Ferrari (NYSE:RACE), Some Details on the New Hypercars

Ferrari (NYSE:RACE), Some Details on the New Hypercars

Ferrari (NYSE:RACE), Some Details on the New Hypercars


Last week we learned that Le Mans will have a new Top Class in Y 2020, with prototype design and road car looks, but the degree to which the class would balance was not unclear.

Today, we have more details on how this will look and work.

What we now know is that the FIA is framing this new class as prototype race cars with road car looks, but it’s serious about those looks. “Aerodynamics cannot take precedence over aesthetics,” the FIA’s press release today states, in its own dedicated line.

We also got some specs of the cars-to-be, and they are very much in the frame of today’s prototypes, only aiming to be 25% of the cost.

What remains to be determined are the following:

  1. KERS hooked up to the front wheels for hybrid all-wheel drive
  2. A 3:20 lap time (this year’s LMP1 qualifying record stands at 3:15)
  3. No restriction on engine selection
  4. Fuel will be limited. “Consumption rules will ensure fair competition between different systems,” says the FIA

This is the basic format for today’s LMP1 cars.

Now, LMP1 has been extreme look alike in the final seasons of Toyota Vs Porsche Vs Audi, then Toyota Vs Porsche, then Toyota Vs Toyota.

If you follow long distance racing, you will recall that when Toyota and Porsche 1st came in, there was some distinction between teams, between turbo V6s, big naturally-aspirated V8s and tiny V4s.

Governing teams with fuel economy leaves things largely open, as it did in the Group C days.

The FIA also said that the name of the class is still up in the air:

“The 2020-2024 plan will usher in a new era of endurance racing with an ultramodern style of prototype, with a name to be determined by fans of the FIA WEC. Super Sportscar, GTPrototype, Le Mans Supercars or Le Mans Hypercars? The choice is the fans’!”

Below is a Key paragraph from the FIA that does not add anything new, but is fun to read and captures the spirit of why these race cars can be so wild and out on the edge, as follows:

“The regulations, devised by the FIA and the ACO, focus on the appearance, style and lines of the cars in the new premier league. Team and car diversity in endurance racing is one of the discipline’s foremost trademarks, never truer with the emergence of these stylized yet muscular cars, veritable racing beasts in the spirit and image of endurance. They will take on circuits like Le Mans, Spa, Silverstone, Fuji and Sebring in the day and night, rain or shine, in hot weather as in cold. That calls for a tough prototype, one as imposing as it is ingenious and technological. One that turns heads, like Hypercars, Supercars, prestigious GTs and concept cars do on the street or at any given motor show.”

We like racing beasts, stylish, muscular, tough, imposing and edgy/ingenious.

These new rules look like the final days of Group C, and the final days of GT1, when manufacturers ran basically all-out prototypes and teased about making a bunch of road car versions for sale.

The Nissan R390 GT1 never made it into private hands, nor did the Toyota GT-One, though they raced in a class nominally about road cars turned race cars.

Very road car-like, right? This is the Nissan R390 in wind tunnel testing.
Photo: Nissan Heritage

The manufacturers involved in these talks so far have been Toyota, McLaren, Aston Martin, Ferrari (NYSE:RACE) and Ford (NYSE:F).

A few of these companies have shown concepts or production versions of Hypercars that look like they would fit the new regulations.

What remains to be know is if we will see them in competition, or if we will only see dedicated prototypes that have loke styling.

The cars themselves, things like the Aston Martin Valkyrie, make me lean to the former. The announcements from the FIA make you lean towards the latter.

For instance

Would Ford run a very modified, hybrid version of the Ford GT, or would it make a new dedicated prototype that only kinda looks like a Ford GT?

Would Toyota, which has shown the GR Super Sport Concept, a road legal race car design, put the car into low-level production, even though it is really a prototype?

Ford has not responded to my request for clarification.  So, I suspect that Ford wants to know more before commenting.

Enjoy the 24 Hours of Le Mans this weekend.


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