Time to tell the rules

Although all attentions are on 24 Hours of Le Mans as a race, meetings and statements about the regulations of the coming editions, as well for the FIA World Endurance Championship, are being held to give a definition of which direction the classes will take, and in the moment, the focus are the prototypes.

The Automobile Club de l’Ouest confirmed the ruleset for the non-hybrid LMP1 teams to debut in 2017, which in theory will close the gap between privateer teams and manufacturers. Between the numerous changes, some key points are the removal of the engine capacity limit and number of engines for a single FIA WEC season, along with a minimum weight reduction to 830 kilograms.

The change that caught more attention was a possible introduction of a DRS set for the LMP1-L cars, although it isn’t decided if it will follow the Formula 1 standards or something else as the safety aspect will be analyzed cautiously by the ACO and FIA. With so many points to be considered, the start of this particular rule may not be in 2017 as the system is intended to be made as simple and efficient as possible.

Then we have the news from the LMP2 front, as the ACO steps back with the rule of allowing IMSA engines in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, confirming that the 2017 Le Mans race will be a mix of new cars with the global Gibson Technology engine and the grandfathered LMP2 cars. After that, from 2018 onwards, only the LMP2s under the new regulation will be allowed.

Discussions are still up between ACO and IMSA about how would the new DPi formula could make it to La Sarthe, with the route now going to allow the American prototypes as privateer LMP1 entries, given their cars are in accordance to the rules, although the new LMP1-L regs would welcome more freedom in the machines, which can be the route to go for the DPi party.

Initially the IMSA-based concept was supported by ACO, but divergences over certain points made the two entities distance from each other as a point of agreement wasn’t reached. The same can happen with Le Mans, meaning that interested teams would have to buy or rent a free car to race in France.