The top class of Le Mans is currently for expensive LMP1 prototypes
Motorsport bosses are discussing plans to allow machines based on cars such as the Aston Martin Valkyrie and McLaren Senna in endurance racing
Motorsport bosses are set to adopt new rules for endurance racing that would allow machines with designs based on hypercars such as the Aston Martin Valkyrie and McLaren Senna to battle for overall victory at the Le Mans 24 Hours.
The top category for the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) currently runs for expensive LMP1 prototypes, but that class has struggled in recent years with both Audi and Porsche quitting. Toyota is the only manufacturer currently competing in the division.
The FIA, motorsport’s governing body, has been holding discussions for new rules for the highest category of the WEC from 2020 onwards. Those talks are now centred on two proposals: a targeted budget of a quarter of current LMP1 costs, and “freedom of design for brands based on a Hypercar concept”.
That implies the future category will feature prototype machines based, at least in part, on top-level track-focused hypercars.
Aston Martin and McLaren have been pushing for rules that would allow the likes of the Valkyrie and Senna to be allowed to compete for overall victory at Le Mans. The rules could also accommodate other forthcoming hypercar designs such as the Mercedes-AMG Project One.
Dave King, president of Aston Martin Racing, said: «Aston Martin, along with other manufacturers, is actively participating in the technical working group that is discussing the framework of regulations for the future of prototype racing. We’re taking an active interest in this, but have made no decisions on our future participation in this category.»
It is unclear at this stage exactly how far ‘freedom of design’ would extend, althoug the class is likely to be based on prototype-style machines with considerable bodywork freedom to ensure they better reflect road cars than the current LMP1 class. The engines rules are likely to accomodate electrified powertrains, although a key element will be making them cheaper to produce than the expensive systems currently used.
The FIA has said more details will be presented during the week ahead of this year’s Le Mans 24 Hours, which will be held on 16/17 June.