1 - Upcoming changes to LMP2 and GT regulations
Pierre Fillon and Richard Mille presented the future LMP2 and GT classes. LMP2 has played a pivotal role in endurance racing since it was overhauled in 2017. The rulebook is to be updated in 2025. LMP2 chassis will be supplied by the four makes currently involved in LMDh: Dallara, Ligier, Multimatic and Oreca. A new GT class will be introduced in 2024. The new class, particularly suited to amateur drivers, is based on current GT3 regulations, and replaces LMGTE Pro which ends this year, and LMGTE Am, phased out next year. Competitors were consulted in the drafting of the new regulations which aim to minimise team investment. Thanks to a bodywork kit, the cars can easily be switched to a GT3 set-up and will be fitted with commercial tyres.
2 - FIA WEC announcements
Frédéric Lequien, CEO of the FIA World Endurance Championship presented the highlights of its tenth season: a record field, the Peugeot 9x8 at Monza, and Fuji in September. The agreement with the Bahrain International circuit has been prolonged until 2027.
3 - Virtual Le Mans Series
The 2022/2023 schedule of the Virtual Le Mans Series is to comprise five rounds, ending with the Virtual 24 Hours of Le Mans on 14 and 15 January 2023. Prize money is $250,000.
4 - MissionH24
The H24 prototype took part in the first leg of Road to Le Mans on Thursday evening, weeks after its maiden race, the Michelin Le Mans Cup at Imola on 14 May. GreenGT chairman Christophe Ricard, and ACO president Pierre Fillon gave an update on the programme, which aims to see hydrogen-electric prototypes on the 24 Hours of Le Mans grid from 2025.
5 - Corporate Social Responsibility
In line with the CSR strategy announced in June 2021, Stéphane Darracq, general manager of the ACO, presented the 24 Hours of Le Mans carbon footprint. In 2019, the race generated over 36,000 tonnes of CO2. The ACO identified areas of improvement and has set about achieving carbon neutrality by 2030, with the aim of reducing emissions by 30%. The carbon neutral project is known as Race to 2030. As of this year, the 24 Hours of Le Mans field runs on renewable fuel, which significantly reduced the impact of the race. Tyres and fuel now account for 1.4% of total emissions, down from 2.5%.
Mr Darracq also announced that:
- The 24 Hours of Le Mans has signed a charter comprising 15 commitments, drawn up by the French ministry of sport and WWF France.
- The French classic endurance race has been awarded a 2-star environmental rating by the FIA. The ACO aims to earn its third star next year.
6 - The Centenary
In 2023, the 24 Hours of Le Mans will be commemorating its 100th anniversary. To celebrate such a major milestone in the history of motor racing, the ACO has enlisted the help of the race’s most successful driver, nine-time winner Tom Kristensen, who will be the ambassador for the centenary event. A household name the world over, Kristensen will be travelling to motorsports events around the globe to present the special centenary trophy, designed and made by the Monnaie de Paris, France’s coin and medal minter.
Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest: “We covered a lot of ground today. The future of our discipline is taking shape with major constructors joining the Hypercar class, and the modernisation of LMP2 and Le Mans GT. Competitors always play a part in the discussion around updates and these new rulebooks form the foundation of endurance racing, with hydrogen playing a major role in our strategy. The future looks bright, with the centenary of the 24 Hours of Le Mans just around the corner. I am honoured that Tom Kristensen has accepted to be ambassador for the celebrations that we began preparing two years ago.”
Richard Mille, FIA Endurance Commission President, said: “The introduction of the Hypercar category turned out to be a great success, but in order to ensure the FIA World Endurance Championship keeps developing, we need to look at the bigger picture and the goal is to have strength and quality in all classes. Therefore, I’m pleased that from 2024 we will continue the process of phasing in new technical regulation. Beginning with GT cars and later, incoming the following year, with the hugely successful and competitive LMP2 class. Utilising the existing FIA GT3 platform is a base for a cost-effective solution, tailor-made for Pro-Am line-ups and gentleman drivers, that will also bring even greater variety to the field of GT cars.”