WEC/Le Mans: FIA approves 2020 'Hypercar' regulations
By Stephen Kilbey | RACER.com WEC correspondent
The FIA WEC 2020 ‘Hypercar’ regulations were approved by the FIA World Motor Sport Council on Wednesday during a meeting in St Petersburg, Russia.
The regulations will be utilized by the FIA World Endurance Championship [including the Le Mans 24 Hours] from 2020 until 2025.
Also agreed in Russia was the full 2019/20 FIA WEC calendar, which is unchanged, and a few tweaks to the sporting regulations, most notably the introduction of a success ballast system for GTE Am in the WEC from next season. It’s a decision that has also been taken for the European Le Mans Series’ GTE Am class; an ELMS spokesperson explaining to RACER that it has been added to the regulations after “a discussion with the teams at the end of the 2018 ELMS season”.
Success ballast in the FIA WEC will be imposed for all races aside from the Le Mans 24 Hours.
Changes to pit stop regulations have also been made. From 2019/20 it will no longer be possible to carry out tire changes at the same time as refueling. The decision to allow tire changes during refueling was originally taken ahead of the 2018/19 season as an attempt to improve “the show”, but was widely criticized by teams and fans alike.
The ‘Hypercar’ regulations (the full class name will be chosen by fans and revealed early next year) confirms much of what was already outlined previously by the FIA and ACO back in June, and more recently during the FIA WEC weekend in Fuji.
“The 2020 LMP1 class will remain a category for ultra-high-performance prototypes bidding to win a major world championship and the 24 Hours of Le Mans,” said ACO Sporting Director Vincent Beaumesnil.
“The current spirit of great marques battling it out on the track will still be there, but they will be working to much smaller budgets and facing opponents from the private sphere stealing the limelight. The regulations should encourage manufacturers to produce cars that resemble road vehicles.
“Body shape will not be dictated by aerodynamics (which will be strictly regulated), but by the marque’s distinctive design features. Manufacturers may nonetheless extrapolate a street-legal version of their racing car if they wish.
“The prototypes will, therefore, be a lot closer to the hypercars seen out of the road.”
Prototypes for 2020 will be styled to look like road-going hypercars, with hybrid-powered combustion engines, all running to a strict “performance window” (with the addition of success ballast for each round until the finale at Le Mans), which the FIA and ACO hope will keep racing in the class close for manufacturers and privateers.
“The performance windows set for the aerodynamics, engine and hybrid systems will level the playing field,” Beaumesnil said.
“The direct impact is that a team’s ingenuity, know-how and overall approach will make a greater difference than the depth of its pockets.”
A real focus has been cost-cutting to encourage multiple manufacturers and private teams alike to commit.
Testing during the season will be limited, and the amount of staff working on a car may not exceed 40 for two cars. There will be one fuel and tire supplier.
Each marque can only homologate two cars during the entire five-season cycle, and one set of bodywork for each car. No more than five EVO ‘jokers’ are allowed per manufacturer, regardless of homologations.
Each front-wheel ERS system must also be available to customers for a maximum price of three million euros.
Movable aero will be permitted too for these regulations, with two devices (one on the front, another at the rear) permitted for each car.
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