A decision on a McLaren ‘Hypercar’ program will come by early next year according to McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown, who has continued to give high praise to the FIA and ACO’s new top class formula.
McLaren is among a half-dozen manufacturers that have been involved in recent technical working group meetings to help shape the regulations, which are set to debut in the 2020-21 FIA World Endurance Championship season.
Brown met with WEC CEO Gerard Neveu, ACO President Pierre Fillon and FIA Endurance Commission President Richard Mille on Monday for further discussions ahead of the final set of draft rules, which will be presented to the World Motor Sport Council in early December.
“It’s a project we’re definitely very interested in and like the direction of it,” Brown told media on Sunday at Spa-Francorchamps.
“We think World Endurance and Le Mans is a great racing series. McLaren’s got history, our automotive business is doing great, so the model they’re going down, towards a hypercar, budget-sensitive, competitive racing series is attractive to us.”
When asked when McLaren would need to make a decision by to enter the 2020-21 season, Brown said “by the end of this year, early next, in order to be prepared.”
He stressed that a potential Hypercar program would come in parallel to its existing Formula 1 operation, as well as a potential entry into IndyCar competition next year.
“Anything we do outside of Formula 1 will not pull on our Formula 1 resources,” Brown said.
“We have 4,000 employees, so if we were to go World Endurance racing or IndyCar racing, we may use some of the machinery and technology that we have within our Formula 1 team but guys working on our Formula 1 team are not going to go work on our WEC or if we do [an] IndyCar team.
“It’s not a strain of resources. It will be different people with a different setup and see if we can do both at the same time for sure.”
Hypercar Regs Could Bring Back “Glory Years” at Le Mans
Brown believes the Hypercar formula will provide a significant boost to the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with significant manufacturer involvement expected within the first few seasons.
Sportscar365 understands there’s been a recent push to further reduce operating budgets below the initially quoted €25-30 million ($30-35 million) per season.
“I think they’ve got a lot of interest in Hypercar,” Brown said. “The direction they’re headed, the budget they’re talking about, I think that will be very successful.
“I could see 5-6 manufacturers, maybe not all in on day one.
“But the direction they’re headed, and you get a few announced, I could see some big days ahead of us at Le Mans. [It could be] the glory years, if we want to call it that. And with that would come sponsors and drivers.
“I like the new [reverse] calendar; I think that’s the right thing to do. Obviously it takes a year or two to get that settled in but I think they’re doing all the right things.”