The FIA and ACO are considering locking in next year’s GTE-Pro class Balance of Performance for the 24 Hours of Le Mans ahead of the 2017 season, in an effort to prevent early season sandbagging.
ACO Sporting Director Vincent Beaumesnil confirmed to Sportscar365 the possibility of finalizing the BoP, perhaps even before the end of the year, although a final decision has yet to be made.
“We are exploring many possibilities,” Beaumesnil told Sportscar365. “For sure, we are not very comfortable with the fact that the races before Le Mans would have an influence on Le Mans, especially now that we’ve seen the new cars once.
“I don’t know if it’s what we’ll do. But these are the kind of options we may have a look at. Why not?”
Beaumesnil said any potential changes to the BoP process would likely be aimed at Le Mans only, following a larger-than expected gap in performance between cars in this year’s French endurance classic.
“It’s obviously easier if you have Le Mans out of the races,” he said.
“We have some meetings and are speaking with the manufacturers and are exploring other possibilities. We want to make a final synthesis of that at the end of the summer.”
While the sanctioning bodies had come under fire from the outcome of last month’s race, including an unprecedented post-qualifying BoP change that did little to change matters, Beaumesnil stressed the amount of work that went into ensuring a fair BoP for the event.
“We never went so far in the analysis of the cars and trying to put it all together to make the best BoP,” he said.
“We have increased the number of sensors. You can’t imagine the amount of time the guys have spent. Some of them, honestly, they have much more work with this than LMP1.
“We now need to have people working full-time only on GT because it’s such a big load of work.
“It’s a challenge because this year had new cars and new rules… and updated cars, so you have to make them all live together.
“I have no regrets and are very comfortable with the job they do. The only target is for them to be as fair as possible.”
Two of the big factors that many people don’t consider, Beaumesnil said, is driver/team performance and tires, which are not part of the BoP process.
“It’s easy to always put [the blame] on the BoP and it’s really not the case,” he said.
“If you take Formula One, everybody would say, ‘Manor has a very bad BoP compared to Mercedes.’ No, that’s not the case!
“The major difficulty is that Le Mans is the third race of the year and I think anybody would be stupid if they don’t realize that before Le Mans, people maybe don’t show everything.
“So you have to evaluate the cars with people who don’t really show what their cars [are capable of].
“Can we make it better? Of course we can always do better and we are always working on improving the process.
“The philosophy of BoP is to make the cars technically as close as possible. It’s not to make the drivers, the teams, the strategy, the tires equal.
“At some stage, it’s racing. There has to be racing.”