Organizers of the World Endurance Championship, whose highlight is the 24 Hours of Le Mans, are currently embroiled with automakers, teams and other stakeholders over a major shakeup to the series' top class in time for the 2020/2021 season.
The current proposal is to replace the current LMP1 class with a so-called Hypercar class (a final name is yet to be decided) that will see the race cars closely adhere to road car counterparts.
Unfortunately, Sportscar365 has learned from its sources that Ferrari and Ford are no longer part of the talks. This doesn't necessarily mean the two automakers won't be involved in the class, but Sportscar365 reported Monday that skipping the talks means an automaker won't be able to give direct input into shaping the regulations. And historically, automakers skipping such meetings tend not to be involved further on.
Sportscar365 also reported that 15 parties including automakers, race car constructors and suppliers were invited to the talks, with Aston Martin, McLaren and Toyota being the only automakers represented. Leading race car constructors Oreca and Onroak were also present, along with powertrain supplier Gibson.
There are rumors of Ferrari developing a new hypercar and it is possible the car is/was to be the basis of a race car for WEC's Hypercar class.
No. 66 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing GT at 2018 24 Hours of Daytona
Meanwhile, Mark Rushbrook, global motorsports director at Ford Performance, confirmed to Sportscar365 that the Blue Oval is no longer attending the Hypercar class talks but is monitoring developments from afar. He hinted that Ford's participation will likely require the class having a matching counterpart in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, which is due for its own regulations refresh in 2022.
“Our principles are that it’s got to be global, meaning the same set of rules exist in WEC and IMSA, it’s got to be affordable and it’s got to be relevant,” he said.
Just like in WEC, Ford competes in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship with its GT supercar in a production car-based class, but with the GT due to end production in the coming years, there are rumors Ford might return to the series' premier Prototype class.
While Ford may choose to skip WEC's new Hypercar class, there's another American automaker that's keen. Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus announced in July its intention to enter the class and has already previewed the design of its race car. Meanwhile, Toyota has confirmed plans for a road-going hypercar but is yet to officially commit to WEC's Hypercar class.