RAMPING UP THE HYBRID TECH
hat’s next in the brave new world
of LMP1 in the FIA World Endurance
Championship? That’s not been fully
decided just yet, but more powerful hybrid
systems and reduced amounts of traditional
fuels will be part of the landscape in the
coming season. Further down the road,
the door is open to new technologies that
have yet to be seen on the race track.
The regulations introduced in 2014 that
limit the fuel used over each racing lap and
put an emphasis on energy retrieval were
always set to evolve. That was one of the
guiding principles of the new LMP1 rule
book, and a key aim was a progressive
reduction of conventional fuel usage.
The first step will occur next year, when
the amount of fuel allocated to each car will
be cut. This is set in stone, although the
final figures have yet to be made public.
But an energy allocation reduction of
10 megajoules for each lap of the 8.47-mile
Le Mans 24 Hours track, with pro rata
decreases at the other WEC venues,
equates to just over seven percent.
A reduction in fuel usage was always
planned for season three of the new rules,
and 10MJ was the maximum discussed
with the manufacturers. The rule makers –
the FIA and the Automobile Club de l’Ouest
at Le Mans – made up their minds early in
the 2015 season that the maximum
possible reduction should be made. This
was a reaction to the massive performance
leap the P1 cars made between 2014 and
’ 15, although, they claim, not directly to the
record-breaking lap times seen around the
Circuit de la Sarthe at Le Mans in June.