The ACO is very aware that the current LMP1 rules are expensive to compete in. Just three years ago, there was Porsche, Audi and Toyota running Factory cars. This year, there was just one Toyota - racing their sister car. It wasn't the most interesting race. But luckily the GT class(es) were very exciting, so most didn't notice Fernando Alonso win his PR exercise.
So, the ACO have looked to change the rules for 2020/21 Season to have the all-new 'hypercar concept'. The plan is that this new set of rules will lure the manufacturers back to the Sportscar top-flight, producing cars that look like concept or future sportscars. Toyota have been instrumental in pushing these new rules through and has even previewed a concept of the direction they are heading with the above GR Super Sports Concept.
This will hopefully breed a Class of racing cars that all look quite different - cars that do not have a shape determined by a wind tunnel.
This new Class will initially have a 5 year lifespan and they will also allow active aerodynamics in an aid to help reduce budgets. FIA technical director, Gilles Simon, has stated that this will give "greater efficiency at a lower cost" and that it was the right time to allow active aero in to the WEC as this is already common-pace on road sporstcars.
Hybrid energy will be permitted, but at a significantly reduced level to the LMP1 cars of today. The present rules allow for two energy-retrieval systems, but the new regulations will demand a single front-axle KERS, thus reducing the power output by about 30%.
You have to hope that the manufacturers are already quite far along the line with a prospective car for the 2020 Season start - because that isn't far away. And the timing could be perfect for the Aston Martins Valkyrie and Mercedes-Benz Project ONE - but what would McLaren bring? The Senna? More likely the new, central seated BP23 - due for completion in early 2020 - and now announced as a 'Hyper GT' and named as the 'Speedtail'. Perfect timing then. And you have to believe that Ford would not have to do too much to make the GT competitive given it already looks like a prototype. But what of Porsche and Ferrari?
There were five manufacturers actively involved in discussions that led to the 'Hypercar Concept' (bloody hope they drop that moniker ASAP) - Toyota, Ferrari, Ford, Aston Martin and McLaren, with Porsche present as an 'observer'. All are saying it's too early to commit yet, as there's no official rulebook yet, but if they all turn up up 2020 we could be in for a golden era in Sportscars again.
With the ACO making it clear that they want the North American IMSA Sportscar Championship to adopt these new rules, but so far IMSA has not agreed. The target of £20-26 million per season is still considerably more than those running Daytona Prototypes are currently paying.
So, in conclusion, this could be very exciting - especially if we have Factory Porsches v Ferraris v McLarens v Aston Martins v Fords v Toyotas... but we still seems to be a way off it being all approved. Fingers crossed for 2020.