WEC makes U-turn on tyre change and refuel rule for 2019/20 season

World Endurance Championship teams will not be allowed to change tyres at the same time as refuelling after a rules U-turn for the 2019/20 season

WEC makes U-turn on tyre change and refuel rule for 2019/20 season

The regulation preventing work on the cars taking place while fuel is going in, which dates back to the 1994 Le Mans 24 Hours, was done away with for this season in an attempt to make pitstops faster and more dramatic.

But the rule change will be reversed for the 2019/20 season in order for pitstops to play a more strategic role in the races.

The move was agreed by the FIA Endurance Commission earlier this month and is due to be signed off by the governing body's World Motor Sport Council at the beginning of December.

The WEC has yet to talk openly about the move ahead of its sign-off, but series officials have conceded that what is now being billed as an experiment for 2018/19 stifled strategy.

This was because a set of tyres could be changed in the time in took for a car to be refuelled, which is strictly controlled by the regulations.

The teams appear to support the move, because it means that the crew on each car will be able to make a difference by changing tyres faster than their rivals.

Ford Ganassi Team UK team principal George Howard-Chappell told Autosport: "This will let the teams compete again in the pits; the mechanics doing the pitstops will be in the competition.

"It means that their efforts could allow us to jump the car in front, which has to be good.

"Now it's just about how long it takes for the fuel to go in, because everyone can change all four wheels in that time."

The WMSC meeting in December should also have the 2020/21 hypercar concept prototype rules rubber-stamped, despite the fact the rules were not signed off at the Endurance Commission in November.

Toyota Motorsport GmbH technical director Pascal Vasselon explained that there were a "few details" to be confirmed before the rules could be put to the world council.

The rules need to be in place by January 1, 2019 in order for them to come into effect for the start of second edition WEC in September 2020.

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Author Gary Watkins
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