Rev limit reduction for LMP2s could ensure performance gap to Hypercar Prototypes

Image by LAT

Rev limit reduction for LMP2s could ensure performance gap to Hypercar Prototypes

Le Mans/WEC

Rev limit reduction for LMP2s could ensure performance gap to Hypercar Prototypes

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The cars racing in the FIA WEC’s LMP2 class next season are likely be slowed via lower rev limits on the spec Gibson 4.2-liter V8 engine, RACER has learned. This will help separate them from the new forthcoming Hypercar Prototypes, which are due to be significantly slower than the current LMP1s.

A reduction in revs is the ACO and FIA’s favored option, over an increase in weight or aerodynamic changes to the cars, which since the beginning of the current regulation cycle have been able to lap Le Mans quicker than LMP1 cars from the pre-hybrid era. The decision has been submitted to the FIA World Motorsport Council, and is expected to be formally announced this weekend.

This change to the engine rev limits would also affect the European Le Mans Series next year and Asian Le Mans Series LMP2 cars as of the 2020-21 season.

Key questions remain to be answered surrounding WEC tire supply. Image by JEP/LAT

In addition to this change, it is likely, as previously reported on RACER, that the class will race with a single tire manufacturer too, to limit the performance gains caused by a tire war. It remains to be seen which tire supplier will win the tender to supply the tires in each of the world championship’s four classes.

Both Michelin and Goodyear are known to have been part of the tender process (which is ongoing) and a third supplier has shown significant interest too. It appears that the FIA and ACO would prefer two suppliers to cover the series, with the likelihood being that the suppliers would be granted the contract for two classes apiece in the WEC.

The existing suppliers appear to be front-runners, having shown years of loyalty to the FIA WEC (Goodyear having taken over from its sister brand Dunlop this season). Which brand supplies tires for each of the classes, including the new Hypercar Prototype category, will be a tough decision for the FIA and ACO to make.

Currently Michelin supplies all the LMP1 teams and all but three of the eight LMP2 cars in the FIA WEC, although Goodyear has told RACER that it believes it has made “a very compelling case,” stressing that it is very much in the running in its bid for the top class.

Michelin also supplies all the GTE Pro and Am teams currently, though the two GTE classes and LMP1, like LMP2, are not single-tire classes by regulation.

Over the course of this weekend’s second round of the season at Fuji Speedway, the FIA WEC is also expected to announce the drivers selected for the rookie test at Bahrain in December. The test returns after a year’s absence from the schedule, the series not visiting Bahrain during the 2018-19 season.

During the Bahrain weekend the 2020-21 FIA WEC calendar is also expected to be released. One of the dates is already confirmed — the European Le Mans Series doubleheader with the FIA WEC at Silverstone has been announced via the ELMS calendar, that will run on the weekend of September 4-6.

Despite the widespread negativity in the paddock surrounding this year’s Prologue at Barcelona, it is expected there will again be a pre-season test ahead of the 2020-21 season. There the new‘Hypercar Prototype class cars are expected to run in public in a WEC-sanctioned event for the first time, prior to their aero packages being homologated in the gap between the test and the opening round of the season.

 

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