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Old 3 Feb 2017, 19:12 (Ref:3709130)   #2176
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Those new P1 projects won't materialize. History has shown that.
Why does that matter? History doesn't always repeat itself. To me that's like saying the future dpi projects won't materialize.
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Old 3 Feb 2017, 19:17 (Ref:3709133)   #2177
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I don't see how it's circling the drain, just because P1 is struggling. There are so many back-up classes that are ready to jump in if needed. You could easily drop P1 and GTE-Am if things got really bad and introduce GT3 and LMP3, since ACO already have classes with these cars in them.

It isn't looking like it'll be a classic year, but 28 cars is not circling the drain.
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Old 3 Feb 2017, 20:01 (Ref:3709142)   #2178
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An important note, in any given international 6 hour race there is 4 titles involved:

FIA World Endurance Championship for LMP1
FIA Endurance Trophy for LMP2
FIA GT World Championship for LM GTE Pro
FIA Endurance Trophy for LM GTE Am

Also formerly the FIA Endurance Trophy for LMP1 Private Team. LMP1 and GTE Pro are the only two categories that meet the requirements for an FIA world championship and they had a hell of a time convincing them the third class in a four class series should be one as it is.
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Old 3 Feb 2017, 20:11 (Ref:3709149)   #2179
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That's about par for the course now days though. IMSA has 4 titles for the 4 classes, plus the NAEC. At one point they had the Green X Michelin Challenge Cup Trophy Event Thing. That thing that nobody knew how it worked or who won - the winner was announced via an excel spreadsheet formula that spat out a team name.

I don't think anyone except the drivers and teams really care if something is a trophy or a championship. The end result is the same to the viewers.
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Old 3 Feb 2017, 20:27 (Ref:3709157)   #2180
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The point is really that the championship exists for the sake of LMP1 and everyone else just gets to show up. Without LMP1 there basically isn't a series, in the same way the FIA GT1 World Championship was predicated on being GT1. That will pretty much only happen if people start insisting on racing Le Mans without doing the WEC though, the prospect of winning the 24 hours overall will always attract someone.

Mind you were the scenario to happen the resulting Le Mans Series would have a pretty incredible LMP2 championship anyways.
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Old 3 Feb 2017, 21:06 (Ref:3709174)   #2181
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It doesn't really matter why everyone else turns up though does it? You still have Gold and Silver drivers bringing large amounts of cash and funding teams. Even if LMP1 disappeared tomorrow, Thirriet would still be throwing cash at his car, and Rusinov would still be throwing dodgy Russian money at his car, whilst DC Racing would still be running, etc.

I think I'm missing your point. Most of the focus is on LMP1. If it disappeared, the whole thing still exists. If LMP1 goes away, it isn't impossible to race with LMP2 as the top class, just because it's listed as a Trophy rather than Championship.
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Old 3 Feb 2017, 21:36 (Ref:3709178)   #2182
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As things are today, any of the current two LMP1 manufacturers could leave, they have the right to do it as Audi did. Until the end of 2016 it was another story because with two team in LMP1-P and with lot of different cars at P2, the manufacturers could leave and there would been something to show. But as things are today, it is very importante to have more LMP1-P next year just in case the higher class make implosion.
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Old 3 Feb 2017, 22:42 (Ref:3709188)   #2183
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Manor is joining and Kolles will stay, there's at least 2 teams plus Toyota and Porsche. Neither has said they're pulling out. Now is a better time to stay put and build up because they have less competition.
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Old 3 Feb 2017, 22:55 (Ref:3709190)   #2184
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I had a ridiculously long, boring response, and luckilly for all you guys, lost it before I could post.

Basically, as the author said, WEC is already in its second iteration ... this one might or might not survive.

I think it will, but the ultra-expensive P1-H class might not ... if Toyota decides the quarter billion dollars it costs is more then the profit the program provides in increased sales of Corollas ....

Also, while people might be buying more hybrids, most people buying hybrids aren't likely to be impressed by racing, which they will likely either ignore or find wastefully destructive ....

FIA might have gotten carried away with itself with P1-H. Yes, factories want to showcase their latest tech, but really, only if if t sells car. Audi was pushing Performance diesels, so it lobbied for pro-diesel rules.

Well, VW drove a stake through the heart of that idea. And hybrids ... the hybrids people want are econobox cars with comforts, not 918s. So ... P1-H might go away.

In which case, a bunch of teams will jump into P1-L as a suddenly affordable way to race in the top class in the world. And if this happens ... a DPi-based team might have a chance. Some manufacturer would need to commit a bundle of money byt Not the $200 million minimum P1-H costs ... and not building a new car every year or two.

FIA has a habit of totally revamping the rules every three years, pretty much obsoleting previous version. If they cannot get away from that silliness, I don't see P1-H surviving ... it costs too much, and who besides Porsche really stands to gain from designing and building a pair or trio of new $100 million hybrids every couple years? Does Porsche even benefit?

FIA might start to feel the economic pinch now that Audi is gone ... and if Toyota leaves, I don't see any factory eager to jump in until the rules changes to a more affordable formula.
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Old 3 Feb 2017, 23:28 (Ref:3709192)   #2185
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I'm saying from years ago, that Toyota will leave as soon as they win Le Mans. If that occurs, then Porsche will leave too and we will have private P1 teams and why not some DPi team joining too with upgraded cars.

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Old 4 Feb 2017, 00:36 (Ref:3709202)   #2186
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Why would Toyota leave if they win? The rules are good for at least 3 years. If they have the car to beat, you stay and win more. They win LM once and they only tie Mazda. They win it twice or more, no Asian brand can claim that . And there's no way they spend a quarter billion on their program lol. They were quoted as saying it's about a quarter of what they spent in F1. So something from $300 million to $75 million. It looks the direct opposite of Toyota leaving. They finally committed to 3 cars for Spa and Le Mans, to me it looks like they're starting to put MORE into the program not wrapping it up. And they just signed the WTCC champion, for what, a one-year deal? Same thing with Porsche. They have a car eligible for 3 seasons, what's the point in quitting? I bet the WEC is giving them nice incentives and reasons to stay in the future.
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Old 4 Feb 2017, 01:17 (Ref:3709219)   #2187
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Why would Toyota leave if they win?
The feeling I get is, maybe because of the amount Toyota spent in F1 for basically no results (Toyota was in F1? When?) Toyota mangement has been pretty unsure aboutthe P1 program all along ... sort of, "If you can do it for cheap, go ahead, but you had better get results and it had better not get expensive."

I feel like Toyota very begrudgingly sprung for a third car because they saw how close the team came in 2016 ... but I also get the feeling that they want the PR coup and then cut the program and spend the money telling everyone they are Le Mans winners.

Who cares if they tie or beat Mazda? I don't feel like Toyota has a strong racing culture at the top, the way Audi or Porsche might ... so they don't care about what Mazda might have won, or what Honda might win ... if they can call themselves "Le Mans winners" they have gotten as much out of the program as it can give them.

We think like racers, where a win is a win and moire wins are better, per se. At Toyota, if they thought that way, they;'d have had a three-car program from 2015. I think that there is tension on the Toyota board, with the "racers" being given a little cash, but the bean counters just dying for a chance to cut it out of the budget ... and I bet as soon as they win Le Mans, the cars go into museums, only seen again in ads.

After all, they are spending that $75 million or $100 million or whatever per year, whether they build new cars or not. New cars would have come on top of that.

Also, I will bet Porsche won't stint on its development budget, which means Toyota has to up the ante each year whether the regs demand it or not ...

Particularly since Porsche knows, it only has to beat Toyota to win Le Mans, and the championship. And Porsche Does have a culture of competition ... Porsche is completely willing to build a whole new factory complex to enter P1, while Toyota was willing to rehire its F1 engineers.

If Toyota wins Le Mans this year, Porsche will up the ante ... will Toyota Racing be able to convince the board of directors to open its wallets?
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Old 4 Feb 2017, 02:34 (Ref:3709226)   #2188
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For me, Toyota have the karma of losing the race three times. People remember this, they will need to win the race ten times to make people forget the defeats. So, I think they don't want to win the race, they have to win the race, and after that, they will focus in another thing.
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Old 4 Feb 2017, 03:01 (Ref:3709231)   #2189
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Toyota also has the new WRC programme.
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Old 4 Feb 2017, 03:21 (Ref:3709234)   #2190
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WEC's LMP1 is IMO circling the drain as far as short term growth because the ACO pushed too hard too fast with hybrid tech in the short term. They should've stuck with the 2011-2013 rules (maybe somewhat tweaked) for a couple of years longer. Then they should've ratcheted up the hybrid tech.

Audi Sport pulling out IMO had relatively little to do with dieselgate outside of it providing easy justification for them to pull the plug until new rules come into effect. Dieselgate wouldn't have done any favors with Audi continuing with a diesel engine, but because of the shifting emphasis on hybrid regs, they would've had to have abandoned the diesel engine sooner rather than later anyways to remain relevant from a performance standpoint.

But that would've forced them to run a gasoline engine, and with apparent redundancy of VAG running two programs with similar technology (Audi, Porsche and Toyota were already running broadly similar battery pack hybrid systems), plus the rules forcing everyone into basically the same direction, there was no incentive for Audi to continue unless they could do something different.

Not to mention return on investment: Audi were spending a lot more to only win two races a year the past couple of years than they did in 2012/13 when they dominated the WEC. IMO, the insane push for hybrid tech and switch from sonic air restrictors to fuel flow to control engine power had a lot to answer for on jacking up the cost on the ROI front. And it was such increased costs that made it less and less worth it for Audi, especially with limited scope for something unique on the tech front.

Dieselgate can't be discredited for the Audi Sport exit, but it's not for the reasons some want us to believe it is, and IMO, it's a cover for more convoluted, yet more easily understandable, reasons and they do show some problems with the ACO's methodology.

Cheaper tech while opening up the rules and avenues for development could've been a huge boon for the ACO. And sadly, as much as the basic concept seems ripe for it, it's also why DPI can't work as the top class at LM or in the WEC.

As much as I'd like to see stock block engines be a viable option for LMP1 like they used to be, having limited scope for development to keep cost down is not only IMO against the spirit of LMP1, but also has been shown to be an oxymoron. It may narrow the gaps between the haves and have nots, but that smaller gap ironically becomes harder to overcome if the rules paint everyone into a smaller box.

A mix of the two concepts while encouraging new technical avenues whilst encouraging sensible cost (aka, a slow and steady/keep it simple stupid approach) is the way to go for LMP1 in the future, especially if the ACO want to boost entries. But going full out DPI won't work. What works for a regional championship might not work for a world championship or the rest of the world. Touring car racing and stock car racing are popular in different parts of the world. Broadly, they're the same thing, but below the surface, they're different sub-classes of the same broad formula, and are popular in different forms in different parts of the world.
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