyrocketing costs.

When asked if a compromise could be reached, in potentially allowing hybrids and non-hybrids to compete in the same class, Fillon said “we have some ideas.”

“This is probably one of the major differences of position between this part of the world and the rest of the world,” Neveu said. 

“We are looking and we are trying to find a solution. This is why we are working.”

Neveu said it hasn’t yet been determined if the current LMP1 regulations, confirmed for the next two seasons through 2020/21, will be extended for an additional season.

He indicated it would likely depend on the timeline for new manufacturers entering the category.

IMSA’s extension of its LMP2/DPi homologation period through the 2021 season would see the WeatherTech Championship not adopt new rules until 2022 at the earliest.

“We can start in the middle of 2021 and they can join in the [beginning] of 2022,” Neveu said. “For us it doesn’t change nothing.”

Fillon added: “It’s important because you need at least two years to launch a new project. We are discussing with the FIA, IMSA and so on, and we have discussed with the manufacturers.

“The target is to announce it in the press conference at Le Mans.”

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

24 Comments

24 Comments

  1. Passenger

    January 26, 2018 at 2:06 pm

    Drop the highly cost hybrid is only way to save LMP1.

    • AF

      January 26, 2018 at 2:13 pm

      Incorrect. Hybrid can be affordable, as will become clear in the not too distant future.

      • MattZ

        January 26, 2018 at 3:12 pm

        I think you’re right. As long as it’s some kind of off the shelf technology, I think they can make it work financially. If it could be like IMSA where, theoretically, privateers can compete with factories, that would be awesome. If the rules were something IMSA could adopt, then we could see Le Mans as a de facto world championship.

  2. Tyler Sanders

    January 26, 2018 at 2:20 pm

    LMP1 was very strong during the 2000’s and early 2010’s before the introduction of hybrids. Even with the influx of manufacturers coming and going the privateer LMP1 field was very strong. The late 90’s Lemans GT1 prototype formula completely failed. I hope the ACO takes that in to consideration.

    • TF110

      January 26, 2018 at 4:51 pm

      The early 2010’s was Audi vs Peugeot with everyone else multiple seconds back. That wasn’t very strong at all. Going back before that it was the same thing with Audi outspending the competition into oblivion beating up on privateer teams that not many seem to remember except for some like Pescarolo.

  3. Ben

    January 26, 2018 at 2:20 pm

    Privateer prototype teams have been a great surprise in the new IMSA formula that I would not want to see killed off by the ACO and their manufacturer budgets. Not to mention IMSA’s closed tire regulations in Prototype and the elephant in the room being BOP in IMSA. I want to see this happen, but I don’t know how IMSA can keep the current stakeholders, especially the privateers, by moving to a crazy P1/GTP formula that will no doubt contain hybrid tech. Let be honest, any BOP/EOT by the ACO will not favor manufacturers/teams that will not want to run the ACO’s treasured technology.

    • Tyler Sanders

      January 26, 2018 at 2:26 pm

      The influx of LMP1 privateer should tell the ACO that the chassis regulations are definitely not a problem. The ACO failed to make a formula wear privateers could be competitive with LMP1 hybrid a couple of years ago.

  4. Max

    January 26, 2018 at 2:33 pm

    So we’re getting a field of Carbon frame Corvette DPs? I can deal with that :).

    • Grand Am Fan

      January 26, 2018 at 4:20 pm

      I much prefer a Fabcar or a Picchio

  5. Anonymous

    January 26, 2018 at 3:08 pm

    If you can expand the “styling cues” from DPi onto LMP1 I see no problem, so long as Prototytypes remain prototypes and GT’s stay GT’s. Just as long as we don’t go back to the type of GT1 cars that were racing in the late 90’s! Those cars were cool but only existed because the rules were way too open to interpretation, Toyota’s TSO20 GT-One being a prime example. Perhaps the regs should open up to include entirely electric drivetrains as well as Hybrids and conventional Internal Combustion engines, this would draw manufacturers who focus solely on electric vehicles, such as Tesla.

    • Barber

      January 26, 2018 at 3:35 pm

      I see no problem going back to GT1 if they increase the number of street cars required.

    • anoymymousisadumbass

      January 26, 2018 at 8:37 pm

      Oh yeah, something like a Tesla. That bum can’t even deliver street cars and what would you have for a pit stop? Jump out of one car into another like Formula E?

      Sheer stupidity.

  6. Keith

    January 26, 2018 at 3:55 pm

    So what is the big thing with electric cars? Racing is about the sound and smell. At least to me. If I want to see electric race cars I will watch my son play with his slot cars. Maybe it is just me but the hybrid thing is a waist of time. Not saying that US racing has it right but none of our manufactures have even wanted to push for that.

    • Parker

      January 26, 2018 at 4:26 pm

      Auto manufacturers believe the future is riding in cars rather than driving a car. That is a major problem.

  7. Haskellb

    January 26, 2018 at 4:39 pm

    Please Mr Atherton don’t trust those French weasels. This is an ACO desperation move. They would drop IMSA in a second if they could get away with it.

    • TF110

      January 26, 2018 at 4:54 pm

      That doesn’t make sense. The auto manufacturers involved in both series want to race the same car in both series. If the ACO or IMSA want that manufacturer involvement, then they’ll need to come together. There is no “desperation move”.

      • Haskellb

        January 26, 2018 at 8:02 pm

        After the ACO/WEC initially embraced DPi before rejecting it altogether, the 2020 plans, born out of desperation as its P1-Hybrid class implodes, reek of convenience. With IMSA’s DPis going from strength to strength and the ACO/WEC’s marquee class down to two cars, DPi – last year’s bad idea – has somehow evolved into the right path forward? I’m skeptical on many levels, and would hate to see IMSA allow the other sanctioning bodies to meddle with its best idea. – Marshall Pruett: The fight for DPI’s Soul. Marshall Pruett (a man wiser and far better connected than either of us) wrote this explaining why the ACO motivations and why it shouldn’t be trusted.

        • TF110

          January 27, 2018 at 2:37 am

          No. Pruett obviously didn’t write up the real reason for the ACO/imsa fallout over dpi. They were supposed to use lmp2 electronics but they went ahead and used their own. That was one of the reasons. And the ACO said no to factory teams in lmp2. The move to gt1-style cars is a response to manufacturer interest like McLaren and Ford and Toyota, not just a rewrite because the VAG bros left.

          • Haskellb

            January 27, 2018 at 11:47 am

            Actually DPI cars were originally going to be allowed to race with branded bodywork, custom electronics, and the branded engines. Then the ACO back tracked and said in order: no custom body work, no custom electronics, and finally cancelled the whole project. This was most likely in response to Nissan leaving LMP1 for DPI. The ACO had no interest in unification until Volkswagen pulled the plug on the Porsche 919 program.

  8. Matt

    January 26, 2018 at 7:10 pm

    Allow hybrids but give them tiny fuel allowances, 2MJ limit and only one motor. There should be zero real incentive to use it, otherwise that’s the area everyone will focus on. Those who want to show off how good their systems are will be free to do so but it should not come at the cost of competition.

  9. JaymondoGB

    January 27, 2018 at 6:59 am

    GTP thing has been done before, and didnt really work. Also, all this messing doesnt help Chassis suppliers doing buisness today, specially with the resurgence of privateer LMP1

    • Tyler Sanders

      January 27, 2018 at 11:18 am

      Couldn’t agree with you more.

  10. Trevor

    January 27, 2018 at 9:22 am

    Let the manufacturers run any production powertrain they want – gas, diesel, hybrid – as long as it meets minimum road car homologation numbers. Boost would be restricted to production levels. ECUs would be spec. Fuel capacities should be adjusted based on energy potential: less for diesel, lower still for hybrid. They could put them in class spec chassis like LMP2 or DPi but require a little more brand identity.

  11. Haskellb

    January 31, 2018 at 4:03 pm

    Anyone know what fool decided to let a single race track set the standards for the rest of the planet?

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