The Fuji round of the 2019/20 FIA World Endurance Championship on 6 October will bring the first moves under the championship’s new Success Handicap system, designed to increase competition in the LMP1 class, in place.
The system acts in a similar way to a Balance of Performance process but utilizes the overall race finishing order, rather than car performance, as the determining factor behind the handicaps dealt out.
Based on the overall finishing order at Silverstone, three of the five planned Fuji LMP1 starters have attracted significant handicaps.
The Silverstone race-winning No.7 Toyota Gazoo Racing TS050 Hybrid receives changes designed to make it 1.4 seconds per lap slower for the team’s home race.
This is to be achieved not through a weight increase, but rather through reductions in the allowed hybrid energy per lap, and the allowed fuel flow rate on track, plus a fuel fill restriction at the pit stops.
The No.8 Toyota, which finished second at Silverstone, faces measures designed to achieve a a 1.0s per lap handicap using similar methods to the sister Toyota, albeit at lower values.
Team LNT’s No.5 Ginetta G60-LT-P1 AER receives the third most significant change despite finishing fourth in the UK race. This because the podium-finishing No.3 Rebellion is not a points-scoring car, and is currently unlikely to be seen again before Spa next May.
The No.5 will be made 0.66 seconds per lap slower, with the major change to the Ginetta being a 34 kilo weight increase, up from Silverstone’s 833 kg to 867 kg.
The remaining pair of LMP1s, Rebellion Racing’s No.1 R13 Gibson and the No.6 Ginetta, will have no handicaps applied.
In other LMP1 news for Fuji, Italian racer Luca Ghiotto, currently placed third in the FIA F2 Championship with UNI-Virtuosi Racing, is to join the Team LNT Ginetta team in Japan.
The 24-year-old will drive the No.5 Ginetta alongside ex-SMP Racing LMP1 driver Egor Orudzhev and current DragonSpeed IndyCar driver Ben Hanley.
Ginetta factory driver Charlie Robertson, meanwhile, moves over from the No.5 to the sister No.6 car, where he will join his fellow Ginetta factory colleague Mike Simpson and 2003 Le Mans winner and ex-Dyson Racing and Bentley driver Guy Smith.
Robertson fills the seat that is set to be occupied for the remainder of the season by Chris Dyson, who missed Silverstone due to injury and was always set to miss Fuji due to a clash with the run in to the end of the Trans-Am championship, where he is in the title hunt in his No.20 Plaid Ford Mustang.