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McLaren Pushing for Production-Based Only Hypercar Regs

McLaren in favor of production-based only hypercar regs in growing complexity to ruleset…

Photo: McLaren

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown says they’re in favor of the FIA and ACO’s new top class allowing production-based hypercars only, amid the platform’s recent addition to the originally announced set of prototype-based regulations. 

Announced last month, hypercars based directly from its road-going counterparts have been added to the yet-to-be-named top class, which is slated to debut for the 2020-21 FIA World Endurance Championship season.

It means the two distinct platforms, along with grandfathered LMP1 cars, would all compete together in a single class through a yet-to-be-detailed Balance of Performance system.

Brown, instead, said he prefers the class to be entirely production-based, to help promote a consistent brand message.

“We prefer a production-based hypercar,” Brown told Sportscar365. “We want to see Aston Martin, Ferrari, Porsche in road-going hypercars.

“I think that’s what the fans want and what we want to race against.

“I know there’s a Balance of Performance element, which I think can work, but the more diversity in race cars that you bring in, the harder the task becomes.

“Also, we want to race cars that we sell. If you enter prototypes in that mix. it starts becoming a brand message mis-match.”

It’s understood the FIA and ACO have kept the initial prototype-based regs in place for privateer teams, LMP constructors, as well as Toyota, which currently does not have a road-going supercar.

Brown, meanwhile, also acknowledged discussions of a so-called “GTE Plus” or “Super GTE” concept that’s been floated by manufacturers that, if approved, could see GTE-based machinery with power and aero modifications also compete in the top class.

The concept, which is understood to have been backed by the majority of the current GTE manufacturers, as well as several brands in GT3, was originally presented to the FIA and ACO prior to its adoption of the initially announced prototype-based Hypercar regs at Le Mans last year.

“I think the devil is in the details,” Brown said. “I think it needs to be a supercar [like a Ford GT]. For Porsche, you’d rather have it be the 918 [than 911], and more the La Ferrari than the 488.

“It then becomes tough from a Balance of Performance standpoint.

“It’s one thing to all try and set a time to hit. But then what happens with four-wheel drive, two-wheel drive, hybrid [in varying conditions].

“Balance of Performance works in GTE but everything is on a similar starting platform. If you’re prototypes, GTE Plus, Hypercar, that’s just a big task.”

McLaren Hypercar Program Still “Very Much” on Radar

Brown said a McLaren Hypercar program is “very much” on the radar for the British manufacturer, although it has ruled out anything in the short-term.

The FIA and ACO have yet to get a firm commitment from a major manufacturer for the planned 2020-21 launch season.

“The first season is definitely out of the question,” Brown said.

“If you’re going to do it, you want to be fully prepared and not rush it. We definitely wouldn’t be ready for the 2020-21 calendar.”

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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