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McLaren Now Able to “Move Quickly” On Hypercar Decision

End-of-summer decision for McLaren on Hypercar program for 2021-22…

Photo: John Dagys

McLaren is now able to “move quickly” on a decision whether to commit to the Hypercar class, following the confirmation of the regulations by the FIA and ACO.

The British manufacturer, which has been in technical working group meetings to help shape the FIA World Endurance Championship’s new top-class regulations, has given an end-of-summer deadline in order to be on the grid for the 2021-22 season.

Speaking to assembled media at Le Mans, McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown shared his enthusiasm of the final product, which will feature a combination of prototype and road-going hypercars.

“I think it’s good that they’ve announced and that it’s now finalized, because it gives us something to react to, because it had been a lengthy work in progress,” Brown said.

“Overall [we’re] pleased with the direction.

“We’ll now, Gil, myself, Mike Flewitt, the CEO of Automotive, we’ll all work together to ultimately come forward with a recommendation of if we want to do it, how we want to do it, when we want to do it.”

Brown said until Friday there was “nothing to commit to” in reference to the uncertainty over whether the Hypercar concept would move forward or the FIA and ACO revert to backup plans that included the potential adoption of IMSA’s DPi formula and the so-called ‘GTE-Plus’ platform that had been proposed by GTE manufacturers.

“Now we know what the rules are,” Brown said. “We’ve been at every meeting, we’ve been part of the journey.

“Ultimately we can’t go with Mike to the board with a plan where the foundations are not firm.

“Now that we have that, we’re going to be able to move quickly.

“It’s not like yesterday was a surprise or we haven’t not been working on it, but now we know who’s playing and how they’re playing, and now we can finalize what our plans could look like and ultimately bring them forward for discussion.”

As previously reported, Brown has ruled out an entry for the platform’s launch 2020-21 season, even admitting a debut at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 2021 would not be possible.

McLaren Racing sporting director Gil de Ferran said that a decision would have to be taken by the end of the summer in order to be on the grid for the second season.

Should the manufacturer commit, Brown said it would take the production-based route utilizing a yet-to-be-announced road car model, hinting at a hybrid powertrain.

Brown said he isn’t concerned about the FIA and ACO’s planned Balance of Performance system that will bring prototypes and road-going cars, with optional hybrid systems together in the same class.

“Any time you get into Balance of Performance, there’s a bit of a concern to make sure that gets done right, especially when you’ve got two formulas, but they’ve done a really good job in GTE, and therefore I have a good degree of confidence that they can ultimately get it right in WEC,” he said.

Hypercar, IndyCar Decisions Independent

Brown said a decision on Hypercar would be independent on whatever McLaren does in IndyCar, stressing that each program, including Formula 1, would have seperate budgets.

“All of our racing decisions would be taken in isolation,” he said.

“Formula 1 has to economically make sense, which currently it doesn’t, but hopefully with the budget cap coming in [for 2021], it will be economically more viable.

“We would run everything independently, not only technically but fiscally.

“One isn’t going to pull on the other and we’re not going to not do this or not do this. Everything has to stand on its own two feet.”

When asked whether Hypercar or IndyCar has more importance to the company, Brown said they both serve “different purposes.”

“I don’t think that you can compare the two,” Brown said. “I think they both have their separate reasons.

“One’s about the North American market place, the other is about the Automotive business, so I don’t think you can rank them in that way. They serve different purposes.”

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 FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

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