The LMP1 Privateer Trophy is poised for at least a one-year hiatus, following a new provision in the FIA World Endurance Championship Sporting Regulations that requires at least three full-season entries in the non-hybrid subclass for the title to be awarded.
Next year’s season is likely to feature only a single team in ByKolles Racing, following Rebellion Racing’s switch to the LMP2 class.
The Anglo-Swiss squad claimed its fifth consecutive Endurance Trophy for privateer teams in 2016, despite scaling back to a single-car entry for the second half of the season, leaving the subclass as a two-car battle between the Rebellion R-One AER and ByKolles’ CLM P1/01 AER.
While it’s understood ByKolles could expand into a two-car operation next year, it still wouldn’t be enough to meet the three-car full-season requirement. Previously, there was no minimum car count for the trophy to be awarded.
ByKolles will still be allowed to compete next year, but classified within the overall LMP1 standings.
The 2018 season is set to see the arrival of SMP Racing with a two-car LMP1 effort, with an all-new non-hybrid car built by Dallara and BR Engineering, which should revive the Privateer Trophy.
Other changes in the 2017 Sporting Regulations include:
***The LMP1 Equivalence of Technology, confirmed annually following the 24 Hours of Le Mans, will only be locked in until the end of the 2017 season, instead of through the following year’s race at Le Mans, as has been the case since 2014.
***The fastest driver from the free practice and qualifying sessions in both the LMP2 and GTE-Am classes will no longer be required to start each race.
***All Bronze and Silver-rated drivers in GTE-Am must drive for a minimum of 1 hour and 45 minutes in each six-hour race, with Gold and Platinum-rated drivers required to log at least 45 minutes of drive time for the entry to be classified.
***The WEC will place drivers in the LMP2 and GTE-Pro championship-winning cars in the Bahrain Rookie Test in addition to the registered LMP1 manufacturers. The Nov. 19 test will therefore be mandatory for the world champions in three of the four classes.
***Further clarification on garage visibility has been made made, which now prohibits personnel from crowding and blocking the front of each car, or using certain objects or bodywork to obstruct the view, during each race weekend.
***An increase in the GTE manufacturers entry fee from 130,000 Euros to 310,000 Euros, due to the arrival of World Championship status for the class. The price of 15,000 Euros per car and event remains unchanged.