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WEC Portimao

WEC Hypercar manufacturers to be given priority for LMGT3 entries

Manufacturers competing in the Hypercar class are set to be given priority when the entry for the new LMGT3 class is selected for next year.

Start action, #8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010 - Hybrid: Sébastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley, Ryo Hirakawa, #7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010 - Hybrid: Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez leads

The WEC organisation has outlined its strategy for putting together the grid for LMGT3, which replaces the GTE Am class in 2024, while stressing that further discussions within the FIA Endurance Commission are required before any sign-off by the World Motor Sport Council.

Under the plan, each manufacturer would be limited to a maximum of two entries and would be responsible for selecting the team or teams that represent it in the WEC.

The likely move means that current Hypercar competitors Ferrari and Porsche along with Lamborghini and BMW, which will enter the WEC’s top class next year, are on the list of manufacturers that will be guaranteed entries in LMGT3.

Chevrolet would also be given priority because General Motors sister marque competes in Hypercar with its Cadillac LMDh prototype, while Toyota is also on the list because it is represented in GT3 by sister brand Lexus and has its own car, dubbed the GR GT3 Concept, under development for 2025.

WEC boss Frederic Lequien said: “One of the ideas which is on the table is to have two GT3s per manufacturer and to give priority to the manufacturers that are involved in Hypercar.

“But we like diversity also: the perfect situation would be to have enough places to also welcome some brands which are not in Hypercar.

“We need to find a fair regulation, and it seems this is something fair.

“The idea is that the OEMs will choose the teams.”

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#21 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE EVO: Diego Alessi, Simon Mann, Ulysse de Pauw

Photo by: Paul Foster

Lequien added that any manufacturer already represented in the GT ranks but not involved in Hypercar would also be looked upon favourably, which effectively means Aston Martin.

He said that “loyalty to the championship is something we must take into consideration”.

Lequien stressed that the plan is still with the Endurance Commission and has yet to go before the WMSC.

He admitted that space on the WEC grid for LMGT3 cars would be limited as the Hypercar field continues to grow even with the likely disappearance of LMP2 from the championship.

A maximum grid of between 36 and 38 cars is possible for the WEC, while there should be at least 20 cars entered in Hypercar in 2024.

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It is unclear if the WEC’s plans would leave room for Mercedes and Audi, two of the leading GT3 marques, as well as McLaren.

It was announced last December that P2 prototype class is likely to disappear from the championship, while remaining the top category in the sister European and Asian Le Mans Series run by WEC promoter the Automobile Club de l'Ouest.

The message from the WEC organisation to the P2 teams competing in the series is that there is unlikely to be a class for them next year, though there has been no final confirmation so far.

Lequien suggested that the future of LMP2 in the WEC could be announced at the Le Mans 24 Hours in June.

The ACO has already stated that it will reserve a minimum of 15 spots for LMP2 entrants on the grid of the 24 Hours.

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