Ford and Ferrari could roll out ‘Evo’ kits for their existing GTE machinery next year, amid the arrival of at least two new cars to the GTE-Pro class in both the FIA World Endurance Championship and at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
GTE regulations allow each manufacturer to submit an upgrade kit within a three-year homologation period, with both the Ford GT and Ferrari 488 GTE currently in year two, and the window closing on a potential update.
“It’s logical people could come to the assumption that we might do an evo kit,” Ford GT Program Manager George Howard-Chappell told Sportscar365. “We might, but there’s no confirmation or otherwise what we’re doing or if we’ll even do it.”
Per the category’s technical regulations, manufacturers are allowed to make a one-time permitted performance or reliability update, in what’s otherwise a class-wide freeze in development.
Porsche was the last manufacturer to take advantage of this allowance under the previous set of GTE regulations when it debuted updates to its 997-based Porsche 911 RSR in the WEC season-ending round in Bahrain in 2013.
By running the updated car in 2013, the changes were therefore homologated for cars in the GTE-Am class as well the following year.
While both Ford and Ferrari have so far been non-committal to the evo kits, Howard-Chappell said a decision would have to fit within the FIA and ACO’s deadlines, as any updated cars would need to essentially be re-homologated.
It would include taking part in the FIA’s Balance of Performance test in Ladoux in September, where both the new BMW M8 and next-generation Aston Martin GTE cars are also expected to be present.
“Effectively to the the FIA and ACO, it could be a new car,” Howard-Chappell said. “If you’re doing things that fundamentally affect the performance, they would need to re-look at the BoP.”
Howard-Chappell indicated that GTE cars could have a significantly different look with the permitted changes.
“Within an evo, for example, the same set of aerodynamic regulations would apply,” he said. “A manufacturer could say they want to change the look of their car fairly significantly and still be within the regs.
“It might look quite differently. You can have a very different-looking diffuser and front facia, all within the regs. That would be an evo package that would change the look of the car.
“On the other hand, if a manufacturer says, ‘I want to do something with my engine.’ It could be quite significant but you’ll never know looking from the outside.”
Howard-Chappell stressed that a decision from Ford’s end has not yet been made, although it’s understood both the Blue Oval and Ferrari have at least begun initial research into possible updates.