Hybrid powertrains are set to be optional in the revised Hypercar regulations that will be detailed later this week in Le Mans.
The overhaul in the FIA World Endurance Championship’s top class rules, which are still due for a 2020-21 debut, could feature up to as many as five different chassis/powertrain configuration options, at least for the first season.
It will include production-based hypercars, which as indicated in March, can run with or without a hybrid system.
A modified version of the FIA and ACO’s prototype-based Hypercar regulations is now believed to have made the hybrid powertrain optional as well, and at a reduced capacity than originally announced in December.
A smaller hybrid system, which may only be activated at speeds above 120 km/h, would eliminate the significant advantage currently seen by LMP1 hybrids in slow corners and in wet weather conditions.
The regulations announced late last year initially called for a 200 kW electric motor as part of a €3 million cost-capped ERS system, which is now understood to have been slashed.
Hybrid and non-hybrid prototype-based Hypercars are set to be joined by the production-based hypercars, which can also run in non-hybrid form.
Officials from the FIA and ACO have declined comment on any changes to the Hypercar regulations ahead of Friday’s announcement.
Aston Martin, Toyota Announcements Expected Imminently
It’s understood that Aston Martin, with its road-going Valkyrie hypercar, is expected to formally announce its commitment to the class this week, alongside Toyota, which is currently developing a prototype-based Hypercar with hybrid power.
Despite utilizing a hybrid system on its road car, Aston’s Valkyrie is expected to run as a non-hybrid.
Current LMP1 non-hybrid competitors, meanwhile, are likely to remain eligible for at least the first season, although it’s unclear if details on the platform’s integration will be communicated during the ACO’s annual press conference on Friday.
The prototype and production-based hypercars with varying levels of power, along with the grandfathered LMP1 non-hybrids, will compete under a new Balance of Performance system, which also has yet to be outlined.
An official go-head on the Hypercar formula is believed to have been dependent on the FIA and ACO securing a second manufacturer.
As previously reported by Sportscar365, both the GTE Plus concept and IMSA’s DPi formula were evaluated as potential replacements, with discussions extending into mid-May, although neither being taken up for the time being.