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LMP1 Non-Hybrids Facing Stint Length Limits

LMP1 non-hybrids mandated maximum 17-lap stints at Spa in new EoT procedure…

Photo: SMP Racing

LMP1 non-hybrids are set to face limitations in stint length as part of the FIA’s revised Equivalence of Technology for the 2018-19 World Endurance Championship season.

Privateer teams competing in this weekend’s season-opening Total Six Hours of Spa will be limited to a maximum of 17 laps per stint, with the Toyota TS050 Hybrids permitted up to 19 laps at Spa.

It comes following a reduction in usable energy for the non-hybrids, in an EoT change made prior to Spa, that’s likely to give Toyota a further edge, both on the track and in the pit lane.

The declaration, which was made during a meeting with teams and manufacturers at the Prologue last month, follows the EoT regulations that state the Toyotas will have a one-lap fuel advantage in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The 4.352-mile Spa-Francorchamps circuit is roughly one-half the length of Circuit de la Sarthe, which has therefore given the Toyota a two-lap edge for this weekend.

An extrapolation of the stint lengths, similar to the amount of hybrid energy permitted at each circuit, will be implemented for the remainder of the season.

It’s understood to be the first time, outside of Le Mans, that a specific lap limit has been established in the WEC, which faces many unknowns in the LMP1 class heading into the weekend.

“We haven’t actually concerned ourselves too much about it,” Rebellion Racing team manager Bart Hayden told Sportscar365.

“Our focus has been more upon getting ready, being here, having the cars running and on the track, really than worrying too much about where does that put us.

“I think the reality is that we don’t really know, based on what we saw at Prologue, where Toyota is at.

“This will be the first real time to see where they’re at and also where the non-hybrid cars are at.”

It’s understood that even with the recent energy reductions, LMP1 cars would be able to complete more than 17 laps, or roughly 35-minute stints, if permitted, this weekend.

The stint length limits are expected to be at 11 laps (Toyota) and 10 laps (non-hybrids) at Le Mans, marking a three-lap reduction over the Toyota’s capability in the race from previous years.

DragonSpeed Fuming Over Stint Length Limitation

DragonSpeed team owner Elton Julian has lashed out at the WEC for the “stupid” decision to essentially implement 35-minute stints for LMP1 non-hybrids this weekend.

Julian said the limitation has caused a wrinkle in its race strategy, having initially planned to only single-stint Bronze-rated driver Henrik Hedman because of the 40-minute minimum drive time. 

“We have a whole program, everything is designed around a 40-minute stint,” Julian told Sportscar365.

“Then they come with this rule [a few days] before the first race. Now we can’t do one stint drive time.”

Julian said they will now be forced to do a “very public” drive through the pit lane to reset the 17-lap clock, in order to prevent Hedman from having to complete two full stints in the six-hour races.

Under the stint length regulations, LMP1 cars are now expected to be forced to complete one additional pit stop compared to LMP2 cars.

“At 17 laps, Henrik will come in and do a drive-through, go out and do two laps, then do a driver change and pit stop,” he said.

“We’re spending a fortune on engines for using a fuel flow sensor. We’re spending triple the money than the P2 engine to run lean, to then save fuel. It’s pretty stupid.”

Julian said a proposal to permit Hedman, the only gentleman driver in LMP1 this season, to fulfill his drive time requirements with a single stint, was shot down by three fellow privateer teams.

“Many people here are trying to race Toyota; we’re not,” Julian said. “We don’t care if they’re in our class. I don’t know why some people have the right or ability to match them. We’re clearly in our own race.

“I told [the FIA], ‘Send me a rulebook when you’re done. We’ll race to whatever it is.'”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John



  1. therandomguy

    May 3, 2018 at 6:04 am

    Oh come on! Is this another ploy by WEC / ACO to ensure Toyota get be dominant? Hope not but again not hoping my bets towards. Let the LMP1 non hybrids go balls to wall and run them without no restrictions.

    • AudiTT

      May 3, 2018 at 8:02 am

      It’s been known for over 6 months Toyota would have a 1 lap stint advantage at Le Mans. That’s down 2-3 Laps from their 2017 stints.

      That’s the entire selling point of hybrids, better fuel economy. In addition, the privateer cars will have a significant speed boost. In the 1st session at Spa Rebellion are over 5 seconds quicker than ByKolles last year. Toyota will have a major advantage in qualifying as they can harvest more hybrid boost. But in the race, pace will be closer.

      As for DragonSpeed, Julian himself says the other privateers are competing with Toyota. How can that be a bad thing?

      • What in tarnation

        May 3, 2018 at 9:16 am

        If the point is to showcase fuel economy, why is Toyota running five fewer laps at Spa and three fewer laps per stint at Le Mans? Seems like both privateers and hybrids can go further than they’re allowed.

        • AudiTT

          May 3, 2018 at 11:39 am

          Fuel allocation/tank size determines how far a car can go.

          The privateer cars are now burning much more fuel to achieve performance parity with Toyota. Without significantly larger fuel tanks they can’t go much further. Toyota are only burning fuel for 500bhp, and can manage economy further by using the hybrid for the heavy lifting. Privateers are burning 750bhp+ worth of fuel.

          It’s why for the next set of P1 regs all cars (including privateers) will have a mild hybrid.

  2. What in tarnation

    May 3, 2018 at 6:05 am

    This is some wonky SRO stuff, c’mon you guys. WEC can never seem to get out of its own way. A good privateer LMP1 Gris falls into their lap and they start mandating stint lengths. That’s not endurance racing.

    • TuckerC

      May 3, 2018 at 11:15 am

      I agree with you 100%. Why does Toyota need all of these rule changes to help them win. I always hoped Toyota would be successful , but now hope they fail on the first lap. WEC has done themselves no favors with this lap limit crap. Let ‘em race. That’s why we watch.

      • AudiTT

        May 3, 2018 at 11:32 am

        Toyota have had zero technical rule changes.

        The only sporting regulation change is a significant reduction in fuel capacity for Toyota. Which amounts to 2-3 fewer laps per stint at Le Mans.

        The latest privateer regs give them a significant energy increase per lap, a weight reduction, larger front and rear aero (which can be modified through the season). All these recent stories on SC365 regarding reg ‘changes’ are nothing more than final adjustments to already agreed EoT, based on real world data from the Paul Ricard test, as opposed to theoretical performance.

  3. jeff

    May 3, 2018 at 6:47 am

    The ACO is about technology and Toyota follows closer to the organizer’s values than the non-hybrids. Of course they’re going to get the advantage.


    May 3, 2018 at 6:47 am

    Looks and smells like BoP to me.

  5. Adam F

    May 3, 2018 at 6:51 am

    What will happen during a long FCY or Safety Car period? Cars being forced to pit when they’ve still got half a tank of fuel?

    • N8

      May 3, 2018 at 8:45 am

      That’s a really good question. Same if it’s raining and fuel consumption is down even just a bit.

  6. Cactus Tony

    May 3, 2018 at 7:14 am

    Good thing there’s no BoP in LMP1, though, right?

  7. Dan

    May 3, 2018 at 7:38 am

    My, oh my. Stint lengths, EoT, BoP, fuel flow sensors, etc., etc. Especially in WEC LMP1, seems these things increasingly pre-determine winners and losers long before the green flag drops. The “race” is just a series of after-the-fact demonstration laps, a historical reenactment of a rule book previous result.

    • Tracklimits

      May 4, 2018 at 1:50 pm

      It´s done to keep it more open. Or do you want to see Toyota race against themselfs? The Toyotas are slowed several seconds in comparison what the car is/was capable of and the non hybrids are significant faster then last year. But I you have to admit that earasing all of the natrual advantages of a hybrid down to zero would be too much wouldn`t it?

  8. Jake P

    May 3, 2018 at 7:47 am

    Serenity now!

  9. Kurt

    May 3, 2018 at 7:51 am

    I think the WEC should mandate the race finishing positions. This would showcase technology (simulation), be green, and uphold an equivalency of technology. They could stage pictures and videos to give the same appearance online and on geo-blocked apps, the budget would be significantly reduced. Then—like formula E—the WEC can claim ‘dramatic races’, ‘packed with fans’ through intense social media posts.

  10. Grand Am Fan

    May 3, 2018 at 7:57 am

    I love it – we are closer to stage racing

    • WEC iz dum

      May 3, 2018 at 8:39 am


  11. N8

    May 3, 2018 at 8:41 am

    Now allowing fueling during service makes even less sense. There’s virtually no pit strategy left to play in LMP1.

    on a side note – it just might take Hedman 40 minutes to turn 17 laps, if he gets that far.

  12. fernando

    May 3, 2018 at 10:01 am

    Sportscar racing across the board is becoming a joke. IMSA can’t stop BOP’ing the DPI’s. The ACO must make sure that Toyota does not have opposition and can run slow enough to make the cars last. I still think that the ACO mislead the privateers with a set of rules that made them think that they could compete and now has pulled the rug from under their feet.

  13. A Sleeper From Pittsburg

    May 3, 2018 at 10:19 am

    All that ultra pro-Toyota WEC regulations are pretty embarrassing, to be honest.

    • EltonG

      May 3, 2018 at 11:54 am

      The regulations haven’t changed for Toyota. The changes apply in LMP1 non-hybrid. At Spa they’re over 5 seconds per lap quicker than last season.

      The only embarrassment is how easily it is to send US fans onto the WEC hate train with articles that don’t put things into context.

  14. Jack

    May 3, 2018 at 10:31 am

    Before everyone goes crazy, think for 5 seconds, if they didn’t really go hard on this EOT, Toyota would be most likely 5 seconds faster, they asked the WEC to speed up the privateers, they would have had a massive edge on fuel mileage if they didn’t change the rules anyways, Toyota is letting people be close, and your mad that Toyota isn’t letting them too close. Come on now.

    • What in tarnation

      May 3, 2018 at 10:41 am

      Toyota ran about the same times in FP1 as they did last year. ByKolles ran seven seconds quicker.

      • Jack

        May 3, 2018 at 1:27 pm

        Toyota asked the fia to speed up the privateers. The only stipulation was Toyota didn’t want to be slower than last year, cuz it would look bad, so they are the same speed, but that’s not from lack of development.

  15. Anonymous

    May 3, 2018 at 10:56 am

    At the start of the year I really wanted Toyota to win at Le-Mans, but now…….. it’s clear they are not going to win this year’s WEC and LM24 on sheer car performance! They are going to win because the FIA and ACO make sure that they do!

    • TF110

      May 3, 2018 at 12:00 pm

      Yeah no, they made it clear a while ago that Toyota would have a fuel efficiency advantage because of the hybrid. The private teams knew about this. Why anyone is acting surprised now is beyond me. Fake outrage imo.

  16. kv

    May 3, 2018 at 11:09 am

    THE WEC has been micro managed into exstinction !

  17. Sol Shine

    May 3, 2018 at 12:21 pm

    What a farce this LMP1 thing is. Just tell Toyota to go home and let the rest of them race. This is ridiculous.

  18. Mike coter

    May 3, 2018 at 12:27 pm

    Wow,changeling the schedule for Alonso reducing the non hybrids power and now this happens. the ACO is going back to its fickle rules. This hurts because the ACO invented the efficiency in racing, mAking cars last the longest, the ACO NEEDS TO GET THE THERE ACT TOGETHER

    • Apex

      May 3, 2018 at 3:01 pm

      Non hybrid’s power has increased significantly, they’re lighter, have more downforce, and free aero kits after Le Mans.

      That’s resulted in a 7 second gain at Spa.

      Once again an article without context is leading to misinformed comments.

  19. NASCAR/DPs Suck

    May 3, 2018 at 1:04 pm

    This is over the top, mandating all the other crap I can understand but if someone can save fuel and make it work then they deserve to be rewarded. What a mess to start off the season-looks like one to forget already but maybe something decent will come of it. When Toyota wins Lemans this year it will be more hollow then Audi beating up on the Pescarolos in the early 2000s.

  20. AB27

    May 3, 2018 at 5:32 pm

    So stupid. And, when everybody bails and goes racing elsewhere they’ll wonder what happened? Just come up with one set of rules and stick to it. And, why does Toyota need another advantage?

    • Tracklimits

      May 4, 2018 at 1:57 pm

      The advantage they have is the car they have. They only have 39% of Fuel-Energy that the non-hybrids have (they only gain about 1/10 of that back by their hybrid system)and are still faster. Its not their problem the other cars are so inefficent.

  21. Mike S.

    May 3, 2018 at 5:34 pm

    Blame the FIA not Toyota. They are making the rules. No one likes it obviously. Drqgonspeed is right a few days before isn’t probably the best methods no matter the decision that was made.

  22. Paul

    May 3, 2018 at 5:52 pm

    Stint limit …rules for tank size and fuel is not enough?!? As if stints weren’t short enough already, as if there weren’t enough rules already, as if negating the effect of good mpg in endurance racing is meaningful, as if racing outcomes needed to depend less on on-track action and more on off track micromanegement. This is ridiculous. Somebody should be ashamed of trying to bring in as many LMP1 privateers as possible and when they´re committed dropping this on them.
    I really hope the other teams will call this “stupid” as well, loud and clear. If I ran a team and had spent money to have a fuel efficient racing engine developed and then had a nonsensical and pointless rule voiding the effort introduced days before the season opener, I would seriously consider ditching LMP1 and going somewhere not-WEC.
    The ever thickening rulebook isn´t the attraction of motorracing, somebody clearly forgot.

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