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New WEC BoP created "to let the manufacturers race"

The new system of Balance of Performance introduced for the Hypercar class in this year’s World Endurance Championship’ has been devised to “let the manufacturers race”. 

#20 BMW M Team Wrt BMW M Hybrid V8: Sheldon Van Der Linde, Robin Frijns, Rene Rast

Photo by: Erik Junius

Automobile Club de l’Ouest competition director Thierry Bouvet made the claim when the Le Mans 24 Hours organiser and FIA, which jointly administer the WEC, went public on the revised BoP procedures ahead of this weekend’s Qatar 1812Km 2024 season-opener. 

“What the BoP will not do is compensate for the lack of optimisation in racing — tyre choice, driver form, strategy decisions,” said Bouvet.

“We want to leave that up to the teams; we want to let them race.”

A window into which the Le Mans Hypercars and LMDhs competing in the top class of the WEC must sit will be defined and the BoP adjusted up or down for those cars that lie outside it. 

The calculations will be based on data from the fastest car of each manufacturer after analysis of “an awful lot of lap”.

This will then be correlated with simulation and then an average derived around which the window will be set. 

#99 Proton Competition Porsche 963: Harry Tincknell, Neel Jani, Julien Andlauer

#99 Proton Competition Porsche 963: Harry Tincknell, Neel Jani, Julien Andlauer

Photo by: Shameem Fahath

Bouvet refused, however, to say how big the window will be. 

“You will not get an answer,” he said, before adding, “it is not going to be two seconds”.

But he hinted that it will not be smaller than the differences seen between a manufacturer’s cars. 

“We have looked at last year and there are differences between two identical cars from the same manufacturer and it would not be reasonable to think that we can do better than that,” he said. 

“We have to unfocus a little bit on the BoP - the idea is to interfere as little as possible.”

Bouvet explained that changes for cars that lie outside the window at the bottom end will be made less rapidly than those that are outside at the top end. 

“When we have a car that is faster we will have a tendency to react fast, but if a car is slower we will act in slow manner,” he said. 

Bouvet explained that Le Mans will have its own BoP because of the unique characteristics of the 8.47-mile Circuit de la Sarthe. 

A BoP table will be published for every race, but Bouvet stressed that this doesn’t mean that there will be changes for each event. 

Bouvet explained that the figures will reflect the characteristics of each track visited by the WEC, in the same way that the post-Le Mans BoP last year was published with three different tables for Monza, Fuji and Bahrain.  

The new system will also take into account the fuel loads of the cars and the set-ups they are running on the one adjustable aerodynamic device allowed under the LMH and LMDh rulesets. 

#50 Ferrari AF Corse Ferrari 499P: Antonio Fuoco, Miguel Molina, Nicklas Nielsen

#50 Ferrari AF Corse Ferrari 499P: Antonio Fuoco, Miguel Molina, Nicklas Nielsen

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

A further change in the works is the introduction of what has been dubbed “power gain”, which will adjust the the power below and above 210km/h (130mph) to try to match acceleration and straightline speeds of the cars.

A plus or minus figure would be applied to the maximum power, measured in kilowatts, allowed to each car above that speed. 

“It is giving us another tool to adjust the cars and as a consequence you can have less difference in weight,” said Bouvet. 

“If you add power because a car is more draggy, you would have to add more weight.”

The power gain system was trialled by some but not all manufacturers during the Monday night session of the pre-event Prologue test in Qatar earlier this week. 

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The new BoP procedures replaces a system introduced for last season under which a timeline for changes was laid down for the seven races. 

Only one complete overhaul of all the cars was scheduled for after Le Mans, with two further changes of the balance between LMH and LMDh machinery — the so-called platform BoP — allowed either side of that. 

The ACO and the FIA unilaterally decided to make changes head of the Le Mans as the result of what it said were greater than expected performance differentials between the LMH cars. 

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