ACO Sporting Director Vincent Beaumesnil has “absolutely no doubt” that LMP1 will remain the top category in technology, despite the freezing of the current regulations through the end of the 2019 FIA World Endurance Championship season.
The WEC announced Sunday that it has scrapped plans to introduce a new set of regs for 2018, which would have seen the expansion to a fifth hybrid subclass of 10MJ and a third permitted hybrid system.
“The technical level is already high so we have to make sure the costs are controlled,” Beaumesnil told Sportcar365.
“It was obviously the problem of the new rules is that it would require some new investments to make the new systems. But at the same time, we are working on the future.
“We are looking closely how we can introduce hydrogen fuel cell cars in endurance. We are looking at different kind of fuels and I think the optimization of what we have today is still a challenge for the technical people.
“I have absolutely no doubt we will remain the top category in technology in the coming years.”
Beaumesnil said that the postponement of the new regulations, a decision made directly in response to Audi’s exit from LMP1 competition, is aimed to attract new manufacturers.
It’s understood the ACO has been in discussions with Peugeot on a possible comeback, although the French manufacturer has been pushing for a reduction in costs, and potentially hybrid technology.
“Obviously we have to keep pushing on the cost reduction and need to be attractive for new manufacturers,” Beaumesnil said. “We wouldn’t do it if we don’t hope for this to be the case.”
All previously planned changes to the LMP1 regulations for next year will still be made, including aero adjustments and a class-wide power reduction to the same hybrid limits imposed in this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The freezing of LMP1 hybrid regulations will likely also have an effect on the planned overhaul of the LMP1 Privateer subclass, as the non-hybrid prototypes were set to adopt the new hybrid monocoque in 2018 or 2019.
“We will not introduce a new monocoque for Privateer before the factories,” Beaumesnil said. “It makes sense but this has not yet been officially decided so we have to work it out.
“But it would make sense to postpone using the new monocoque two more years as well.”
Beaumesnil said no decision has been made if an all-new set of technical regulations will be introduced in 2020, or the current regs be extended or modified then.
“The decision is postponed until 2020, very clear,” he said.