The top three LMP1 cars in the FIA World Endurance Championship have been brought slightly closer together by the success handicap ruling for next weekend’s 1000 Miles of Sebring.
Toyota Gazoo Racing’s pair of TS050 Hybrids continue to hold the largest handicaps, while the non-hybrid Rebellion Racing R13 Gibson has received a bigger performance penalty than it was given for the previous round.
This comes after Rebellion dominated the 6 Hours of Circuit of The Americas, where the Swiss privateer team held a two-second handicap edge over the slowest Toyota.
Rebellion will maintain its more advantageous handicap owing to its position behind the Toyotas in the theoretical car-by-car LMP1 points standings, although the penalty has been raised from 0.55 seconds at COTA to 1.36 seconds per lap at Sebring.
However, the Rebellion will still carry a substantial advantage of more than 1.5 seconds over the championship-leading No. 7 Toyota of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez which has been made 3.02 slower slower per lap.
This marks the first time that a car has been dealt with a handicap of more than three seconds.
The No. 8 Toyota of Kazuki Nakajima, Brendon Hartley and Sebastien Buemi, which is second in the points table, will be made 2.64 seconds slower per lap.
This creates a 0.38-second clearance between the two Toyotas, which is a reduction from the 0.56 seconds that separated them at COTA.
Team LNT will return with its two Ginetta G60-LT-P1 AERs after missing the previous round.
Both of the British-entered prototypes will run to a minimum weight of 833 kg, making them 40 kg lighter than the Rebellion at 877 kg and 99 kg lighter than the two Toyotas.
As has been the case all season, the non-hybrid performance cuts are made by adding weight, while the hybrid Toyotas are managed by power output adjustments.
For the top three, handicaps are calculated by multiplying the length of the circuit in km by the WEC’s coefficient of 0.01255 and the difference between each car and the ‘virtual car’ that for Sebring sits on 71 points (i.e. 40 points behind the championship leader).