Hydrogen Power From 2024.
New E-Sport Championship
IMSA Out Of The Loop ?
The ACO & FIA’s obsession with hybrid energy and the desperate attempt to attract a new and younger audience were the features of the annual ACO media conference at Le Mans.
Among the news from the event the ACO conference announced a brand new E-Sports Championship both Online & On Location at circuits during WEC events.
There will be E-Sport events held in Asia, North America, Europe but once again Australia misses out.
The website for the new competition is www.lemansesports.com a further press conference with more details will be held at Silverstone in August.
The ACO also paid tribute to the Spirit of Le Mans winner, Sir Lindsay Owen-Jones President of the FIA’s Endurance Commission.
The former CEO of L’Oreal is also a member of the Board of Directors at Ferrari SpA, BNP Paribas and Sanofi, and also a member of the supervisory board of Air Liquide.
No doubt he is a great friend of the event but I have no doubt their are hundreds of volunteers, drivers and media who deserved the honour far more. The event also honoured Grand Marshall of this years event, six time winner Jacky Ickx.
But the big news was the announcement of the new rules.
The Prototype Is Dead, Long Live The Hypercar!
The era of the prototype is dead. The new Hypercar concept focus on the appearance, style and lines of the cars in the new premier league. Cars that turns heads, like hypercars, supercars, prestigious GTs and concept cars do on the street or at any motor show.
According to the FIA/WEC media release these new prototypes must be “technologically powerful and compelling in design and will therefore remain hybrid, with a KERS system in front and 4WD to ensure energy efficiency.”
“This technology will become more and more popular as the KERS system developed by some constructors will have to be used on production cars at a pre-defined price.”
The new regulations have set a 3:20.00 target lap at Le Mans so the cars will be slower than the current LMP1 Cars.
The other priority is cost. The new rules aim to allow manufacturers and teams to build and run cars a quarter of current budgets. Costly developments will be kept in check by a new homologation procedure and technical rules that will seek to reduce budgets.
However, there will be no restrictions on engine selection but fuel consumption rules will ensure fair competition between different systems. ( The return of the rotary?)
The new regulations will take effect for 2020-2024.
The conference also announced a plan to encourage Hydrogen fuelled cars to compete in their own class from 2024 but like most of the conference the announcement was light on detail.
Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest said “Crafting these regulations was particularly satisfying as very quickly it sparked interest and gained the support of competitors or potential competitors. A new era will dawn in 2020 for endurance racing. On paper it has enormous potential. Le Mans 2018, 2019 and 2020 will each be outstanding editions, but now I can’t wait for the start at the 2021 24 Hours of Le Mans.”
Richard Mille, President of the FIA Endurance Commission said that “What has been announced today is the first step in a new direction for the premier class of the FIA World Endurance Championship and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The new regulations are a framework that will be attractive to more manufacturers and teams, while at the same time retaining the excitement of endurance racing for existing fans to enjoy and to attract a new generation of spectator to the sport. The proposals announced today include cost limiting measures, making hybrid power more affordable and building a future for endurance with renewable energy. From 2020 the front of the grid will look very different and it is an exciting prospect that we are all looking forward to seeing.”
Ultimately the success or failure of these new regulations will depend on the support of manufacturers and no mention was made at all about any specific interest from any single manufacturer. There was also no mention of the future of other categories such as LMP2 or GTE.
Another notable omission from this years media conference was any mention at all of IMSA, perhaps signalling that the planned cooperation and relationship between the FIAWEC and their North American counterparts may have come to an end.
With FIAWEC Media Release.