Start, Le Mans, 2018

New 2020 WEC LMP1 hypercar regulations revealed including success ballast

World Endurance Championship

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The World Endurance Championship’s new hypercar-based rules which its top LMP1 class will use from 2020 have been revealed, including the introduction of success ballast.

The new regulations, agreed by the FIA and ACO, are intended to drastically reduce costs in the class. Toyota has been left as the only manufacturer in LMP1 following the withdrawals of Nissan, Audi and Porsche in recent seasons.

In a bid to avoid “extreme development budgets”, the new 2020 cars will be required to carry success ballast linked to how many championship points they have scored. The weight will be added in increments of half a kilo per point up to a maximum of 50kg. The minimum weight limit of the cars will be 1,040kg.

The technical specification of the cars will be greatly simplified from the current models, which will remain in use until the end of the 2019-20 season. Cars will also be homologated over a five-year period, removing the need to introduce a new model every year, though manufacturers will have the opportunity to do so once in that period if they choose.

Cars will be restricted to using a single hybrid system on the front axle only, producing no more than 200kW (268bhp). The internal combustion engine will contribute up to 520kW (697 bhp) on top of that. Several restrictions will be enforced to reduce expensive areas of engine development, including minimum weights.

The cars’ aerodynamics will also be tightly restricted. However the hypercar-based models are expected to be around seven seconds per lap slower than the current machines at Le Mans (a 3.6% lap time increase).

The FIA and ACO believe the new regulations will cut the cost of running a two-car team to around €20 million per season, based on a five-year commitment. Teams which do not build their own hybrid systems will have the option of purchasing them from manufacturers at a cost of €3 million per season for two cars.

ACO sport director Vincent Beaumesnil said the new class will “remain a category for ultra-high-performance prototypes bidding to win a major world championship and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.”

He denied the goal of the regulations was to equalise the performance between all the competitors. “The aim is not to balance the performance of the cars in relation to each other, but to cdurb the ‘development at any cost’ strategy that saw budgets rocket with the previous generation of cars.”

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 25 comments on “New 2020 WEC LMP1 hypercar regulations revealed including success ballast”

    1. Same for F1 please!

      1. Yes please! We seriously need this!!!

        1. Never happen – Ferrari and Merc will threaten to leave.
          F1 will remain the same as always – 2 or 3 teams fighting for the championship and if lucky, it will be close:)

          1. Much as I would miss them nobody should be successful with blackmail…!

            1. They are winning through being technically superior, why should they be hamstrung because some teams just can’t get it right. money is far from being the only factor, success in itself brings the best engineers and drivers to top teams.

            2. Antonius Rock – what does this have to do with blackmail…? Or anything, come to that…?

      2. Dobb, I’m not so sure that you would like the regulations if you read them in full depth, as it contains some aspects that fans in F1 have railed against. There are a lot of aspects that are either restricted or fixed altogether, ranging from fixed fuel flow rate with engine rpm, fixed weight distributions, fixed minimum frontal areas, drag coefficients and downforce coefficients.

        What really becomes clear when you read the regulations is that they might have well prefaced it with “no privateers”, as the rules very much seem to have been written with only manufacturers in mind – perhaps not surprising given it has been a long held goal of the ACO to turn the LMP1 class into a “manufacturers only” class.

      3. The day success ballast comes to F1, I stop watching.

        I am morally opposed to punishing success.

        You’re no longer running a championship, or a competition– It’s just a random handout of trophies: “Oh, you haven’t won yet? Here, have a trophy!”

        There’s no satisfaction in beating someone who had to be knee-capped for you to have a chance against them.

        1. Montréalais (@)
          7th December 2018, 19:27

          +1 here too

    2. points ballast is like a drs zone for standings

    3. TeselOfSkylimits
      5th December 2018, 23:26

      Haven’t those people learned anything so far? Restricting development without making a spec series is never a way to cost savings. It can actually lead to increased costs.

      Teams will always attempt to make cars faster. If you limit the fields where they can develop, they will redirect resources to the fields where they still can. And when it comes to it, it’s much more expensive to get little bit more from already overtuned bits then one where experimentation is more available.

    4. Absolutely totally hate ‘success ballast’.
      Who in their right mind can take a sport seriously if successful sporters/teams are penalised and artificially hindered?
      Imagine Usain Bolt being required to take an extra kg in his ‘tights’ for every race he wins, or FCB to shed one player for every match they win, or Trump to grow his nose for every lie he tells.

      I hope F1 will never go there.

      It was tough enough to accept the development freebies that were used in previous PU format, or the extra tokens Honda received. But please don’t penalise the successful teams.

      1. Duncan Snowden
        6th December 2018, 1:09

        I take it you aren’t a fan of the gee-gees, then?

        Or speedway?

        Golf?

        1. Correct! As I stated above I don’t take those pastimes seriously.

          There is no success ballast/handicap system in professional golf :P

      2. I get the feeling Bolt already carries a few extra kg in his tights than the average man.

        (as if you weren’t expecting that reply).

      3. Couldn’t agree more.
        Hardly a set of rules that will bring the big players back.

    5. Good intentions but poor execution. So the grand finale at Le Mans is going to be feature success ballast at its peak. Are teams going to sacrifice results earlier in the year to maximise their chances at Le Mans? What about part time entrants?

      Of course this is yet another problem caused by the decision to end the season with Le Mans (don’t even get me started on that).

      1. Actually, as reported elsewhere, all success ballast is to be removed for Le Mans.

        Which makes this an even more bizarre halfway house solution. You can cut costs, as long as you’re willing to look terrible at the most visible, most prestigious race on the calendar—the one that means more than all the other races combined.

        Sounds like a great way to increase the return on your race team investment, doesn’t it?

    6. This will be interesting to see but I hope it’s a direction F1 never takes. There’s plenty of spec series, these top level series should not only be a race between drivers but also the best teams and engineers in the world with minimal restrictions.

    7. Absolutely loathe success ballast, One of the reasons I fell out of touring cars (That and the shift towards 2-3 shorter races).

      As to the other changes, Given how things are I get why there doing it but seeing them get so much slower with more restrictions is rather disappointing as the performance, The more open regulations & high level of technology was one of the biggest selling points for the WEC & what drew many to it outside of Le Mans.

      1. @stefmeister, they have been trying to slow the cars down at Le Mans for years now because, at current lap times, they are now getting to the point where they are outstripping the safety measures that the ACO can put in place.

        Don’t forget that, within the last few years, we have seen drivers being quite seriously injured in LMP1 cars – Davidson and Nakajima both had fractured vertebrae, for example, whilst Duval had to sit out the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans because of his concussion injuries (and many noted that he was lucky to get away with just that – it could have been a far nastier accident given the way he hit the concrete barriers).

        It’s also not just the risks to the drivers, but also to the marshals and other trackside staff too – there have been several accidents, where it was basically only sheer luck that nobody was killed, which have come about because the differential in speed has now become very extreme in some part of the track.

        Also, a 3m22s lap time is still extremely fast around the Circuit de la Sarthe – it equates to an average lap speed in excess of 240kph, or about 150mph, so it’s not exactly sluggish.

    8. The faster they can go, the slower we will make them. Sounds like a good motto for sports entertainment. How about a speed limiter on the car, a 2 minute sin bin for racing too hard, a Wheel of Misfortune? They could decide the winner beforehand and fill the race full of staged drama and thrilling high spots.

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