Ahead of the WEC in Mexico City, the FIA WEC have made an official announcement about their direction ahead triggered by the move of various WEC stalwarts to switch from Endurance to Formula E.
President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), Pierre Fillon, and CEO of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), Gérard Neveu, outlined their path to “an exciting new-look, strengthened WEC”.
While admitting that various elements were still a work in progress, they seek to set out the new operating conditions that should offer a better commercial angle to participants.
Quoting from the WEC release:
“Three fundamental parameters have been taken into account during the formulation of the new-look WEC, with the calendar, logistics, sporting and technical regulations being at the heart of the decisions:
- All decisions must stay in line with Endurance Racing and the values of the discipline. The 24 Hours of Le Mans remain the point of reference.
- The major focus remains the client (the competitor), the product (the sporting competition that is delivered) and the fans.
- As a priority, for each of these decisions, the financial and economic aspects must be taken into consideration. It is essential to allow the WEC’s teams and partners to continue in the WEC with a viable and sustainable business model.
The plans have been presented to, and received the full support of, the President of the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), Jean Todt and the FIA Endurance Commission led by its President, Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones. The calendar and new sporting regulations will be presented to the FIA World Motor Sport Council for ratification in the coming days.”
The calendar of races also changes to a pattern that spreads across parts of two calendar years, with the 2018/2019 calendar actually beginning the trend, in the process visiting Le Mans twice for the 6 hours and twice for the 24-hour championship. Since the year will end on the Le Mans 24-hours, this first year will set the tone.
The new regulations being projected will reduce budgets substantially – with a 2019/2020 LMP2 team projected to spend the same they did in 2016 – a 20% drop from current figures. The number of races also reduce to 7 by 2020, further reducing participation costs and allowing teams to explore sea transport between races instead of high cost air cargo.
Some significant regulations for LMP1 over the next two seasons are:
- From 2018/2019, and in the future, there will only be one category (and consequently one classification) in LMP1
- To make it as accessible as possible to join this category from the 2018-2019 season onwards, the level of performance of the current non-hybrid LMP1 regulations managed via equivalence of technologies will be aligned with the current LMP1 hybrid regulations.
- Each competitor entered in LMP1 will have the same potential of performance independent of the type engine power used. Very clearly there will always be a slight advantage for the hybrid engine in terms of autonomy related to lower fuel consumption.
- There will be no changes made to the current chassis regulations (only LMP1 chassis will be eligible) but to facilitate the access to LMP1, more choice and engine power options will be offered. Depending on the selected criteria, an Equivalence of Technology will be implemented between turbo compressed and normally aspirated engines (as done in the past between petrol and diesel).