World Endurance Championship drove into huge crossroad, if not even blind road. The top class LMP1-Hy is top of the tops machinery, peace of diamond which has some edges still rough. Cars are unbelievable quick, almost all records are new and smashed by these road rockets. But this might the problem itself. ACO and FIA created LMP1-Hy with best intensions possible also for us viewers and fans. Who would not to see 1000HP beasts rumbling around track, and all with different engine and whole powerplant ( something that F1 can only dream about ). But with this, they have created monster, Ouroboros if you like, serpent eating its own tail. Even after a few years, hybrid prototypes are still not very reliable. Please see as a shining example latest LeMans race where as a Sword of Damocles hanged over possible win of LMP2 and that no Hybrid would see timer clocking 24 hours. Nor I need to say obvious, that top racers became so expansive that manufacturers like Audi and Porsche had to leave. Lets keep ourselves outside theories that it is, or it is not due to VW`s infamous DieselGate. Official statement is that LMP1-Hy is way too expensive, and Audi & Porsche spent in last season at about 200$ Million. I recall that early Audi program for LeMans or WEC was about 50$ Million...
So the question is what now ?
Current face of hybrids is Toyota. Without any direct competition. Full stop. I know that there is LMP1 new regulations, and privateers can run way faster and powerful cars against hybrids and there will power and weight balance restrictions, to get them closer to Toyota. Still those are not the same hybrids as Audi and Porsche, nor they are not manufacturers with so unbelieavble amount of budget. In the worse scenario what could possibly happen ? That Toyota almost without competition might loss the LeMans as none of the car would be able to finish the race. I do hope that this is only my conspiracy theory and I am bloody wrong. Hopefuly classic top prototype category will be as competitive and quick as Toyota.
Change of LMP1 regulations is dragging attention. Not only for teams but also for fans. And was is sport without fans, right? Well to use more enhanced chassi, aero and mainly way more powerful engines is beautiful thing to have. And it looks like that we would have about 5-8 teams including Toyota, so hopefuly 10-12 cars roaring against each other, with different engines and chassi maker. Note that LMP1 is opened, in difference of LMP2 where only 4 chassi makers are approved and only one unified ending from Gibson 4.2l V8 producing 600HP is allowed. I saw news and memos saying, that on the prologue next year in April, there should be atmospheric V8s, turbo V6s, bi-turbo V6s, with displacement from 2.4l to 4.5l, with engine suppliers such as Mecachrome, Gibson, AER, Judd, Nissan... Even rumour about 5.0l V10 from Judd. In terms of output it should be somewhere around 800-850HP for 850-900kgs of weight. And lets face it, who would not like to hear 800HP V8 reaching 10-11k rpm ? I have read somewhere that engineer from Judd was claiming 13,5k rpm with V10 of 850HP.
On the paper this looks even better than real. Thats why cars itself might be old-school rough, shouting, reving etc. I am always taking back to noise and sound, due to remorse of what happend to F1 cars. Recently Rosberg mentioned that they have sound as a moped...Well this is not article about F1, it is just to compare, that ACO is trying to do something, and not just step in one place. Whether change is coming late I will keep completly up to your judge. Positive is that there even is change and dialogue.
Afterall it looks to be interesting season, and one cannot forget that there is awesome latest LMP2s and GT category, which are pretty nice, very fast and fights between them were sometimes spectacular. Just remember GTE-PRO finish in last LeMans race. And with BMW is joining GTE-PRO, Aston Martin preparing new weapon for next season, these are signs that GTE racing is heading right direction. Also with rumours about McLaren and Lamborghini.
The biggest question mark is still there, shining all around. Super-season is preliminary as said by ACO and FIA. To set rules, regulations and give time to all teams and manufacturers to discuss, approve and adjust to. But there is nothing given yet. Shall since 2020 be the quickest cars LMP1-Hy once more ? I don`t think so. History has proven that current set is not sustainable.
LMP1 with private teams and all the differences. Might be, and might be very very interesting, if...If budgets will be kept in reasonable terms to attract new teams, or to persuade current teams to run with more than one car.
But then again, the end result would be that big car companies, legenardy names, would be only in GT racing. That is nothing what we do not remembers, just that to give GT a possibility to reach to highest places. Yes I am heading to re-birth and ressurect LM-GTP or LM-GT1 call it as you wish. There were some rumours from behind the curtains, that ACO is in discussion with car manufacturers, whether they would be interested in such a race cars. Most of the answers are that they are not interested in Prototype racing, because these are not relevant in design way to what brands are producing as road cars. In first place for car makers, this is marketing. And if they are not able to easy relate prototype to road car , and those cannot be easily recognized as this or that brand it is for no good for them. Its simple math, explained by CEO of Aston Martin and a few others. But in case of new GTP class, there is indeed some interest.
Main guys in charge of WEC are thinking about possibilites for GTP to be opened for manufacturers as well as private teams with support from works - such as Ferrari in GTE-PRO. In theory, budget could be lower, as the rule might be that they have to use engine or powerplant from road going homologation version of racing car. Similar to 90s. But instead of 90s, when homologation specials were build specially to allow racing car to compete, nowadays there are already super and hyper cars in place, from which brutal GTP cars can be built.
And now, close your eyes, and start to dream. Dream of a grid consists of Aston Martin Valkyrie, Mercedes-AMG Project ONE, Pagani Huayra, Lamborghini Aventador, Ferrari LaFerrari or 812, Porsche 918, McLaren 720S, Nissan GT-R, Koenigsegg Agera.... and these might provoke others to quicken their anyway ongoing thoughts about building powerful supercar and from that racing homologation.