The LMP1 Privateer class could have a different look and feel to it by as early as next year, with the ACO proposing a series of technical changes to the non-hybrid prototypes, in an effort to close the performance gap to the factory entries.
ACO Sporting Director Vincent Beaumesnil told Sportscar365 that it could result in the adoption of the category’s own set of regulations, that would be different from the factory, hybrid-powered prototypes.
“We are clearly dedicated to make LMP1 again attractive for private teams,” Beaumesnil told Sportscar365. “We know that today, the formula we have in place is not attractive enough.
“We have put together all potential engine and car manufacturers and are working on the technical options that we are evaluating in order to make the car competitive without adding costs.
“Everybody has been very positive. We’re trying to do it for next year. It’s going quite well.”
Current and prospective LMP1 Privateer teams and manufacturers met last week at Paul Ricard to continue discussions on a likely overhaul of the class.
The 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship season will again only see three full-season privateer entrants, with two Rebellion R-One AERs and a single CLM P1/01 AER from ByKolles Racing.
Beaumesnil said it’s their goal to attract additional competitors to the class by significantly reducing the performance gap to the factory LMP1 cars through a number of different methods.
It’s understood a considerable increase in power is being proposed, although the cars would still retain its fuel flow meters, per the FIA Endurance Committee’s recommendation.
“If you take, for example, the Rebellion [R-One] of today, what can you do to make it much closer to the Audi, Toyota and Porsche without spending more?” Beaumesnil said.
“I don’t want to mention the technical options, because it’s under evaluation; nothing is decided.”
Beaumesnil said there’s been interest from five constructors and four engine manufacturers, in what could become a destination for companies not selected for the new, largely-spec LMP2 platform.
“LMP2 is now limited to four [constructors] and you have other [constructors] that want to build cars,” he said.
“In that category they can do some development. It’s really open, so this is what they like, also.”
Both BR Engineering, through its SMP Racing outfit, and Strakka Racing have expressed interest, with the Russian squad understood to be the closest to building a new LMP1 car for next year.
Beaumesnil said they hope to finalize the proposed changes by June, in order to have them go into effect for 2017.
An all-new set of LMP1 regulations, for hybrid-powered cars, meanwhile, is set to be introduced the following year.