The Automobile Club de L’Ouest has provided further clarity regarding the decisions from the latest World Motor Sport Council meeting on the regulations surrounding the eligibility of cars for the Le Mans Hypercar class.
On Thursday, the ACO issued a news release that features a key addition regarding the new Le Mans Hypercar rules, which state that competitors “must enter a homologated car under the name of an automotive brand.” The new phrase used is that entries will be “subject to approval by the Endurance Committee.”
This means that each entry will be looked at on a case-by-case basis should it not meet the initial criteria. ByKolles, for instance, could still be allowed to enter because, the relevant section of the regulations (still unpublished but shown to RACER by the WEC) states that “the Endurance Commission will rule in the last resort, at its entire discretion, on the admissibility of a car brand and car name to the Championship.”
The planned Glickenhaus program, meanwhile (rendering pictured above), looks set to meet criteria on potentially multiple fronts. While there is no definition available for an “automotive brand” in this case (for example, we don’t know whether production numbers are a factor), Glickenhaus is a registered road car manufacturer in its home market, and there is a potential tie-in with a mainstream engine supplier (believed to be Alfa Romeo).
The criteria to define an “automotive brand” has not been made public, but it seems highly likely to encompass arrangements with mainstream manufacturers entering into engine supply deals with Hypercar teams. The phrase used around homologation of the cars here is standard for any current LMP or GT race car and does not imply an insistence on a road-going version of the car.
In addition, an FIA WEC spokesperson has confirmed to RACER that officially the class is now called ‘Le Mans Hypercar’, not ‘Hypercar Prototype’ which was previously used to describe the category by WEC CEO Gerard Neveu.
The spokesperson also revealed that a correction will be made to the name of the FIA World Endurance manufacturers’ champion (Hypercar) title that was named by the FIA in its bulletin yesterday. A change is to be made because the title will not necessarily be awarded to a manufacturer, since customer cars are eligible to compete; it will therefore be a teams’ title. This is a notable change as the original wording initially added to the confusion surrounding the new regulations, seen as another sign that private competitors were being forced out of the WEC’s top class.
Elsewhere, the news release also details changes to LMP2. As previously reported by RACER, LMP2 will officially adopt a single tire supplier. The reduction in engine power for the Gibson-powered LMP2s now has a value: 30kW (approximately 40hp), ensuring that the Le Mans Hypercar class cars will have a performance advantage. It is not yet known which tire brand will be selected for the LMP2 class. Despite missing out on the Hypercar contract (which went the way of Michelin), Goodyear still is interested in supplying LMP2 teams and is committed to a future in endurance racing.