Rebellion Racing team manager Bart Hayden believes that non-manufacturer teams will be attracted to the new set of top-level prototype regulations for 2020-21.
Under the new formula, which will run for five years until the end of the 2024-25 FIA World Endurance Championship season, all cars in the fastest category will be hybrid powered regardless of its manufacturer or independent status.
Furthermore, chassis constructors will be mandated to make its hybrid units for sale at a yet-to-be-determined cost cap.
The introduction of the new regs is part of a push to attract more manufacturers to the top class of the championship following the withdrawals of Audi and Porsche from LMP1.
Privateer teams were not mentioned in last week’s initial confirmation of the 2020-21 ‘hypercar’ rules concept, although a segment during Friday’s reveal at Le Mans proposed that “private teams will be included in competitive performance”.
“I think it’s potentially very interesting,” Hayden told Sportscar365.
“The headline announcements today look quite good because it looks at road relevance, controlling costs and shared investments.
“There’s still a lot to do and quite a tight time frame; it’s only a couple of years away. It could be a direction for us in the future.
“It does certainly help when you’re trying to put together your planning and your projects to have that level of confidence in stability.
“I think you can see that recently in the LMP2 class, where you’ve had a new set of regulations coming in that will last for four years.”
One of the key objectives for the 2020-21 regulations is to reduce top-category budgets to within 25 percent of the current costs for hybrid manufacturers, or roughly €25-30 million ($30-35 million).
Hayden said that privateers should be drawn in, but suggested that getting the right figure will be crucial to generating a healthy mix of entries.
“If they’re going to make systems commercially available, almost off the shelf, then it significantly reduces the investment needed by privateers,” he said.
“But it depends where your starting point is because the budget is a big number to begin with. The 25 percent is still a big number.
“No hard numbers have actually been put in front and we know that the privateers today spend a fraction of what the factory car does.
“Budgets will be what they are but there are certain elements within the regulations that will try and control some of that.
“I think manufacturers will always have available to them that bit more, and how they bring that into play is down to their creative abilities, but what we need is to make sure that the budgets are affordable for privateers.
“The right mix is to have a mix.”
Rebellion is understood not to have been heavily involved in discussions about the new formula, although Hayden said they would be open to evaluating a future program.
The Swiss team is the most successful LMP1 privateer entrant in the WEC and has finished fourth overall at Le Mans on two occasions, in 2012 and 2014.
“We have technical relationships already in place with our program currently, so there is lots of interest,” said Hayden.
“The experience and results of Rebellion over the last ten years are there to be seen, and people recognize that we’re a serious operation.”
ORECA in Favor of New Regs
ORECA founder and president Hugues de Chaunac has laid out preliminary plans of supporting the 2020-21 grid with customer machinery.
The French constructor already has a presence in LMP1 through the Rebellion R13 program, which runs alongside its extensive manufacturer and supply chain to customers in LMP2.
When asked by Sportscar365 if the new regulations would fit into ORECA’s future plans, De Chaunac said, “Yes, definitely, ORECA will be there.”
“We are going to work now on the different options,” he said.
“I think it’s a very good plan. These regulations are attractive and interesting. Now I think there is a period to work on it, but I think that everything is [being] done to achieve these targets.”