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Details of 2020 ‘Hypercar’ Design Revealed

ACO announces details of 2020 ‘hypercar’ regulations for top class of FIA WEC…

Photo: John Dagys

Details of the new-look top class for the FIA World Endurance Championship have been announced at the ACO’s annual press conference  ahead of a 2020-21 debut.

The design concept was confirmed by the FIA at the World Motorsport Council last week but details of the yet-to-be-named formula were presented to the public for the first time at Le Mans on Friday.

The cars will resemble each manufacturer’s road car design and costs will be around one-quarter of the current LMP1 hybrid budget at €25-30 million ($30-35 million) for a two-car program.

They will come into effect for the 2020-21 WEC season and make their 24 Hours of Le Mans debut in June 2021.

Several aspects of the design are open, including free engine architecture and the ability to run any number of cylinders with either a turbocharged or naturally-aspirated design.

The cars will have an overall weight of 980kg while weight distribution will be capped, along with a defined maximum fuel flow, controlled efficiency and other regulations to prevent expensive development.

An electric motor will be mounted on the front axle with a fixed performance of 200 kW, giving the cars a four-wheel-drive layout, while the ICE engine’s maximum performance target is 520 kW. 

Each car will have two seats, a bigger cockpit than the current LMP1 machines, a wider windscreen and a roofline more consistent with road cars.

Manufacturers will be required to make their hybrid systems available for privateer teams to lease at a yet-to-be-determined cost cap, while any manufacturer or company can build its own hybrid system, which will be homologated by the FIA and ACO.

Estimated lap times at Le Mans are targeted to be slightly slower than current LMP1 hybrids, in the 3:20 range.

The category’s name is yet to be decided although the ACO has floated “Super Sportscar”, “GTPrototype”, “Le Mans Supercars” and “Le Mans Hypercars”, with the final choice to be decided by a popular vote.

The cars will run for five seasons until 2024-25 when a new set of regulations is introduced.

“The new regulations for the FIA World Endurance Championship, which come into effect for the 2020/21 season, are the result of hard work between members of the FIA, ACO, manufacturers and teams,” said FIA President Jean Todt.

“This will provide endurance racing with a long term, stable platform, while continuing to offer a cost-effective stage to showcase future technologies.”

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist who is Sportscar365's European Editor and also Managing Editor for e-racing365. He is a student of Politics and International Relations. Contact Jake

69 Comments

69 Comments

  1. Passenger

    June 15, 2018 at 5:30 am

    Hydrogen in 2024 ?

    • Old Trombone

      June 15, 2018 at 9:58 am

      Here’s my nomination for the new name:

      Le Manzy McMans Face…

      [public voting for names is silly. Instead, how about we have public voting for the heads of FIA and ACO? That would make sense.]

  2. Matt

    June 15, 2018 at 5:34 am

    Why is there a fuel flow limit? Again. Fans want to see racing, not a fuel economy fest. Give the manufacturers a certain amount of fuel for a given race, and let them use it however they want.

    • KAW

      June 15, 2018 at 5:38 am

      >Give the manufacturers a certain amount of fuel for a given race, and let them use it however they want
      But you know, that this is nearly the same, as fuel flow limit?

      • Paul

        June 15, 2018 at 11:41 am

        No, not at all. And it would allow cars delayed by mech trouble to make up some of the lost time. Its a good idea, but cost caps would be needed on engine development as those who sinks most money in deveoping fuel efficient engines will win.
        Group C had a certain amount of fuel to be used as the team saw fit. That helped electronic engine control along and had a big relevance for road cars.

        • Dave

          June 22, 2018 at 5:54 am

          Why not just calculate best MPG at the end of the race to declare the winner? The point of racing is who can get from the start to the finish first. When you start making it about who has the best science project it tends to be too complicated for my simple mind to enjoy it. Since the ACO is comfortable with announcing the results of a race days after the fact, this idea may work though.

    • Slicks in the wet

      June 15, 2018 at 5:39 am

      Maybe “regulations to prevent expensive development” has something to do with fuel flow limits?

      Certain amount of fuel to run the race hasnt done a lick of good in F1, I’d say.

      • Paul

        June 15, 2018 at 11:44 am

        mercedes F1 engines went from 29% energy efficiency to 49% in a few years. That an astounding leap. 30% was considered very good in a road car.

        • kpcart

          June 16, 2018 at 3:39 am

          Who cares? That’s nothing relevant to the show.

      • Matt

        June 15, 2018 at 2:51 pm

        F1 has a flow limit that has to be met. It’s the same BS as these ACO regs.

    • Ramshoek

      June 15, 2018 at 6:10 am

      Limiting fuelflow doesn’t make for a ‘fuel economy fest’, limiting fuel capacity does.

    • Old Trombone

      June 15, 2018 at 10:05 am

      Le Mans never had winners until decades after it was established. The whole point of the race was “Index of Efficiency”. It was designed from the beginning to be a competition of energy use efficiency. “Line Honors”, the big important competition of biggery that is so important for you wasn’t given until decades after the race became regular and popular.

      How would you like it if we made the Indianapolis 500 into a gravel rally? Or made the Monaco GP into a drag race? Or made the Dakar into Concours D’Elegance? I mean, dirt-sliding, 5000hp motors, and beautifully clean cars are the point, right?

      Hey, sports fans! Le Mans wasn’t invented the way you think it was…

      • Mike S

        June 15, 2018 at 12:30 pm

        You forgot Pikes Peak into an asphalt hill climb?? Oh wait that’s happened.

      • Matt

        June 15, 2018 at 2:55 pm

        I know you’re an Old Trombone but there have been winners since racing started to become exciting in the 50’s….

      • kpcart

        June 16, 2018 at 3:40 am

        I thought it was designed for endurance, not efficiency

  3. edo

    June 15, 2018 at 5:38 am

    So basically it’s a mixture of Ford GT/aston valkirye/Toyota Hybrid plus the group c cockpit

    • Old Trombone

      June 15, 2018 at 10:08 am

      No, not the GroupC cockpit/windscreen.

      It’s gonna be the 2000’s Daytona Prototype look….

      • Harry Manback

        June 15, 2018 at 11:27 am

        thswgjmkroistys9rpoejhswaresjlr

        ^sorry, that was me throwing up on my keyboard

      • Paul

        June 15, 2018 at 11:45 am

        Hopefully not!

      • Grand Am Fan

        June 15, 2018 at 11:50 am

        Bring back the sexy coupes!

        This formula reminds me of the Chase and the Picchio Daytona Prototypes (which were two of my favorites)

  4. Ramshoek

    June 15, 2018 at 6:19 am

    Who decides whether a car resembles a manufacturer’s road car design?

    • AudiTT

      June 15, 2018 at 9:50 am

      It doesn’t have to.

      But obviously it makes sense for a manufacturer.

    • Parker

      June 15, 2018 at 1:53 pm

      What do privateers do? Do all of the GTP cars have to have a road car design basis? What does this mean for constructors like Dallara or Oreca?

      Will LMP2 still look like real prototypes?

  5. Luna

    June 15, 2018 at 7:05 am

    ACO and FIA have miserably failed with the LMP1 rules. Now they take the IMSA DPI concept and put an hybrid powertrain.

    • Slicks in the wet

      June 15, 2018 at 7:09 am

      Are you mad or glad that they have taken “IMSA DPi concept and put an hybrid powertrain” in?

      • Johannes275

        June 15, 2018 at 7:26 am

        It’s not IMSA DPi though, DPi is just LMP2 with some body accessories. These rules are planning cars that are purpose-built by the manufacturer at a lower cost.

        • kpcart

          June 16, 2018 at 3:43 am

          And lmp1 is just lmp2 lighter and more powerful. The dpi setup is working well, the Americans have a better working formula than fia at the moment.

  6. Joel

    June 15, 2018 at 7:31 am

    I wonder if the Road car resemblance has much to do with the manufacturers and is something that has come out of those big “Fan Surveys” that Motorsport.com did, and wonder if it’s more about attracting TV and “younger” audiences to Sportscar Racing. As a 27 year old Sportscar racing fan, I personally don’t have a problem with the cars looking like they do now.

    • Slicks in the wet

      June 15, 2018 at 8:41 am

      Well, having watched these ‘prototypes’ for twenty I’m ready for a change back to something that pretends to be a car again.

      • GSW

        June 15, 2018 at 9:41 am

        It’s cycles.

        It feels like the cars now all look very, very similar.

        It’s time for an all new look.

    • Just another fan

      June 15, 2018 at 10:05 am

      No, the fans flat out rejected the Hypercar concept but the fans are not investing their money, are they?

  7. JaymondoGB

    June 15, 2018 at 7:49 am

    So a Hybrid GT1 then. Give it a couple of years, then it will be back to prototypes, just like the last time they tried this.

    • AudiTT

      June 15, 2018 at 9:48 am

      Cars developed rapidly in the old GT1 days because there was no limit on aero performance. So we went from McLaren F1 – 911 GT1 – CLK-GTR – GT-ONE in the space of 4 years.

      These regs balance aero performance so the design will focus more on manufacturer styling language than outright performance. Think of it more like GT500.

  8. Harry Manback

    June 15, 2018 at 7:51 am

    So…. What becomes of LMP2? Overhaul there as well? Or are we going to have three “GT” classes running with a single class of “weird looking” cars?

    Asking for a friend…. in the States… with “investment” in the current LMP2 platform…

    • Prototype 1

      June 15, 2018 at 8:10 am

      Maybe GTE could replace LMP2?
      That’s just a maybe.

      And Maybe they can introduce GT3 to the ranks.

      So, they could have GTP as the top class, then GTE-Pro as the second class, then GTE-Am as the third class and finally GT3 as the fourth class.

      But again, this is just a Maybe.
      Not predicting anything.

    • Passenger

      June 15, 2018 at 10:37 am

      LMP2 has its place and market.There are some teams with tiny budget.

    • Mike S.

      June 15, 2018 at 12:34 pm

      Haha good point. So quasi prototypes running with these odd looking cars that are slower but look like spaceships still and just top it off with the GT classes. The looks don’t seem logical if that is what it will be on track. Open coupe P2s again then.

  9. Prototype 1

    June 15, 2018 at 7:58 am

    These illustrations were made by a person named Marco van Overbeeke
    https://www.motorsport.com/wec/event/hypercars-livery-concept-194649/photo-galleries/?e=640394

    Maybe these cars will fit in with the new regulations.

    Will they?

    • sukmykok

      June 15, 2018 at 8:54 am

      please god no! they are terrible

      • Old Trombone

        June 15, 2018 at 10:11 am

        Not terrible, nope. Beautiful.

    • Zone

      June 15, 2018 at 9:19 am

      That looks to much like the 2004 Riley Daytona prototype which were ugly as hell. Please no don’t get Riley or panus involved in the design. Get Ferrari, Porsche , Lexus and manufacturers involved in the design.

  10. A Sleeper From Pittsburg

    June 15, 2018 at 8:25 am

    Brace yourself, here comes the World Super Grand-Am championship!

  11. Brian

    June 15, 2018 at 8:41 am

    Perhaps pure coincidence in view of these newly proposed future regulations…but Fortune favors the prepared…https://www.rileytech.com/rgt-design-project

    • A Sleeper From Pittsburg

      June 15, 2018 at 10:59 am

      Riley?! They cant even do a P3 that doesn’t look like a racing shoebox.

  12. Marc

    June 15, 2018 at 8:41 am

    I know it’s just a generic image, but not overly excited about GT looking cars being the top class. I sort of like the current prototype look (and like what IMSA has done with DPi).

    I’ll have to wait and see what the OEs do in their designs. But, the example image just reminds me of the GT1 days (i.e. Saleen or the MC12). Don’t get me wrong, I loved the GT1 cars, but for them to be the top class seems a bit strange.

    • jason

      June 15, 2018 at 9:17 am

      I think this concept will be great. The key is to make sure we don’t go from the McLaren (1995) to the Toyota GT1 (1998). I do wonder if GTE will die off though by 2021. Could be a good time to bring in GT3 to the ACO/WEC. As far as LMP2 goes. You can easily keep them around but with air restrictors to cut straight line speed (f needed) They will just need to be slightly slower than GTP but have much less fuel capacity and there you go.

      • Paul

        June 15, 2018 at 11:49 am

        It would be more fun to give the LMP2s more fuel, a little less weight (if possible within cost cap) and give then just a tiny little chance of winning overall

  13. Roger Lavender

    June 15, 2018 at 8:53 am

    Racing has and always will be a “Race on Sunday – Sell on Monday” proposition. Le Mans was originally a showplace for emerging technologies in the automotive industry….and it should be today and in the future. Manufacturers see no return on investment from the LMP – you can’t buy one in the local showroom, and I challenge anybody to show me LMP technology in roadcars beyond the 918 and others coming to market in the hyperclass with “E” designations. This is “Sports Car Racing” and the racing cars should be full-size cabin, road-going GT sports cars…..not full-bodied F1/E racing cars. I happily look forward to the coming rule sets…..

    • MikeT66

      June 15, 2018 at 9:17 am

      I’d agree with that, Roger – pretty much as I see it.

    • Just another fan

      June 15, 2018 at 10:15 am

      Hybrid battery technology, LED and laser lights, rear view cameras and blind spot assist sensors (I think the GT cars have them or in other classes), improved tyres and I can’t think of anything more right now. It may not be the full car, but parts? There are developments being made all the time.

  14. Zone

    June 15, 2018 at 9:07 am

    Looks like the 2011 Corvette DTP type car again. Chevy with the new C8 could fit right into this concept. Maybe Ford and Chevy will again be back in the Top class again. Hope so. The Riley designed DTP car was a horrible looking car back in 2004 . I stopped going to the Daytona 24 for all those years. The current Caddy Prototype with the current cockpit is just to much like the Old Europe design from 2008. Get Riley and all the other non manufacturers out of LeMans and IMSA. Bring back the manufacturers that have road cars.

  15. daedalus

    June 15, 2018 at 9:13 am

    RIP frontline prototype racing. It seems like we are going back to 1997 with GT1 but without the requirement to build a few road cars for homologation. I can see why the ACO want this as it will bring manufactures back but at the expense of making the cars heavier, less nimble and slower than they are now.

    Hopefully they will leave LMP2 alone as the bastion of real prototype racing and if they don’t artificially slow them down then at their current mid 3:20 times they should mix it with the “hypercars” although i’m sure the ACO will not allow it given that all they care about are manufactures rather than privateers.

    • Nick

      June 15, 2018 at 10:06 am

      GTE cars are more of a prototype than LMP2.

      • Prototype 1

        June 15, 2018 at 10:15 am

        I agree with Nick.

  16. bafranksbro

    June 15, 2018 at 9:45 am

    The timing confuses me a bit because all up till now I was under the impression they were saying this would be debuting at the 2020 Le Mans because everyone was saying Toyota has two years with no competition to try to win it. But it seems because of the super season and the winter month season shift they now have realized they have to push it back an extra year because the 2020 Le Mans would be just next season and the next season starts just next year in the fall.

    So the question begs, does Toyota really stick around for an extra season two years from now with an already old design or do they pull out of next season to focus on designing and building a new car for the 2020-2021 regulations? To me it really seems the winter season shift is really screwing up the transition to the new regulations.

    • TF110

      June 15, 2018 at 9:51 am

      What? The super season will end at LM 2019. They will run the same car through the whole thing. So if these cars are for 2020, they have a year and a half almost to get it ready. I think if the schedule goes back to starting late summer then there’s still time to change the cars. If it goes back to the original schedule with the first race in April or March then there’s a good 7 or 8 months after LM 2019.

      • Parker

        June 15, 2018 at 2:23 pm

        Isn’t Le Mans going to be the last race of the year going forward? If so, then we won’t see them at Le Mans until 2021 (the end of the 2020-2021 season).

  17. Just another fan

    June 15, 2018 at 9:55 am

    Is there a typo somewhere? Because this line is confusing:
    “They will come into effect for the 2020-21 WEC season and make their 24 Hours of Le Mans debut in June 2021.”
    If the new Prototypes come in effect for the 2021 Le Mans, what prototype will the new manufacturers enter for the 2020 Le Mans? Will they be allowed to do only part of the season? Or will the new cars enter the full 2020/2021 championship? Wasn’t that the idea, btw? We would have this 2018-2019 and the following 2019-2020 season and then the rules would come in effect for the new season.
    Will the 2020 Le Mans be raced with current Prototypes, new Prototypes or even a mixture of box?

    • Nick

      June 15, 2018 at 10:10 am

      They will only come forth with a answer if Alonso doesn’t win this year or next. Gotta leave 2020 open for him with a familiar car just Incase. LOL

    • Max

      June 15, 2018 at 10:49 am

      LeMans is the last race of the season. That’s why the super season has two LeMans on the schedule. They start the new season after what was the LeMans break, a few weeks later.

    • Jake Kilshaw

      Jake Kilshaw

      June 15, 2018 at 11:53 am

      Le Mans 2020 is part of the 2019-20 WEC season, as the last race. These new regs will come into effect for 2020-21, so likely Sept-Oct 2020 until Le Mans 2021.

      • Just another fan

        June 15, 2018 at 7:43 pm

        Oh, sorry. I forgot! The super-season is the only one with two Le Mans races. Thanks for pointing out my misconception.

    • Mike S

      June 15, 2018 at 12:40 pm

      Haha a BoP answer modification memo will address this problem making it as clear as mud I am sure. Good point.

  18. JG

    June 15, 2018 at 1:53 pm

    Wheel arch cutouts are gone. There is a God.

  19. Parker

    June 15, 2018 at 2:44 pm

    Prototypes should be the intersection of speed, technology, and beauty. I’m somewhat sad to see the current LMP era come to a close (2016 or 2017 depending on the date you choose). Group C still remains my favorite era of prototype racing.

    The rendering put out by the FIA doesn’t do a whole lot for me. I am curious to see which manufacturers sign up and how the cars will look. It seems like the FIA is going back to the GT1 era of 1997-1998.

    I thought that the Porsche GT1-98 and the Toyota GT-One looked pretty good and I hope that the future GTPs have a look kinda similar to that. The Mercedes, Nissan and Panoz from the GT1 era weren’t beautiful. It is so important to have manufacturer support because of the hospitality (suites, car corrals, etc), advertising and awareness they create. It appears that the new formula will have speed and will be technologically interesting but I’m not sure if the cars will be beautiful until a couple are unveiled.

  20. Dave

    June 15, 2018 at 4:41 pm

    Maybe this will give Toyota a third bite at the “”unopposed at Le Mans” apple should they need it. All kidding aside, they can’t wait this long to put the new regs in place. Hopefully it’s just some confusion about how the dates work out with the season spanning two calendar years.

  21. JeffB

    June 16, 2018 at 10:31 am

    Just no. We’ve kind of been down this road before with the Mercedes CLK and Porsche GT-1, and while those cars were attractive and performed well, a “road car” should NOT be the top class. What happened that time? Just Toyota said screw those rules and built a prototype that had nothing to do with looking or being a highly developed road car. They can change the rules and dumb it down and make road GT cars the top class, but it always evolved back to prototypes, so why go through this whole cycle again? Stick with true prototypes as the top class. It’s what the public wants. It’s what excites us. C’mon ACO, the DPI concept works and is probably not far off from your price point. Tweak it by adding your hybrid systems so you can feel like you made new rules to save face rather than admit IMSA was right, but spare us another five years in the wilderness before you come up with some thing “new” for 2026, the return of the prototypes we’ve wanted all along.

  22. Josh

    June 17, 2018 at 11:54 am

    Yes, the point is the new chassis and the class is ultimately a GT car on steroids and the GT cars without the hybrid system are naturally avoidable, so making a supercar or hypercar will be ideal, but the name should as it always was GT Prototype or better yet HyperGT. The term prototype by definition is a specification and LMP is Le Mans spec. These new cars are way different than what we had as Le Mans prototype. Even though it’s not one of the choices, I’d keep it simple, HyperGT. Essentially, they are turning a GT sports car weighing 2200 lbs. almost and turning it into a 200 mph speed demon with nearly a 1,000 horsespower at the push of a button.

  23. John Martin

    June 18, 2018 at 1:07 pm

    Hey ACO and FIA adding cost and complexity are not going to draw in new players, I wonder how envious you are of the padlock in IMSA, with Cadillac, Honda-Acura, Mazda, Nissan and with Ford, Joest Racing, McLaren and possibly Ferrari joining DPi in 2019-2020, and with IMSA about to untethered the DPi BoP from P1, thus allowing DPi to run 700-800 hp production based engines, thus relegating P2 to there own gentleman’s spec series.

    Do you believe that by adopting the DPi formula albeit at 5 times the cost, that you will attract more players, you might get the Super Tech playets but in 4 to 5 years you will be back at squire one, with astronomical costs and complexity. Looking for the next thing.

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