by: Mike Ginsca,
The World Endurance Championship (WEC) consists of multiple racing car classes that all race on the same track during the same time over hours on end. The world famous 24 Hours of Le Mans is part of this racing series and in recent times, the top tier LMP1 class has come under intense scrutiny. The team budgets were becoming astronomical which made it difficult for smaller teams to compete in the class. In the late 90’s & early 00’s, the class consisted of manufacturers like BMW, Audi, Cadillac, Nissan, Bentley, & Toyota to name a few. But over the past few years it only consisted of Toyota and Porsche, and the latter pulled out in 2017.
Now with new rules that will be implemented in the 2020/2021 season, the WEC hopes to attract the manufacturers back to the top tier LMP1 class which will now be dubbed the Le Mans Hypercar (LMH) class. The new class will implement budget caps for teams choosing to compete as well as specific car rules to allow for closer on-track battles.
The class will allow for both hybrid and non-hybrid vehicles. The hybrid vehicles must consist of a front axle electric motor which can develop no more than 268 hp and an internal combustion engine powering the rear axle with up to 680 hp. Furthermore, the cars in the LMH class must be based off road-going production vehicles. A minimum of 25 road cars must be produced by the second year of competition and an additional 75 for the following years.
The new rules have already drawn interest and commitment from some automakers such as Toyota, Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus, Aston Martin, and Peugeot. Other notable interested manufacturers include Koenigsegg and McLaren F1 designer Gordon Murray but no word on commitment from them at the time of writing this article.
The 2021 racing calendar is looking to be a very entertaining one as Formula 1 is implementing new car rule changes and now the WEC is following suit.
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