Teams preparing to run in the World Endurance Championship's planned hypercar class will be happy to learn the cost of entry could be lower than previously thought.
The new budget reportedly sits at $23 million for a two-car entry, down from from a previous estimate of between $28.7 million and $34.4 million that was given when the FIA first announced the new class with a "hypercar" working title.
Motorsport.com reported on the budget changes on Wednesday and said a brochure with the revised budget figure has been sent to manufacturers. Now the goal is to persuade manufacturers to join the new class ahead of its debut in the 2020/2021 season of the WEC.
The hypercar class calls for race cars styled like the latest production hypercars, with particular focus to be applied on the appearance of the cars. The FIA noted in its June announcement that the race cars should turn heads just like their production counterparts. The FIA included example designs in its brochure, and America's Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus has already shown its proposed design.
FIA Hypercar Class mock image
The new $23 million budget includes an amount for design and development of a race car, with figures based on the improvement of the car's development over a five-year lifecycle. Further, the latest budget includes an $18.4 million budget for private teams purchasing a car from a manufacturer.
Budget restrictions will come at the cost of performance, however. According to the report, the hypercar class must qualify at Le Mans in the 3:24.00-3:25.00 range. In the June announcement, the FIA first envisioned the hypercar class qualifying with 3:20.00 times. With the changes, LMP2 cars will likely be slowed to ensure a gap with the hypercar class, which is to be the premier class replacing the current LMP1 class. The LMP2 pole time last year was 3:24.80.
Other regulations will include maximum downforce and minimum drag figures, and manufacturers cannot continuously develop their designs over the five-year period. Any upgrades to a homologated design will pertain to safety and reliability unless a performance upgrade is required to make a car competitive. Styling changes, however, will be permitted between seasons. Finally, all cars must include a KERS-style hybrid system and four-wheel drive, but there will be no restriction on engines.
The final rules will officially see approval at the final FIA World Motor Sport Council of the year on December 5.