Evolution of the Le Mans Hypercar
Announced in June 2018, the FIA and ACO’s ‘Le Mans Hypercar’ class has been down a tumultuous and often unpredictable path since the start of the year, with numerous changes to the category that’s due to debut in the 2020-21 FIA World Endurance Championship season.
Despite having announced an initial set of regulations in late December 2018, the FIA World Motor Sport Council confirmed in March that it would open up the class to production-based hypercars in addition to prototype-based models.
It was followed by official announcements from both Toyota (prototype) and Aston Martin (production-based) at Le Mans in June, although only kept alive by the British manufacturer’s late commitment to what otherwise would have likely become an integration of IMSA’s DPi machinery.
The platform received further good news in November when Peugeot announced it would enter beginning in 2022, later announcing a tie-in with Rebellion Racing.
Updated technical regulations, featuring a merged rulebook for both varieties, was ratified by the WMSC in early December, but with the stipulation that all Hypercar entries must be manufacturer-linked, which was later clarified by the ACO.
Discussions, meanwhile, have intensified between the ACO and IMSA on the allowance of next-generation DPi machinery to join the Le Mans Hypercar class, and vice-versa, beginning in 2022, with a number of manufacturers, including Ford, Lamborghini and McLaren, stipulating DPi’s inclusion as a global platform as a requirement for its entry.
Hypercars from Toyota, Aston Martin and Glickenhaus, meanwhile, are in development, with track testing to begin next summer, while an announcement on convergence between Hypercar and DPi 2.0 could come as early as next month in Daytona.
Honorable Mentions: Future of Ford Saga (constant change in industry-influencing position on GT, DPi, Hypercar programs), Doonan Named IMSA President (former Mazda Motorsports director to succeed Scott Atherton), IGTC’s Growth (Stephane Ratel’s five-continent GT3 global series enjoys breakout year).