The FIA World Endurance Championship will feature a 37-car grid next year, with plans to further increase the full-season field in 2025 according to its CEO Frederic Lequien.
Lequien, along with ACO President Pierre Fillon and FIA Endurance Commission President Richard Mille, confirmed to reporters at last weekend’s 8 Hours of Bahrain that the number represents the maximum size it can accommodate at two tracks on the calendar.
Both Imola, which replaces Monza as the Italian round next year, and Circuit of The Americas which returns after a four-year hiatus, have 37 garages, which is the limiting factor.
“Thirty-seven is the right number,” Lequien said. “That’s the plan.”
The FIA and ACO had explored the possibility of LMGT3 teams sharing garages to increase the grid past 40 cars but have ruled out such prospects for next year due to the complexities involving refueling rigs.
“It’s too complicated about the refueling of the cars,” Fillon explained.
“If you have two cars in the same garage you need to have two different refueling systems. It’s unfair if you [only have one].”
Lequien added: “We have to find a solution. The goal is to increase the grid in 2025.”
Neither Lequien nor Fillon would be drawn on class sizes on the grid, which will be reduced to two categories with the Hypercar and the new-for-2024 LMGT3 ranks.
However, it’s believed the WEC selection committee, which will meet after the Nov. 20 entry request deadline, will select nine GT3 manufacturers to form an 18-car LMGT3 grid, leaving 19 spaces for Hypercar.
Sportscar365 understands there could be up to 20 full-season Hypercar entry requests, if a third Ferrari 499P materializes.
Fillon, meanwhile, said that additional Hypercar entries will be accommodated for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, although fell short of confirming enough spaces for 25 cars, which is expected to roughly be the number of entry requests made in the top class for the French endurance classic.
Lamborghini is known to be planning a second SC63 entry, while Porsche Penske Motorsport is again eyeing a third car at Le Mans along with up to two additional entries from Cadillac, including its auto-invite from Action Express Racing for winning the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
“Hypercar is a very important category for us,” Fillon said. “Of course we can’t have ten Porsches in Le Mans. But we try to manage to have a fair representation, similar to this year.
“At the end there is only 62 garages, at least 15 P2, including the invitations.”
Fillon, who confirmed no plans for a Garage 56 entry at Le Mans next year, revealed that Hypercar teams are prohibited from fielding a third full-season entry in the WEC.
This would mean that Ferrari’s proposed third 499P would need to be a customer car.
“In the regulation, there’s a Cup for the [Hypercar] customers,” Fillon said.