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GTE Pro stint length restriction in 2018 Le Mans slammed by drivers

Double Le Mans 24 Hours winner Earl Bamber has hit out at what he feels is a "bloody horrible" restriction on stint lengths in this year's GTE Pro race

Cars in both the GTE Pro and Am classes have been capped at 14-lap stints for this year's race, with the measure introduced by the FIA's endurance committee as part of a Balance of Performance directive.

Pro cars are also permitted to do no more than 11 laps in their first stint.

Bamber has joined Porsche's four-car GTE Pro attack this year after taking outright victory at Le Mans last year as part of the manufacturer's now-defunct LMP1 operation, and suggested the new fuel stint rule has removed a critical element of strategy.

"It's bloody horrible," said Bamber. "This is not really competition. It seems like they just want all 17 cars to cross the finish line at the same time.

"I think we need a BoP for manufacturers with different types of car but at the same time we also need some racing stuff, some fuel-saving possibilities."

GTE cars were often limited to 14-lap stints in last year's race even when the rule was not in place.

Scott Dixon, who is part of Ford's GTE Pro squad, agreed with Bamber's assessment.

"It's a race, you shouldn't be tied or backed into one corner," the Ganassi IndyCar driver told Autosport. "That's artificial racing.

"You should be able to mix up strategy, where one stint you can do 13 laps or maybe 15 laps on [another]. I don't think it's something that should be governed."

Dixon's Ford stablemate Richard Westbrook added: "I think it's a shame they want everyone to do 14 laps.

"It kills a bit of the strategy and that's what sportscar racing is about. No-one needs to save fuel, they can just go for it."

But Corvette driver Oliver Gavin was more accepting of the new rule, and said it would make the GTE Pro race easier for spectators to follow.

"You can look at it both ways," he told Autosport. "For the fans it's more straightforward.

"It's one thing that certain manufacturers can't utilise in their strategy. But it doesn't eliminate all strategy, whether it's through your tyre strategy, or pitstops, or brake changes.

"The way you go about running your race, it's not going to be affected hugely by that limit. It does level out the playing field a little bit."

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