As expected, the FIA WEC’s forthcoming ‘Hypercar’ top-class formula was a key talking point during the Le Mans Test Day last week. And it appears that it is close to being confirmed as the option for the ACO and FIA WEC after the 2019/20 season, with plans to use DPi as a ‘Plan B’ now understood to have been shelved.
While there are still very few facts publically available, RACER strongly believes that the ‘GTE +’ concept and DPi are off the table, meaning that decisions from prospective manufacturers will be made very soon. Hypercar, it seems, still has potential, and the ACO press conference next Friday at Le Mans may provide more news on the situation.
As a result, decisions about the existing non-hybrid LMP1s have been deferred until a Hypercar solution has been finalized. And there’s still plenty to be set in stone, including what will be permitted on the powertrain and aero front.
Of the major OEMS in the running for Hypercar programs, it appears that the only prospects in with a chance of racing in the first season of the regulations are Toyota (unsurprisingly) and Aston Martin (with Red Bull).
Outside of that, any decisions made right now will be crucial for the other parties that are in the room. These potential marques are Porsche, Ferrari, McLaren and Ford. A number of them have told RACER via senior sources that they have a variety of possible programs all reliant on Hypercar regulations, and Balance of Performance being deliverable for the promised budget levels. None of those programs, however, could come together for Year 1.
The real-world costs of developing Hypercar packages, along with the expense of actually racing them, are of primary importance to all of the above. The initial figures touted are believed to be optimistic at best.
While many observers are talking about a potential delay to the introduction of the new regulations (due for the 2020/21 FIA WEC, beginning in September 2020), there is little or no sign yet that active consideration is being given to delay the introduction of the new ruleset.
Toyota is understood by RACER to have a car that is close to hitting the track for testing. However, the status of Aston Martin’s concept is unknown.
Talks were believed to have taken place over the Test Day weekend and have continued into this week with senior staff from the interested parties.
A solution appears to finally be on the horizon after years of speculation and waiting. But will it be one that attracts manufacturers and pulls the WEC’s top class back from the brink?