Hypercar Concept Has Me Super Excited For The Future Of Le Mans
It is that time of year, my favorite week in the motorsport calendar, Le Mans. Sportscar racing is without question my favorite form of motorsport and their crown jewel is Le Mans. Problem with Le Mans this year is it appears to be a one horse race. The insane budgets to compete at the highest levels has chased everyone out but Toyota leaving Le Mans 2018 Toyota's race to lose. This somewhat cheapens the spectacle for me. Sure, Toyota's reliability record at Le Mans is not good and there is always that chance a smaller team has a magical 24 hours and steals an unlikely victory. However, there are no other factory teams pushing Toyota this year so they can run a conservative strategy thus increasing their reliability.
All is not lost however, the FIA teased their new direction earlier this week ahead of the official announcement of new Prototype regulations tomorrow. The FIA is calling their new direction the "Hypercar Concept" in the hopes of luring more OEM's into the fight. The new direction will see manufacturers build prototypes that resemble its high-end production cars.
The biggest lure dangled by the FIA is the cost reduction measures. The FIA is aiming for a massive 75% decrease in the teams' budget. This takes the cost to race down closer to current Privateer budgets and not the stratospheric budgets used by Toyota and others. The new direction if more focused on relevant technology as opposed to the extreme tech used by the factory teams.
Even with all their success at Le Mans even Porsche couldn't sustain their program under the current regulations.
The FIA has engaged in discussions surrounding the 2020/21 regulations ever since Porsche exited LMP1 nearly nine months ago. There is no denying the current regulations led to some insanely impressive machinery. The tech involved was incredible however the costs associated were not sustainable. This is why the FIA along with Toyota, Ford, McLaren, Aston Martin and Ferrari sat down and worked on a future with more long term staying power. In addition the new platform is believed to be a global one. Meaning teams can race at Le Mans and Daytona, Sebring and Spa. One rule book for everyone.
Personally this has me extremely excited. What's not to love? Amazing machines under one set of rules that is inclusive with relevant technology. Just imagine multiple factory teams with the chance to race in all the endurance classics. Ferrari fighting McLaren fighting Ford fighting any number of other OEM's for overall victory at the world's greatest race tracks. This is how Prototype racing is supposed to be, we have become complacent in recent years, clinging to only two sometimes three manufactures fighting each other.
Yes, the insane level of technology currently being utilized will be missed. Le Mans Prototypes featured some of the most advanced technology in motorsport. Unfortunately, in today's climate that model is not sustainable. The new model will utilize hybrid technology and allow manufactures some freedom in development without nuking teams' budgets.
The current climate of hyper street car design has them barely clinging to road legal-ness. The natural step forward is to give manufacters a place to push the envelope a little further and put their ideas to the test in the form of racing. Combine all of these factors and there is absolutely no denying the fact that I am extremely excited for the future of my favorite motorsport.