It is no secret that the top levels of the WEC championship is in disarray. LMP1 has been dominated by hybrid technology in recent years with Audi, Porsche and Toyota battling it out. 2018 will be a completely different story though. Audi left in 2016, followed by Porsche in 2017. Only Toyota remain at the top echelons of the Le Mans series.
For the 2018 season, the rules remain largely unchanged. Toyota are the only manufacturer effort with three other teams fielding LMP1 teams. The FIA have attempted to address the balance of performance to ensure some element of competition in LMP1 but the grid is looking pretty sparse compared to recent years.
Talk is now rife about what will happen with endurance racing’s flagship racing series for coming seasons. Aston Martin have waded into the discussion with a statement of intent. It has been suggested that if the rules change, moving away from the current focus on prototype racers, to road car inspired efforts, Aston Martin might look at expanding its Valkyrie program.
Talking to Autocar, Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer confirmed that he had been approached by the FIA on future regulations for sportscar racing.
Palmer is quoted as having said: “…if they allowed racing derivatives of road cars, that would be very interesting to us and, I suspect, the fans. Road-derived race cars fighting for the win is in keeping with the history of sportscar and Le Mans racing, and the prospect of the likes of Valkyrie fighting against McLaren P1, LaFerrari and more would be interesting to more than just me, I suspect.”
Is this confirmation that LMP1’s days are numbered? Possibly. With Mercedes-AMG planning a similar hypercar to the Valkyrie, BMW said to be flirting with a hypercar and McLaren also working on a number of projects, it could be the perfect opportunity! Watch this space…