The FIA World Endurance Championship is considering a requirement for GTE-Am teams to run two cars next year along with changes to how their pit garages are used, Sportscar365 understands.
Several team principals within the current GTE-Am paddock have indicated that adjustments to the sporting regulations have been proposed ahead of the 2022 season.
Under the potential changes, all GTE-Am teams would be mandated to operate a pair of cars that would share the same garage space and fuel rig.
It’s understood that the measure could be introduced to cater for an increased overall grid next year, in order to relieve pressure on the limited number of garages available.
The maximum grid size for the WEC is believed to be at 34 cars due to the size of the pit lane at Fuji Speedway.
When approached by Sportscar365 for clarification on a potential two-car requirement in GTE-Am, ACO President Pierre Fillon said: “It’s too early to answer. We will see.
“When we see the potential entry list, we will see what we can do. We can’t speak about that yet.”
GTE-Am teams have been free to choose how many entries they put down for every WEC season since the start of the championship in 2012.
Enforcing two-car entries would put pressure on single-car operations such as GR Racing, which runs a Porsche 911 RSR-19 for Mike Wainwright and Aston Martin Racing which fields the Northwest AMR Vantage GTE for Paul Dalla Lana.
Equally, teams looking to make the step up to three cars are pausing on their commitments for next year until they have confirmation on whether that sort of program will be possible.
“The problem from the WEC is that there are a lot of new teams coming to prepare for LMDh,” said Proton Competition team boss Christian Ried.
“So it looks like we will run out of space in the paddock and we have to find a solution to make everybody happy.
“It is difficult to have new teams, but [also] to not send back Am teams who have supported the series since ten years. It’s not easy.
“We come here with some plans for a third car. If this happens, maybe we have to share something with [another team]. But it’s too early to say something about that.”
Andrea Piccini, team principal of the Iron Lynx Ferrari squad, has comparable sentiments to Ried about evaluations for an expanded three-car program in 2022.
“There are lots of requests to the ACO,” Piccini told Sportscar365. “They need to decide how many entries to give to every team. They are talking about limiting it to two entries per team.
“We also spoke about reducing the number of fuel towers allowed in the pits, because they will have more entries next year.
“So we will have to wait a little bit to see what the ACO is willing to do next year. We have already confirmed at least two [GTE-Am] entries in WEC.”
Another team principal warned that requiring two-car teams to have a shared garage for their vehicles could pose issues in terms of safety and space management, as well as having impacts on sporting procedures during races and other sessions.
They highlighted potential pitfalls that could occur during a safety car or Full Course Yellow period when a team needs to bring both of its cars into the pits for fuel.
“You’ve got one rig to bring one car in, but I don’t know what you do with that,” said the team manager, who asked not to be named.
“What if both cars need a bit of fuel? You can’t do another lap. You’ve got to wait.
“What happens to next door? If you’ve got a car sat in their area, it’s a huge issue of safety.
“Besides the fact that you’ve got two teams of guys all waiting within the same two spaces. They don’t have enough space for eight mechanics, plus drivers and driver helpers.”
Ried added: “We have to see if this will happen. If you have one rig for two cars, it’s a big impact on the strategy. We can be lucky or unlucky, but that’s not what you want to have.”
Fillon said that the ACO is “working on” the predicament faced by single-car teams.
“Of course we will consider all the options, to try to make all the teams happy that want to run in the WEC next year,” he said.
Confirmation of 2022 regulation changes are expected to come at the next FIA World Motor Sport Council meeting on Dec. 15.