Le Mans hypercar rules confirmed for 2020/2021 season

Published: 14 June 2019

► New rules for 2020/2021
► Toyota and Aston Martin already signed up
► Hybrid and non-hybrids allowed

It’s actually happening. After around 12 months of uncertainty, the ACO has confirmed new rules for the World Endurance Championship. The regulations, due to come into force for the 2020/2021 season, will shake up the rather stagnant top tier of the series and replace it with extreme hypercars.

The rules hark back to the days of the Toyota GT One and Mercedes CLK GTR, and will open up the top class to specialised prototypes as well as homologation specials: the ACO only asks that at least 20 production models are created over a 24 month period. Toyota and Aston Martin have already comitted to the new series. 

That means cars like the Aston Martin Valkyrie and the AMG One could well line up against each other. The rules are as follows: 

TOP-TIER CARS

While governed by one rulebook, manufacturers may choose between:

  • Designing a prototype in the style of a hypercar
  • Developing a racing machine based on a road-going hypercar (a minimum of 20 road models must be produced over a two-year period)

The ACO and FIA have drawn up the following principles to guarantee the competitiveness of all cars in order to :

  • Weight : 1100 kg
  • Powertrain average total output: 550 kW (750 hp)
  • Performance level: 3:30, average lap time at Le Mans in race conditions
  • Single tyre supplier

THE 2020 HYPERCAR

Aerodynamics and chassi

  • Free design of body and underbody
  • Imposed aerodynamic safety criteria
  • Chassis will be homologated for five years

Hybrid systems are not mandatory

  • Maximum hybrid system output is 200 kW (270 hp)
  • This system drives the front wheels on the prototype, whereas the position is identical to the street-legal model for road-going hypercars

Combustion engine

  • For prototypes: bespoke racing design or modified hypercar engine
  • For road-going hypercars: based on the original car or an engine made by the same manufacturer
  • Regulated power curve
  • Single fuel 

Optional hybrid system

An energy restitution threshold for the front wheels has been defined, to contain the advantages of a front-wheel hybrid system (4 wheel drive) and ensure that 2-wheel drive cars can compete.

  • 120 kph with slicks
  • Between 140 and 160 kph (a fix value will be defined) with wet-weather tyres

How it's done

As F1 once again pushes back the announcement of its 2021 regulations to October, this makes for refreshing news for motorsport fans. The new rules above don't force the hybrid element, and therefore make it attractive to brands pushing hybrid tech – like Toyota and Mercedes – but also brands less involved in electrification for performance, such as Aston Martin. The new rules even leave room for a variant of Gordon Murray's forthcoming T.50 hypercar!  

By Curtis Moldrich

CAR's online editor and racing-sim enthusiast

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