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Old 28 Dec 2019, 13:41 (Ref:3948786)   #76
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In any case, tracks are not the problem of WEC anymore. It's been fixed from the gloomy days of circa 2015, when the likes of Neveu and Fillon were bashing circuits like Sebring as "unsuitable" while praising COTA and other sterile Tilkedromes for their identical 6 hour events with no support races that no-one watched. Finally we have a good calendar, for what it is. But much as with IMSA, it's the regulations that are downright terrible, not calendar.

Sad to say, if I was forced to choose between 6 Hours of Shanghai in 2014 with say 25 car grid consisting of the likes of Porsche/Toyota/Audi&nonhybrids and chasiss&engine&tyrewar LMP2, or 1000 Miles of Sebring in 2021 with 40 car grid consisting of bop-Hypercars and fleet of spec Oreca 07s, I would have to choose the former... calendars and tracks and numbers are important, but they do not overwrite proper regulations. Regulations are always the ultimate heart of racing. That is why F1 despite the most grayest and boringest circumstances can stay pure even today.
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Old 28 Dec 2019, 14:54 (Ref:3948790)   #77
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Akrapovic, the perception that the FIA WEC still wants to be at Grade 1s to project a certain image isn't going to just magically disappear overnight though. And while I'm pretty darn sure that 1959 will remain F1's only ever visit to Sebring, I'm not ruling out that they'll try to make a return to Kyalami at some point (making that a Grade 1).
It won't disappear overnight, however this is now a perception, but not a fact. It is true that WEC did fly the Grade 1 only flag - but they have since stopped this, and embraced other, better circuits.

I also don't feel it's fair to say 'Well Kyalami might become Grade 1'. That's hardly WECs fault.

WEC at Grade 1 only circuits is no longer a thing.
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Old 28 Dec 2019, 15:41 (Ref:3948798)   #78
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Akrapovic, certainly, not directly, though I doubt word of coming developments doesn't filter around the FIA. They can still make decisions based on rumblings of what appears likely to happen.

Chiana, yes, I'd probably give a slight edge to the cars being raced in terms of importance in the equation. Still, I'd regard the circuits as a near-equal component of the whole package.

I'm not sure what you think is so terrible about the regs in their entirety. The "balancing" in LMP1 is out of hand, and I might have preferred they try to figure out how to uprate the LMP2s alongside the DPIs, but I'm not going to throw the whole thing out.
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Old 29 Dec 2019, 11:22 (Ref:3948929)   #79
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I'm not sure what you think is so terrible about the regs in their entirety. The "balancing" in LMP1 is out of hand, and I might have preferred they try to figure out how to uprate the LMP2s alongside the DPIs, but I'm not going to throw the whole thing out.
The famous three letter word is what is wrong with Hypercar, the one Vincent Beaumesnil has thrown around as the operating word and basis for the 'regulations'. Regulations should never _center_ around that word, and in fact they didn't here either until Sebring press conference last year. Technological leaps, hybrids and so on will only become a marketing tool, nothing more, nothing less. So that there, as well as multiple ideologies jammed into one cake as response to lobbying... it's going to be IMSA 2014 all over again. You will also have a lots more fake-rebranded-OEMs joining in with sticker-engineering through privateer ranks, as ACO is directly encouraging it, akin to "Alpine" and "Aurus".

Add into it that LMP2 is staying stale, is going to be slower and have mandated spec tires - not only in WEC but the regional championships. There's talk of mandated bronze driver too. And GTE is what is has been for better part of the last decade

Now, it is true that the current eot-success-penalty in P1 is out of hand and awful too, however that does not come into force at Le Mans next year. And at the very least, as horrible as the system has been in the sprint races, you can still politically manipulate it less, as it is more or less automatic. The system is only in place because of the lack of factories anyway, if someone else was involved they wouldn't have artificially closed the gap between hybrid and nonhybrid in the first place, not properly

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Old 29 Dec 2019, 18:37 (Ref:3948966)   #80
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I'm not thrilled with the de-tuning of LMP2 in some of the series. That said, I remember what LMP675/2 was like, aside from the Dyson Lola/MGs really, for 2001-05, and it's hard for something to get as painful as that last-man-standing, "which team and which car was that who won again" situation.

The stuff coming out about the Aston Martin Valkyrie does give me a bit of hope that the Hypercars may be faster than anticipated, in which case, the LMP2 measures might be quickly rendered moot, and hence, removed.
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Old 30 Dec 2019, 07:26 (Ref:3949018)   #81
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I don't understand the Grade 1 argument, because now it's impossible for WEC to win that argument. They dropped Grade 1 tracks and went to Grade 2s, and the return point is 'Well they might become Grade 1s, because they're FIA based, so they know what's coming'. There's Grade 1 circuits in the US they can use, and they choose not to. They've dropped a further Grade 1 to go to a Grade 2. If the argument is 'They might become Grade 1s', then they'd have just stayed at the Grade 1s they were using. 3 out of the 8 scheduled circuits are Grade 2s. And to be honest, when your others include things like Spa, Monza, Silverstone and Fuji, I think the majority of those Grade 1s are just brilliant choices, regardless of circuit grade. Apart from Bahrain (which is paid for, so whatever), it's a damn fine calendar. And to be honest, whilst Silverstone is not quite as good as it used to be, when you actually look at it and are honest, it's a pretty damn good track. I'd argue from Brooklands all the way around into Abbey is actually pretty awesome. Really it's just Farm/Village/Loop/Aintree that are a bit meh.

I genuinely feel that anyone really criticising that 2020/2021 calendar is being far too harsh. It's hard to find a better calendar than that in the world. IMSA is the only one I can think of that's probably as good, or better. Or maybe VLN.

For me, Hypercars, BoP and LMP2 are all completely unrelated subjects. Looking at LMP2, I think it's huge step back from what we had in the previous generation, but the one upside to this generation was the speeding up of the cars reduced the amount of accidents. Rolling that back re-introduces the same issue as before, but also bunches up to GTE, as they've made some pretty rapid progress in lap times.

I too would like the Hypercars to be faster, just to keep the current lap time balance. But since it's a BoP series, that shouldn't be an issue that has to be discussed. Aston Martin are saying they're slowing the car down. So why not just slow it down less? I don't understand why we're BoPing everything back and creating this problem.

I'm also frustrated with the ACOs paper-overing of the LMP2 mess by allowing badge engineering. This was 100% not allowed before. It was said that manufacturers could not be involved in LMP2 at all. Alpine were allowed because they weren't a manufacturer at the time - ok fair enough. But they shouldn't be rebadging the chassis. Then it became ok to rebadge even if you were a manufacturer. And now we have the Russian thing too. Why is it happening? A cynic would say it makes the grid appear more diverse, since the current regulations have wiped out all competition for ORECA. So now it looks like we have 3 good chassis.

And now they're looking at Hypercar and saying you have to have a badge to get in on the action there? What exactly does that achieve, other than give the false impression on manufacturer involvement, because TVR printed some 3 stickers?

The ACOs fascination with manufacturers was the downfall before and the reason the WEC is in the mess it's in, It will be the main issue with Hypercar and LMP2 going forward.

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Old 30 Dec 2019, 20:01 (Ref:3949122)   #82
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I'm not disputing the improvement in the 2020-21 calendar. However, it is one calendar announcement weighted against several seasons of what past calendars have been. That is, I'm only saying I'm not in a place to say that those at the top of the FIA WEC have totally changed their ways or mindset and desires regarding Grade 1 circuits. And it's just a bit more amusing considering that the entire rest of your post is about all the other ways that they haven't changed.

I'm not sure how the current regs expressly wiped out the other 3 besides Oreca. If it's the same for everyone, and Oreca did a better job from the outset, how is that their fault? Isn't this what everyone on here says will happen with a true, merit-based class? That the one who does the best will become the default option? I'm not saying it's ideal, but I'm not sure what you'd do about it. Also, if the Oreca is specifically better in top-end speed, it only makes all the more sense why it would be favored in the WEC, and especially at Le Mans. The current and next WEC calendars are weighted 75% in terms of circuits with enough straights of sufficient length that you probably want that top-end (Austin, Sebring, and Kyalami being the principle exceptions). The ELMS is weighted more like 67% in that way (Catalunya and Algarve being least in that vein). The AsLMS is 50%, I'd say (The Bend and Sepang being less top-end dependent). IMSA may have a proportion as low as 30% in this regard (Daytona, Road America, and Watkins Glen being the main ones where you want good flat-out speed).

I'm not sure how many people get duped by the badging. They clearly look like Orecas, and those not in the know are rather unlikely to be terribly familiar with either Alpine, or especially Aurus, so they'd be seen as just another sponsor. And since they are running Orecas, putting the cheap decals on isn't automatically going to get them results that would yield good marketing material; they'll still need to have good prep and a good team. Aside from all that, given all the engine badging over the years from shops like Cosworth, Ilmor, and AER, this doesn't stand out so much to me. Finally, is Ligier particularly less of a manufacturer than Alpine?

Major manufacturers pay the bills to have a World Championship. I think that's about the size of it, and has been since the 1970s certainly. It was a different equation with so many customer cars and no on-car sponsors earlier on, but works teams probably didn't hurt in the '60s and '50s either.

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Old 31 Dec 2019, 08:04 (Ref:3949169)   #83
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I feel credit should be given where it is due, rather than withheld. Regardless of the other issues, they have done a fantastic job on the calendar, and I don't think saying 'Well you only used Grade 1s before' is really an appropriate response to fixing one of the biggest bits of feedback the fans gave. Remember they did a survey and asked about the calendar - and the feedback from the Silverstone drop was numerous. It's pretty clear that the new calendar is formed from the feedback they got. They've even tried to avoid clashes with F1 events - that's pretty decent.

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I'm not sure how the current regs expressly wiped out the other 3 besides Oreca. If it's the same for everyone, and Oreca did a better job from the outset, how is that their fault? Isn't this what everyone on here says will happen with a true, merit-based class? That the one who does the best will become the default option? I'm not saying it's ideal, but I'm not sure what you'd do about it. Also, if the Oreca is specifically better in top-end speed, it only makes all the more sense why it would be favored in the WEC, and especially at Le Mans. The current and next WEC calendars are weighted 75% in terms of circuits with enough straights of sufficient length that you probably want that top-end (Austin, Sebring, and Kyalami being the principle exceptions). The ELMS is weighted more like 67% in that way (Catalunya and Algarve being least in that vein). The AsLMS is 50%, I'd say (The Bend and Sepang being less top-end dependent). IMSA may have a proportion as low as 30% in this regard (Daytona, Road America, and Watkins Glen being the main ones where you want good flat-out speed)
The current regulations meant that if you didn't nail it, then you're wiped out. ORECA without a doubt did the best job, however in a proper competitive environment, it's then on the others to go away and produce a better product. The current regulations specifically prohibit that. In fact, even the joker upgrade does not allow this - they are only allowed to change the parts with the ACO approval, and they may not produce a car better than the ORECA, or they will be pegged back. And ORECA were not allowed to better their product.

In the previous set of regulations, Ligier and Dallara (and maybe Riley, who knows) would have continued development until the package was good enough. Under the new set, they were not allowed. The old set also allowed others to enter to compete (BR Engineering for example), but now nobody is even allowed to build a challenger.

I 100% agree that ORECA did a better job. However nobody was allowed to respond properly, and that's not how things are supposed to work. The regulations are responsible for that, and responsible for the reduction in sales of the other cars due to it. And remember that the goal of these regulations was to reduce the price of the cars - that has failed as well. The previous regulations had self-enforcing prices, as manufacturers couldn't sell the cars at huge amounts because there were other cars to buy that were good. Now, the only car worth buying is the ORECA, and they've raised the price significantly - to the maximum allowed by the price cap. So we've got less variety, less development, and more expensive cars as a direct result of the regulations. We've somehow got a spec series that's more expensive than an open series - which is backwards.

The Dallara had the top speed advantage btw. Pretty significantly too. It was so low drag that teams were putting on the high drag kit at Le Mans.

Are Ligier less of a manufacturer than Alpine? Do Ligier make any road going production vehicles? I think they used to, but now they don't list any on their site? If they don't then yes they are less of a manufacturer, as they'd basically be doing the same thing ORECA do - racing cars.

And whilst manufacturers do pay the bills and are important, we had a major issue with WEC where they forced anyone in LMP1 to run hybrids, and the little teams couldn't do it, so the little teams left or moved class or whatever. And then when factories leave (spoiler alert: factories always leave - regardless of series), they were left with nothing. You absolutely have to protect the smaller teams as well, because you will require them when one or two factories leave. And for the new Hypercar staff, we're saying that small teams need to have manufacturer tie-ins. So we're committing to the same mistake, but earlier in the regulations? That doesn't seem good...

Calendar - Brilliant.
LMP2 - Mess, and getting slower.
Manufacturers - committed to making the same mistakes as before.
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Old 31 Dec 2019, 17:17 (Ref:3949275)   #84
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I wholeheartedly agree with both Akrapovic's posts here.


Happy New Year sportscar fans :-)
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Old 1 Jan 2020, 11:25 (Ref:3949387)   #85
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I too would like the Hypercars to be faster, just to keep the current lap time balance. But since it's a BoP series, that shouldn't be an issue that has to be discussed. Aston Martin are saying they're slowing the car down. So why not just slow it down less? I don't understand why we're BoPing everything back and creating this problem.
Because they are already preparing for 2024 when LMH and Zero Emission are stupidly bopped in together

http://www.dailysportscar.com/2019/0...-tomorrow.html
The ACO’s proposed zero emissions regulations, currently due for 2024/25 are set to target performance levels for the new cars at the same level as the forthcoming revised ‘Hypercar’ ruleset.
-- Beaumesnil added that the pushing back of ultimate lap time at Le Mans to a targeted 3:30 contained within the current rejigging of the Hypercar proposal, a change principally designed to accommodate racing versions of roadgoing Hypercars alongside pure-bred racing prototypes in the new top class from 2020/21 would also have the spin-off benefit of making the performance window more achievable by new and emerging racing and automotive technology.

https://sportscar365.com/lemans/wec/...-in-top-class/
Instead of its own class, as initially indicated during the announcement last year, it now appears the cars will compete within the top class, which would add another platform to the mix. “This is a work in progress but [it will be a mix] with the same performance,” Fillon said

And whatever Aston Martin is claiming is probably lies, they are stripping away the hybrid from the road car so obviously it's going to be slower (and cheaper = the reason they are coming)

Anyway. At ACO everything gets changed at whim in order to maximize profit and OEM & Oreca happiness while sacrificing common sense

December 2018
https://www.lemans.org/en/news/fia-w...ctor-aco/50599
Q: Isn’t this performance window system just another BOP?
Vincent Beaumesnil: : "No, it’s not. Balance of Performance is a system that was drawn up so that very different models of cars could race each other in the LMGTE class. The six manufacturers currently involved field competitive cars despite the marked differences between the street-legal versions on which they are based. The 2020 LMP1s are prototypes built according to technical regulations."
"-- The cars will still be hybrids."


March 2019
http://www.dailysportscar.com/2019/0...o-and-wec.html
https://www.motorsport.com/wec/news/...pdate/4353468/
Vincent Beaumesnil:"We leave open the option to run a hybrid or not, so if you have this and the fact that you can start from a road car or a prototype, you will have to balance the performance. -- The introduction of BoP will also help to control costs" -- “Balance of performance has worked very well with a variety of platforms in GTE, it is a complex matter here but we believe it is deliverable”

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Old 1 Jan 2020, 21:48 (Ref:3949458)   #86
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As Akrappvic and others including me have repeatedly said, the ACO's obsession with having manufacturers in the top prototype class could very well be their undoing.

The simple solution to the withdrawal of Audi and Porsche was:

LMP1: Privateers with all-pro driver line-ups
LMP2: Privateer, Pro-am
GTE: All-pro, all factory, the World Championship class
GTE-Am: as now

The disaster that LMP2 has become is a different debate.
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Old 2 Jan 2020, 11:29 (Ref:3949498)   #87
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Actually, the proper solution would have been to do absolutely nothing after Porsche exit. If they had not panicked and went for the laziest of quick fix solutions* and surrender to lobbyism, but instead just said "the current regulations will be extended to 2025" in the fall of '17, the opposition to Toyota would have come sooner or later. Obviously no-one came in 2018-2020 because everyone knew regulations were changing to cheapskate in 2020, but it could have been different. The manufacturers are not going to give up relatively easy shots at winning Le Mans go away. Also had they promised Zero Emission for 2025, as the headliner class for overall wins, it would have been the final opportunity for conventional cars to win the race.

And as for the survival of privateer LMP1s, if status quo would have existed in terms of OEMs... Well as I've said for countless of years, that would have been fixed by re-allowing them into ELMS and ASLMS, thus re-creating opportunity for customer market as well as giving overall win opportunity without resorting to artficial BS as seen in the WEC now. Or do the fans of ELMS still prefer to see that 17 car spec Oreca field with spec engines and spec tires and proam lineups, rather than say 5-10 proper nonhybrid LMP1 cars with every combination of tech possible? I do remember people defending the interests of LMP2, but times have changed

*The only good quick fix solution they did do was the reworking of the calendar from pretty boring to pretty good, but that's not enough

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Old 2 Jan 2020, 14:52 (Ref:3949514)   #88
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Actually, the proper solution would have been to do absolutely nothing after Porsche exit.
Completely disagree with that. I agree that the solution they have put in place is not a good one, however doing nothing was not an option. Manufacturers won't give up an easy chance to win Le Mans, but they won't do it if it costs $200m a year to do so. Which is what it would've taken to beat a very toned and experienced Toyota team.
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Old 2 Jan 2020, 15:42 (Ref:3949521)   #89
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The 200 million figure is nonsense, Toyota spend around 40-50mil when they started, and even at the height of Audi-Porsche arms race it edged around 100 million for the Japanese - which would still be about 75% less than what is spend at the top of F1 today. Furthermore if these factory teams would do a reduced schedule around Le Mans - much like Audi and Peugeot in 2009/2010 - I'm sure it could have been reduced greatly, without resorting to cost capping and other external artificiality

Of course the OEMs are going to demand easy & cheap (not to mention bending regulations to their own favor) if they know the organizers are gonna lean to that. I mean why wouldn't they. Once you start pleasing the crowd to the level of extreme, it becomes the expected behavior you can't really back away from anymore. That's how pro-am and balance of performance completely took over sportscar racing in a timespan of just a decade, and that's exactly how the top class of Le Mans also collapsed into whatever it is now.

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Old 2 Jan 2020, 15:48 (Ref:3949522)   #90
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The $200m figure isn't nonsense. If Toyota are spending $50m a year (which they by all accounts, are), then you're not going to build an LMP1 team from scratch, including all of the investment you'd need to make in racing hybrid technology, and then beat Toyota for an 'easy Le Mans win' on the same $50m budget. You have to go in big if you want the 'easy win'. You have to not only produce a good car quickly, you have to now take on all of the experience and expertise that Toyota have gained over this decade. You don't do that by spending the same money. And whilst you're on a reduced knowledge base compared to your very well honed competitor, doing a reduced schedule is not going to help.

You could absolutely run an LMP1 team on $50m or less. You just won't easily beat Toyota on it. And it's hard selling $50m a year to the board when your pitch is 'We probably won't win'.

The manufacturers were not going to come and fight Toyota on a dead rule set. Change had to happen. The change they've opted for isn't particularly good, but there was no option.
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