The FIA World Motor Sport Council continues scramble to save the World Endurance Championship following the collapse of the current headlining LMP1 class following the departures of Porsche and Audi. According to a FIA press release the following decisions were approved regarding the 2018-19 FIA World Endurance Championship Super Season.
In LMP1 (hybrid and non-hybrid), the world championship title will now be awarded to a team and no longer to a manufacturer which makes sense seeing there is only one manufacturer, Toyota. In addition, from now on only the highest-placed car within a team in each race will score points towards the world championship for teams’ classification which is an attempt to keep one team from running away with the points race.
In the LMP1 category, the ACO, regulator for the WEC, has set three priorities: welcome more manufacturers and attract private teams, control budgets and retain its avant-garde technological character. Manufacturers are not allowed to enter non-hybrid cars in the WEC but they can supply engines to private teams. Branding a non-hybrid car is possible under certain conditions for a partner, including a manufacturer.
The technological equivalence between normally-aspirated engines and turbos have now been made official. The current LMP1 regulations will be applied for a minimum of three seasons (including one season with the cars complying with the new regulations currently being drawn up).
In addition to new regulations for LMP1 there are new pit stop rules. From 2018 onwards, unlike past years, the teams will be able to change tires and refuel at the same time meaning the time spent in the pits will be different which will hopefully impact on race strategy.
Points will now be awared differently than in the past. For 6-hour races, points will be allocated as in 2017. For the 24 Hours of Le Mans an additional 50% of the points for 6-hour races will be allocated. For Sebring an additional 25% of the points for 6-hour races will be allocated.
“The format of the 2018-2019 Super Season and the new system of allocating points depending on the different races as well as the notion of a single car, the highest placed of two entries entered by the same team, guarantees a hotly-contested championship and close competition between the teams. The structure of this new championship looks promising.” said Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest.
Gérard Neveu, CEO of the FIA WEC added, “While we wait for the very encouraging 2020 regulations, these new regulations for 2018-19, together with the positive feedback we have had from teams about the Super Season, will guarantee an incredible level of competition in LMP1. With no fewer than five GT manufacturers in LMGTE Pro, and increased interest at this stage from gentleman drivers in LMP2 and LMGTE Am, things are looking good for fans of endurance racing in particular, and motorsport in general! We can’t wait for 2018 to arrive.”
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