Le Mans Ultra-Sports Class – Of course! That would be my dream!

There is change in the air…

A few days ago I noticed an uber cool image on my LinkedIn page posted by a super talented designer Alan Derosier. Alan’s work  first came to my attention through his work with the 908 Vision GT  and I have followed his work since. The image was an example of what a Le Mans Group C car might look like, today..

With kind permission, Alan has allowed me to use the image that appeared on my timeline to featured in this post. … I was so taken with the coolness of the design that it prompted me to review again a recent press release from the FIA outlining a vision for changes in 2020 regulations, specifically how the cars of an ultra class should not only perform, but equally look…

To the delight of fans of Le Mans as I, the FIA’s future vision is very appealing as they look to re-invigorate the top class of Le Mans entrant.

The following is an extract from a press release by the FIA to explain their thinking and how an ultra-sports prototype class can encourage the most evocative shapes and performance back to the hallowed circuit La Sarthe.

In fact, these changes are already being warmly received and considered by new entry automotive brands and as founder of Sarthe Special Vehicles we have long wanted to build a sports prototype that can be classified at Le Mans and these changes will allow us to do exactly that.

This will be especially helpful to accelerate the adpotion of bespoke manufacturing possible with the use of additive, digital and 4th Industrial Revolution techniques. Moreover, Sarthe have specifically aligned our project with motorsport partners, digital and materials specialists, technologies that dominate the motorsport industry.

This is a dream… perhaps the awesome car in the image by Alan could be closer to reality than we think!

Enjoy the FIA Press Release extract…

2020-2024: REVOLUTIONARY REGULATIONS

A new top class will be launched for 2020-2024: sleeker prototypes with more marque cachet.
While these racing cars will cut quite an imposing figure, they will also retain the usage of a
hybrid system while leaving free the choice of combustion engine at a predetermined and fixed cost. The name of the new class will be chosen by popular vote.

The 2020-2024 plan will usher in a new era of endurance racing with an ultramodern style of
prototype called…. whatever the fans of the discipline decide! Super Sportscar, GTPrototype,
Le Mans Supercars or Le Mans Hypercars? The choice is the fans’!

The regulations, devised by the ACO and the FIA, focus on the appearance, style and lines of
the cars in the new premier league. Team and car diversity in endurance racing is one of the
discipline’s foremost trademarks, never truer with the emergence of these stylized yet
muscular cars, veritable racing beasts in the spirit and image of endurance.
They will take on circuits like Le Mans, Spa, Silverstone, Fuji and Sebring in the day and night, rain or shine, in hot weather as in cold. That calls for a tough prototype, one as imposing as it is ingenious and technological. One that turns heads, like hypercars, supercars, prestigious GTs and concept cars do on the street or at any given motor show. So, why not draw inspiration from those
machines to build endurance racing cars? Consider it a done deal.

Aerodynamics cannot take precedence over aesthetics.

Being the top class, these new prototypes must be technologically powerful and compelling
in design and will therefore remain hybrid, with a KERS system in front and 4WD to ensure
energy efficiency. This technology will become more and more popular as the KERS system
developed by some constructors will have to be used on production cars at a pre-defined
price.

These new prototypes will have an alluring design and incredible pace. The regulations seek
excellence: 3:20.00 per lap at Le Mans with limited fuel.

The other priority is cost. They will be remarkable, competitive, innovative and affordable –
requiring a quarter of current budgets. Costly developments will be kept in check by a new
homologation procedure and technical rules that will naturally reduce budgets.

However, there will be no restrictions on engine selection. Consumption rules will ensure fair
competition between different systems.

The new regulations will take effect for 2020-2024.

Jean Todt, FIA President said: “The new regulations for the FIA World Endurance
Championship, which come into effect for the 2020/21 season, are the result of hard work
between members of the FIA, ACO, manufacturers and teams. This will provide endurance
racing with a long term, stable platform, while continuing to offer a cost-effective stage to
showcase future technologies.”

Pierre Fillon, president of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest: “Crafting these regulations was
particularly satisfying as very quickly it sparked interest and gained the support of competitors
or potential competitors. A new era will dawn in 2020 for endurance racing. On paper it has
enormous potential. Le Mans 2018, 2019 and 2020 will each be outstanding editions, but now
I can’t wait for the start at the 2021 24 Hours of Le Mans.”

Richard Mille, President of the FIA Endurance Commission: “What has been announced today
is the first step in a new direction for the premier class of the FIA World Endurance
Championship and the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The new regulations are a framework that will
be attractive to more manufacturers and teams, while at the same time retaining the
excitement of endurance racing for existing fans to enjoy and to attract a new generation of
spectator to the sport.

The proposals announced today include cost limiting measures, making
hybrid power more affordable and building a future for endurance with renewable energy.
From 2020 the front of the grid will look very different and it is an exciting prospect that we
are all looking forward to seeing.”

Gérard Neveu, CEO FIA World Endurance Championship: “The direction for the new
regulations announced today jointly by the ACO and the FIA is a supremely positive one. A
great deal of work has been done by the ACO, the FIA Endurance Commission, our
manufacturer partners and teams and we are very encouraged about the future of endurance
racing, and the WEC in particular.

“The 2020-24 regulations are, for competitors, both technically interesting and sustainable,
with the controlled budgets being a key factor. We are confident that we will welcome an
increased number of world-class manufacturers and international teams to the WEC and that
all the elements are in place for them to be able to compete at the highest level, with the
pinnacle of course being the 24 Hours of Le Mans.”

Good times ahead…

Ian Howe

 

 

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