With the release of the 2020 top class regulations just days away, ACO President Pierre Fillon teased the crowd on hand at Scrutineering today, explaining that the ACO has been working closely with manufacturers with the aim of attracting a healthy number of them to sign up for the seasons to come.
And notably, he suggested McLaren when asked about potential interested manufacturers, in addition to Toyota.
“We will present the 2020 and the 2024 regulations next Friday as we want to give constructors significant visibility,” he said.
“We really want to reduce costs after Audi and Porsche brought in a lot of technology but scared off new entrants.
“We want manufacturers to return. Le Mans must remain a laboratory for new technology. So [future] cars will have hybrid technology and bodywork allowing people to recognize a brand or make… say like Toyota or McLaren!
“We have been working with several manufacturers [including potential new ones] over the past six months. Let’s see on Friday who that could possibly be.”
In addition to the obvious choices to sign up for a top class program (which may or may not be known as LMP1), there’s also the potential for some smaller or lesser-known manufacturers to join the fray.
Two of them might stem from current LMP2 programs. Jackie Chan DC Racing’s David Cheng and Signatech’s Phillippe Sinault both hinted at potential future programs today.
“There have been some movements (on the prospect of a Chinese manufacturer joining with Jackie Chan DC Racing for an LMP1 program),” Cheng said. “A few months back after the Paul Ricard test, we had a work group in China to figure out the potential new regulations and there was a lot of initial interest. How to turn interest into reality takes a lot of work. It can start looking realistic once the new regulations are out.
“A lot of efforts have been made for people like myself and my team to achieve the target of bringing in a Chinese manufacturer to Le Mans. The late mayor of Le Mans(Jean-Claude Boulard, who died last week) has helped us tremendously in that respect. I wish to pay him my regards as well.”
Signatech’s Sinault also expressed interest, hinting that an LMP1 program for the Alpine brand — which began selling its new A110 road car last year — is under discussion. Notably, Signatech build both the single-make and the GT4 iterations of the A110.
“I hope Alpine will take the final step to LMP1 one day,” he said. “It was part of several discussions we had over the summer. The priority of Alpine in 2018 was to launch its GT car and develop a car dealership network. It made sense… we could not do it then but a potential move to LMP1 in the future is still something we are thinking about.”