The FIA World Endurance Championship has announced a series of regulatory changes for its 2021 season, aimed at simplification of the sporting regulations and to provide additional cost controls.
Starting next season, the series will return to a more traditional qualifying format, with the fastest time of just one driver per car forming the grid instead of the two-driver aggregated time used in recent years.
There will be two distinct 10‐minute sessions for one driver of each car: one for the new Hypercar and LMP2 categories and the other for LMGTEs (Bronze driver to qualify will be mandatory in LMGTE Am). The fastest time of the car will determine its position on the grid but if a car sets no lap time during qualifying, it will start from the back of the complete grid.
After discussions with key stakeholders, it has been agreed there will be no change to LMP2 driver line-ups with at least one Silver or Bronze driver required in each team. There will instead be a new and specific classification in the LMP2 category for teams who have Bronze drivers. The best LMP2 Pro/Am crew (including a Bronze driver) will also be included on the LMP2 podium:
1. Classification of the FIA Endurance Trophy for LMP2 Pro/Am teams
2. Classification of the FIA Endurance Trophy for LMP2 Pro/Am drivers
As the 2021 season will be the first in a five-year homologation cycle of the Hypercar category, there will be more pre- and in-season testing. LMP2 and LMGTE Am classes will also benefit from additional testing mileage while LMGTE Pro will have the same limitations as in 2020. Declaration of testing will still be mandatory.
As part of ongoing efforts to implement cost-saving measures, Hypercar competitors in Hypercar will be restricted to 40 operational staff or 43 for cars with hybrid systems (except for the 24 Hours of Le Mans). These join previously introduced cost-saving, including an exclusive use of sea freight for events taking place overseas, as well as a reduced calendar (six races) compared to previous years.
Meanwhile, the series has also reduced the 24 Hours of Le Mans event to 10 days rather than two weeks. Scrutineering and pre-race checks will take place on the Friday and Saturday the week before the race and will be valid both for the Test Day on the Sunday before the race and for the 24 Hours itself. The practice and qualifying sessions have also been revised in response to competitor requirements.