This weekend, motorsports fans from all over the world will descend up on Le Mans in France. For it’s time for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
2019 will be the last year for the current regulations. Next year, the ACO and FIA will introduce new rules and vehicle categories. It’s one of the biggest regulation changes as current crop of LMP1 cars will be replaced by a new Hypercar class. Here is a brief overview of the new regulations that will come into effect from September 2020.
The revised rules are based on three main principles --
- Guaranteed competition between works teams and privateers
- Controlled budget
- Spectacular sportscars
From 2020, manufacturers will have the option of designing and building a prototype in the shape of hypercar from the ground up or they can base their race car on an existing production car. If they choose the latter, then the rules require them to build at least 20 road cars of the said model over a period of 2 years.
Irrespective of what direction they choose, all cars in the Hypercar Class will have to adhere to the following technical regulations --
- The cars can’t be lighter than 1100 kg
- The average power output has been set at 750 hp.
- The minimum average lap time around the Circuit de La Sarthe has to be 3 min 30 seconds in race trim.
- Single tyre supplier. All cars will run the same tyres.
Hybrid systems will not be mandatory. However, hybrid output will limited to 270 hp. In prototypes, the hybrid electric motor will drive the front axle, while the road-based machines will use the same layout as the production cars. Deployment threshold for the hybrid systems will ensure that the non-hybrid machines can compete with the all-wheel drive cars.
Prototypes can have bespoke combustion engines, while the road-based will have to use engines based on the original car or one made by the same manufacturer. That said, the power curve will be regulated and all cars will use the same fuel.
Manufacturers will be free to design and develop the aerodynamics to suit their machines.
Since, the Hypercar Class will include two types of vehicles, a Balance of Performance (BoP) system will be introduced to maintain a level playing field.
Which brands will take part in 2020 Le Mans 24 Hours?
Thanks to the change in regulations, we expect to see new manufacturers coming to the sport. Aston Martin has already announced that they will race the Valkyrie at Le Mans. Rumors suggest that Ferrari, McLaren and Bentley are also interested in fighting for the top-spot at one of the greatest motor races in the world.