In face of concerns about safety given past events, the FIA, the Automobile Club de L’Ouest and the Deutscher Motor Sport Bund announced changes in the regulations of two of the most important endurance races in the world: the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the Nürburgring 24 Hours. The changes will be immediately in effect, starting in 2016.
In the case of the German side, the Nordschleife circuit is facing a certain numbers of changes in the most critical sectors, including the Flugplatz section where an accident during the first VLN race this year claimed the life of a spectator near the area of the turn. Along with the physical changes, some regulations were created or tweaked to make the powerful GT machinery available to race at the Nordschleife.
Away will go the imposed speed limits that were imposed at Flugplatz, Schwedenkreuz, Antoniusbusche and in the Döttinger Höhe, where drivers needed to respect a controlled 200 to 250 kph cap, but the engine power reduction imposed to GT cars will go from the current 5% to 10%. Aerodynamic parts of the cars will be adjusted, and development tires will be banned from both the Nürburgring 24 Hours and the VLN championship. These measures were aimed with the goal to control lap times, hence the 2014 N24 pole, without any speed limits, was 8:10.921, and with the speed limits, in 2015, was 8:17.394, so the 2016 pole time may be between these two marks.
Near there, at Le Mans, France, along with the horsepower cap imposed by the ACO into the hybrid LMP1 machines, an entry rule in the Journée Test was redone. While the 2015 edition of the test session for the 24 Hours of Le Mans brought even LMP3 cars to La Sarthe, only the nominated 58 cars that will take part in the 2016 race will be able to test, although two experimental cars can be nominated to test too.
If the regulations for cars can bring a disappointment face to some teams, the rules for the drives can bring some smiles, as up to five drivers can be selected to a car that will participate in the Jounée Test, which may be the chance for the teams to test some new faces for a possible one-off race.
With some competitions normally clashing with the Journée Test date, another rule explains that any Platinum-rated driver can skip the tests if proven that the driver in question has another major racing commitment in the date.
Further announcements for Le Mans and other ACO-organized competitions will be made on February 5th at Paris, France.
PHOTOS: Joest Racing, VLN