Le Mans 24 Hours to reserve 15 slots for LMP2 cars in 2024

A minimum of 15 grid spots at the Le Mans 24 Hours will be reserved for LMP2 cars if the class is dropped from the World Endurance Championship in 2024.

Le Mans 24 Hours to reserve 15 slots for LMP2 cars in 2024

Draft plans to turn the WEC into a two-class championship for the Hypercar and new LMGT3 divisions were rubber stamped at Wednesday’s FIA World Motor Sport Council in Bologna.

A statement from WEC promoter and Le Mans organiser the Automobile Club de l’Ouest explained that the interest in the Hypercar and LMGT3 classes will “result in some rational adjustments to the grid”.

“To accommodate these two classes comfortably, the ACO and the FIA may possibly restrict admission to the WEC to Hypercar and LMGT3 challengers from 2024,” it continued.

“Irrespective of this decision, LMP2 remains crucial to endurance and will continue to form the top class in the European and Asian Le Mans Series.

“From 2024, therefore, the ACO will keep at least 15 slots open to LMP2 cars on the Le Mans grid.”

The expansion of the Hypercar grid over the next two seasons with the arrival of LMDh prototypes from Porsche and Cadillac in 2023 and then BMW, Lamborghini and Alpine in 2024 will leave little room for LMP2.

The increased car count could take the Hypercar field to in excess of 20 cars in 2024, while the switch of the pro-am GT class to GT3-based rules will open up the WEC to more manufacturers.

 

Photo by: Marc Fleury

It has also been announced that LMP2 machinery will be slowed for the third season in a row in the WEC.

Power of the one-make Gibson V8 will be reduced by 10kW or 13bhp and the rev-limit reduced by 500rpm.

In the ELMS power will be raised by 15kW or 20bhp on 2022 levels, although the reduced power figures will apply when cars from the European series join the WEC at Le Mans.

A further delay to the introduction of the next-generation of LMP2 machinery has also been confirmed by the FIA.

It has been set back to 2026, which represents the fourth delay for a category introduced in 2017 with a four-year lifecycle.

Car makers competing in the Hypercar class will be able to enter a maximum of two cars in the manufacturers’ championship.

Any additional cars will be required to be fielded in the new Hypercar Teams’ World Cup classification, which will also included privateer entries.

The GTE Am class will be replaced by a LMGT3 category.

The GTE Am class will be replaced by a LMGT3 category.

Photo by: Marc Fleury

The ACO and the FIA have firmed up plans for the new GT category that will take over from GTE Am in ’24.

The name has been announced as LMGT3 and idea for the “premium” body kits announced at Le Mans in June has been modified: such kits will now be permitted rather than mandatory.

This follows objections from the GT3 manufacturers, who questioned the need to make changes to the rules of a successful global category.

The WEC qualifying format will be revised for next year with the disappearance of GTE Pro.

Rather than two 10-minute sessions for prototypes and GT cars at the regular six and eight-hour races, each of the three remaining classes will have its own 15-minute qualifying session.

This will “make qualifying easier to follow, guarantee the competitors sufficient driving time and broaden the window of optimal conditions for setting times”, according to the WMSC bulletin.

Tyre warmer have been outlawed in the WEC and the ELMS from next year and the Asian LMS from 2024.

The move is designed to reduce the environmental impact of the teams participating in those championship in line with the corporate social responsibility commitments of the FIA and the ACO.

The number of dry-weather tyre specifications allowed in Hypercar will be reduced to one for the six and eight-hour races in WEC and two for Le Mans from 2024.

That is a reduction from the three specs allowed at Le Mans and two in the other races currently permitted.

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