The International Automobile Federation has announced the introduction of a new technical regulation in the world championship in long races (WEC). This was announced at a meeting of the World Sports Council, held in the Philippines. Cars will become cheaper and will resemble serial supercars.
While the general principles of the future technical regulation are formulated. To replace the top category prototypes LMP1 will come a new class with the working title GTP.
New cars should be four times cheaper than the current LMP1 cars. For this, it was decided to significantly reduce the complexity of hybrid powertrains. Perhaps, the same for all hybrid transmissions will be introduced, or the teams will have a choice – to develop their own unit or install a ready one.
In the new GTP class, automakers will enjoy a relative freedom of action, and they will also be able to give cars a similarity to the serial supercars of their brands. The creation of a new set of rules involves representatives of several brands: Toyota, McLaren, Aston Martin, Ferrari and Ford.
The prototypes of the LMP1 class of the latest generation surpassed the technique of Formula-1 in complexity. In addition to the traditional internal combustion engine, they carried on board one or two recuperators of kinetic energy (as an electric motor on the front or rear axle), a power storage device (lithium-ion battery, supercapacitor or flywheel), and a thermal energy recovery system (in the form of an electric turbine on exhaust).
It was the escalation of expenses for the development of hybrid technologies that led to a reduction in competition in the “royal” class. Over the past two years, the WEC Championship left the Porsche and Audi teams. Now only Toyota’s factory team is represented in the category. The cars of private teams are not equipped with hybrid power plants, thanks to which it is much cheaper, but also much slower.
Attempts to give sports prototypes similarity with the serial machines were made in the past. The most famous example is the class GT1, which operated from 1996 to 1998. Racing cars for him were created by Porsche, Mercedes-Benz and Toyota.
Coupe Porsche 911 GT1, Mercedes-Benz CLK-GTR and CLK-LM combined technical solutions of prototypes with contours in the spirit of serial cars. But the Nissan R390 and Toyota GT-One did not have anything in common with the production cars, even externally.