New rules to significantly boost GTE and LMP2 pace at Le Mans

GTE and LMP2 machinery will become significantly faster when new rules come into force for the categories in 2016 and 2017 respectively

New rules to significantly boost GTE and LMP2 pace at Le Mans

Lap times for the GTE category will decrease by approximately two seconds around the 8.47-mile Circuit de la Sarthe with the introduction of the latest regulations devised by the FIA and Le Mans organiser the Automobile Club de l'Ouest.

The new rules for LMP2 that will come into force a year later are expected to result in a reduction of lap times at Le Mans by four seconds.

New LMP2 format for 2017 announced with chassis limits, one engine

ACO sporting manager Vincent Beaumesnil explained that the rationale behind increasing the performance of the two categories was to maintain a clear separation between speeds of the different classes across the World Endurance Championship, the European Le Mans Series and the Tudor United SportsCar Championship.

"Speeds in LMP1 have been rising, while LMP2 has remained relatively static, so this will give us more room to manage GTE where the speeds are very similar to GT3 at the moment," Beaumesnil told AUTOSPORT.

The problem has been brought into focus by the introduction of GT3 cars into the ELMS in the GTC class and the arrival of pure FIA rules GT3 machinery in the USC from next year.

The performance gains from the new breed of GTE cars will result from an increase in power by approximately 20bhp and a decrease in vehicle weight of 10kg.

The new rules will also allow new freedoms in the design and build of the cars by specifying performance windows in which the cars must fit.

"If you put a standard Aston Martin and a Ferrari on track together they would have very different lap times, which is why we have to grant waivers to bring them together," Beaumensil explained.

"By specifying windows for weight, engine and aerodynamics it will allow the manufacturers to develop their cars in a more cost-efficient way and make for more equal cars at a range of tracks and conditions."

Existing GTE machinery will be allowed to race alongside the new cars for a set period that varies between the championships run by the ACO.

In the WEC, old cars will be grandfathered for one year in GTE Pro and two years in GTE Am.

The ACO and the FIA have revealed that the new breed of LMP2 cars to be powered by a one-make engine that will have 600bhp compared with 450bhp at present.

This will not lead to an increase in costs for engines that will be leased rather than purchased by the teams, it said.

The USC will be an open engine formula because P2 cars form the basis of its top class which has manufacturer involvement from Chevrolet, Ford, Mazda and Honda.

North American teams will be allowed to race the engines with which they compete in the USC at Le Mans, but the bodykits they will be able to run - incorporating manufacturer styling cues - will not be permitted at the French enduro.

LMP2 will adopt the chassis rules introduced in LMP1 in 2014, which means a narrower car by 100mm and a series of safety measures, including wheel tethers and zylon side-intrusion panels.

Cars built to the present regulations will be grandfathered for one season in the WEC and two in the ELMS.

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