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Simon (FIA): New Regs to Avoid “Extreme” Tech Development

FIA technical director Gilles Simon shares insight into 2020 prototype regulations…

Photo: MPS Agency

FIA technical director Gilles Simon says the 2020 prototype regulations will not see “extreme” technical development but instead refined areas that will produce a more cost-effective environment for manufacturers.

The new regs, which the FIA has stated is based off ‘hypercar’ concept designs, will be announced on Friday in Le Mans and is expected to be utilized from the 2020-21 World Endurance Championship season.

Released in a Q&A in the latest issue of the FIA’s AUTO magazine, Simon revealed further details on the forthcoming, yet-to-be-named platform.

“The first goal is to have one set of regulations that is not going into extreme technological development, so that we can set a regulation that all the competitors can have access to, but which will be compulsory for everybody,” said Simon.

He said the current proposal, which went through the FIA World Motor Sport Council last week, is based on a number of “limiting parameters” that will eliminate the need for Equivalence of Technology.

“Very roughly, it’s where we control the engine performance, the hybrid system performance and the aero performance, and you define the car with which you want to compete but it cannot be more than this horsepower, more than this kilowatts from the electric [motor], more than these aero figures,” he said.

“We want to set up some physical boundaries and put the numbers in the right place so that competitors can reach them but also have to reach them to be competitive.

“This means that we will not have any Equivalence of Technology – this is, you can make this horsepower with that fuel flow, and the number of cylinders is your choice, the architecture of the engine is your choice etc.

“Maybe it’s because you have some brand identification, you want a four-cylinder, 12 cylinder, whatever you want but you have to go to these figures.

“Aero-wise it will be the same, this is the maximum downforce you can reach and that we measure, and this is the limiting factor, then you are free on the design of the car to reach those numbers.”

The FIA’s proposed budget reduction, which would see manufacturers operating at one-quarter of the current LMP1 hybrid budgets, would put costs in line with current LMP1 privateers, but with hybrid power, according to Simon.

Privateers, meanwhile, will continue to be encouraged to compete in the top class as well.

“With the new LMP1 category, our target is to have it in the same range of costs for privateers at the current non-hybrid LMP1 level, while we include also hybrid technology into it,” he said.

“Not as sophisticated or complex as we have seen in recent years, but quite interesting to have the technology too. So, we believe there will be an interest for privateers to run in the LMP1 category.”

Simon said hybrid systems will be available “at quite a reasonable price” but has essentially ruled out prospects of a spec unit being adopted class-wide.

Sportscar365 understands that manufacturers could be required to make its powertrains available to customers, possibly under a cost-cap format similar to what’s seen in the ABB FIA Formula E Championship.

Balancing Act with GTE-Pro

Despite multiple GTE-Pro manufacturers evaluating prototype programs under the new regs, Simon has downplayed that it could come at a detriment to the top factory-backed production-based class.

Ford, Aston Martin and Ferrari are understood to all be in discussions to enter the top prototype class in 2020-21.

“I think we are not speaking about the same cars – these are prototypes for LMP1 category, it is not based on specific cars,” Simon said.

“I believe it is quite a different program for manufacturers and possibly with different targets in terms of brand.

“We believe that as it is the GTE category is quite successful and we do not see it reducing. In fact, we even have some potential new entrants that are developing cars for 2020.

“So, we are quite confident the success of GTE will be quite stable.

“I think that the P1 category has the potential to be very attractive because the regulations we set will really be nearer to hypercars than to the current P1s.

“By that I mean they will be extreme road cars. I would call them concept race cars.

“That is, they are concept cars for racing – for big brands and big names if they are not big companies. And I think this will truly engage fans.”

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

18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. Matt

    June 10, 2018 at 5:53 am

    Limited power? Why? Just set spending limits and don’t enforce an idiotic fuel flow limit.

    • Pay Driver

      June 10, 2018 at 9:27 am

      Very hard to regulate a cost cap.

    • Old Trombone

      June 10, 2018 at 11:05 am

      Le Mans was an “Index or Performance” race long before it awarded outright line-honors.

      Le Mans ain’t an “Idiot” to continue the policy in which it was founded.

      Calling fuel flow limits idiotic would be like calling F1 cars with “only one seat and no room for luggage” idiotic. Idiot.

      • littletrumpetiscluless

        June 10, 2018 at 5:19 pm

        lil trumpet sure loves to be pompous and call names.

        Grow up.

      • Matt

        June 10, 2018 at 7:15 pm

        Honestly, what are you on about?? Nothing you said even relates to the original post.

  2. David

    June 10, 2018 at 6:48 am

    the Valkyrie is called a hypercar but it seems not to have the same meaning when the FIA is talking about.

    > “[…]So, we believe there will be an interest for privateers to run in the LMP1 category.”

    So this means LMP1 non-hybrid will still exist for privateers? Hope friday will clarify if they will be bopped into the new class or if they will be separated into a subclass.

  3. Joel

    June 10, 2018 at 6:52 am

    Cost caps are great for keeping small “boutique” manufacturers competitive, but turn away large manufacturers, they’ve been trying to do it in F1 for ages, but every time it comes up Ferrari, McLaren and Mercedes threaten to quit! It would happen in the new LMP1 regs as well, There is no way they would accept a cost cap, not while Formula-e is still “cheap” and ACO need some pretty major manufacturers other than Toyota to support its new LMP1 regs.

  4. Steven

    June 10, 2018 at 8:18 am

    I feel the ACO/FIA should have also stated that manufactures have to make their cars available to privateers also if they want to race.

  5. daedalus

    June 10, 2018 at 8:48 am

    I think this is the right way to go. It actually sounds very similar to the GT3 Homologation process where cars have to be in certain weight/downforce/power windows.

    Setting max values for downforce and power with a minimum weight should negate the need for any BOP as well. There could still be ways teams with a ton of money could gain an advantage however. For example they could make all their components ultra light and then just put ballast on the floor to have a superior center of gravity and thus handling. They could also spend a ton on aero development to get the lowest possible drag at max allowed downforce to gain a top speed advantage.

    I guess the FIA could also regulate drag and COG but that might be micromanaging things too much. Hopefully the current privateers can add a hybrid kit to their current LMP1 cars and maybe a new aero kit rather than going down the costly path of developing another new car from scratch.

  6. Paul

    June 10, 2018 at 10:09 am

    It could be a battle of fuel efficiency, if they don’t cap stint length.

  7. Mike W

    June 10, 2018 at 10:40 am

    Why go with an even more expensive type of car? DPI would be a better choice. Allow manufacturers to build their own chassis as well. Otherwise stop saying they want to make the cars relevant to production cars.

    • edo

      June 10, 2018 at 11:54 am

      Dpi work only if you have spec chassis..

    • Steven

      June 10, 2018 at 5:32 pm

      DPi is a modified LMP2 “spec” chassis to help save manufacturers the cost of having to build a chassis from the ground up. Having the manufacturers build their own chassis is LMP1. Something the 4 current DPi manufacturers do not want to do.

    • TF110

      June 10, 2018 at 5:40 pm

      Dpi is lmp2 with lipstick and some mechanical changes. The wec did a survey and people overwhelmingly said no to a dpi type top class.

      • Matt

        June 10, 2018 at 7:19 pm

        It’s way more than P2 with lipstick. It’s the basis around what P1 should be.

      • Haskellb

        June 10, 2018 at 10:48 pm

        DPI’s have been cut down to 515hp compared to 600hp in the P2’s and they are still winning. Besides the “New LMP1” is just a hybrid DPI.

  8. Matt

    June 10, 2018 at 6:50 pm

    I want to see a design !

  9. Jim Glickenhaus

    June 11, 2018 at 12:09 pm

    This could be interesting for us.
    Having already built a Hybrid race car (P 4/5 C) that aspect isn’t an issue.
    A “GT1” version of SCG 003C/SCG 004C would be intriguing.
    We would need additional sponsorship but this brings us a step closer to our goal of expanding our race program. We will be at the 24 Hours of Texas at COTA this November with two SCG 003C’s this November and back at the Nurburgring in 2019.
    Best
    Jim

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