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ACO’s Future GT Class Set to Prohibit Factory Entries

ACO to focus on customer Pro-Am entries in future GT class at Le Mans, WEC from 2024…

Photo: MPS Agency

The FIA and ACO are aiming to “prevent” factory teams from entering its new-for-2024 GT class, according to the president of the FIA Endurance Commission.

Richard Mille told reporters after Friday’s ACO press conference at Le Mans that the main objective of the next-generation GT class, which will replace GTE from 2024, is to keep operating costs as low as possible.

This will likely involve banning the participation of full-factory teams akin to those seen in the current GTE-Pro class.

The new category, which is set to be based on GT3, will arrive at a time when top-level prototype racing is enjoying a manufacturer influx with multiple OEMs entering with factory-run vehicles built to the LMH and LMDh technical rulebooks.

Toyota, Peugeot, Porsche, Audi, Ferrari, BMW and Acura have all officially confirmed their involvement in prototype racing. All of those brands will have arrived by 2023.

“At this stage it’s a bit premature. It’s the same objective that we had for Hypercar that is to say it must be [about] cost-saving,” said Mille.

“One of the biggest parameters is that we shall be looking at a category where the manufacturers cannot enter officially.

“Because you have Hypercar, and we want to have good battles so one of the main topics is to prevent the manufacturers, the works cars, to enter the category.

“In the spirit of what has been Le Mans with GT.”

Mille said that there “could be professional drivers” in the future GT class, but it appears that a driver categorization mandate will be enforced to ensure a Pro-Am environment.

When asked about how a factory-backed GT team such as Corvette Racing would enter Le Mans from 2024, ACO President Pierre Fillon told Sportscar365: “You have to ask the question to Corvette. They can come with amateur drivers and private teams.

“Again, we have to keep the spirit of what we said. We are at an early stage.

“We know what will be the platform, but from this platform after that we will have to work the developments.”

Fillon added that it’s “too early” to say if the category will consist of one racing class or two, as is currently the case with GTE-Pro and GTE-Am.

“We have a clear idea of what the platform will come from,” he said. “This is the main issue. But again, we have to work on our objectives. The objectives are cost parameters.

“Today GTE is very costly, and it is something we don’t want.

“What you have to have in mind today is that GTE will finish after 2023, and in 2024 we will work on the basis of GT3. We will have the final decision at the end of this year.”

IMSA “Still Believes” in Factory GT Entries

While the future GT classes at Le Mans and in the WEC are set to prohibit factory entries, IMSA is standing by its decision to continue with pro-level racing beyond the end of the GTE formula.

The WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will introduce GTD Pro next year, a class in which GT3 cars can compete with all-professional driver lineups and extensive manufacturer support.

GTD Pro replaces the current GT Le Mans division, which uses GTE machinery.

“We continue to talk in collaboration with them about our strategy,” IMSA President John Doonan told Sportscar365.

“We felt like it was absolutely the right time to make the transition to GT3 specifications. With GTD Pro, we still believe there’s a place for manufacturer programs, works teams if you will, in GT. That’s what we believe is right for the industry.

“We’re doing what we believe is right for IMSA’s market at the moment. The market will speak.

“The manufacturers will speak, of who wants to compete in a works GT team. We reached convergence on the top category. Maybe we can reach convergence on GT.”

John Dagys contributed to this report

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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