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Well, that just happened...

Image shamelessly stolen from Autoblog
Image shamelessly stolen from Autoblog

Looks like the World Endurance Championship is massively restructuring in the wake of Porsche’s exit.

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Quick summary of the changes:

  • WEC is moving to a winter season format with Le Mans as the finale
  • 2018/2019 combined season includes Spa, Le Mans, Fuji, Shanghai, a race to be determined for January or February (different sources are reporting different months), Sebring, Spa, Le Mans
  • Sebring race will be a 12 hour race, starting two hours after IMSA’s 12 hour race
  • Equalization of technology will be adjusted to bring LMP1-H and LMP1-L into performance parity, and no longer referring to them as separate classes (although LMP1 hybrids will still have an efficiency advantage that should give it a pit stop advantage)
  • LMP1 hybrid 2020 regulations being rolled back, with the zero emissions requirements removed (per Dailysportscar)
  • LMP1 non-hybrid manufacturers appear to be possible
  • Toyota required to enter full WEC for 2018/2019 and beyond to race at Le Mans

Upshot, I think Toyota’s LMP1 program is over (LMP1-L manufacturer was always the thing that they were reported to oppose the most, and they already don’t want to do a full season), and although there’s comments about the hybrids having a role, who’s gonna spend the money on one to get only a weak advantage?

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And, I think with the focus on LMP1-L, that shows where the ACO’s thoughts are on DPi... but I see LMP1-L as the worst of both the LMP1 and DPi worlds - manufacturers spend on chassis and aero that they can’t easily market, and then are running a lower-tech powertrain package like DPi (OK, not that bad, but it’s not LMP1-H levels).

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