GT1 resurrected - LMP1 cars could be going back to road car roots
With LMP1 on the brink of failure, this change could bring the good old days of GT1 back to our screen
The top level of endurance racing may be about to take a tectonic shift towards a better future thanks to a meeting held between the FIA and the Automobile Club de l'Oust (the organisers of WEC and Le Mans). The two organisations discussed the new regulations for the 2020/21 WEC season, stipulating that the future generations of the LMP1 formula could be styled around the manufacturer's top performance cars.
Vincent Beaumesnil (ACO Sporting Director) has said that reverting back to the GTP racers of yesteryear could be an option. Although he would not expand much further, Toyota Motorsport's Technical Director, Pascal Vasselon, has revealed that the proposal would "make sure the bodywork supports better the manufacturer's products".
Stunning prototypes like the Nissan R390 GT1 are sorely missed from the sport.
If this option was to be implemented by the powers that be, we could see the top class of WEC suddenly populated by manufacturers who are keen to show off their products via racing, much like the late '90s and early '00s.
Considering that machines such as the Aston Martin Valkyrie and Mercedes-AMG Project One have plenty of the credentials needed for track racing, we could be on the cusp of a hypercar-enfused Le Mans field, with supercar manufacturers prepping their top of the range models for the motorsport world stage.
This is exactly what most WEC fans want to see, prototype cars that we can actually relate to.
This would be vastly more appealing than the somewhat exclusive LMP1 category that has depleted massively in recent years, with only Porsche and Toyota fighting for the title last season. The technology and expense of such cars as the Porsche 919 Hybrid means that there simply isn't an inlet into the sport for smaller manufacturers, hence the severe lack of involvement at the top end of endurance racing.
The next meeting to further such actions takes place early next month, when hopefully the FIA can see sense and bring back endurance racing that we can all get behind. Until then, let's reminisce about the glory days of GT Prototype racing: