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.”