The Equivalence of Technology and Balance of Performance in the LMP1 and GTE categories was detailed earlier in the week ahead of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The FIA published a number of documents highlighting the formulas, strategies, and changes that were going to be made to the Equivalence of Technology (in LMP1) and the Balance of Performance (in GTE).
Season 8 of the WEC marks the final competitive running of the LMP1 category, since introducing the option of hybrid powertrains from the first WEC season in 2012.
For this year’s Le Mans 24H, there will be no implementation of the newly-introduced Success Ballast/Handicap in LMP1 which was dictated by championship position.
It would adjust parameters like fuel usage and (KERS) energy deployment on a per lap basis, all to fulfill a lap time deficit.
It will, however, be implemented at the final race of Season 8 in Bahrain.
The Equivalence of Technology (EoT) has been a WEC implementation for several years, looking to accommodate what were a diverse range of drivetrains in the past years – like Audi Team Sport Joest’s R18 diesel hybrid using a flywheel component to deliver its power and torque.
This would compare towards rival LMP1 competitors, whether they were manufacturers or privateers with their own choice of engine (hybrid, n/a, turbocharged etc).
The EoT adjusts areas to attempt to equalise the LMP1 competition, with Toyota having the only Hybrid-driven cars.
These areas include the use of fuel on a per lap basis and per stint (kg), and the deployment of KERS in the previous aspects (MJ) to work with a change in minimum weight.
In simple terms, the Balance of Performance (BoP) system, as seen in many other GT-based championships and categories, adjusts certain aspects of a car to balance the output of performance in sync with its competitors.
With GTE cars making a regular appearance at Le Mans, the FIA has looked at the previous races (in this case a focus on 2019) to ensure that the racing is closer.
The aspects include changing the weight of the car, and also the output of power/turbo boost by adjusting the air restrictor.
LM-GTE Pro and Am
The 88th edition of the historic endurance race will host the (Le Mans) debut of the Porsche 911 RSR-19 and will compete with a weight of 1286 kg, 20 kg heavier than its predecessor.
Furthermore, the 911 RSR-19 will also be running with a 30mm air restrictor (compared to 30.3 mm of 2019), affecting the output of power only slightly as a similar one was run for their WEC Season 8 commitments.
Fellow rivals Aston Martin and Ferrari faced no changes in terms of weight in comparison to last year, with AMR’s Vantage GTE running at 1246 kg and AF Corse’s 488 GTE Evo weighing in at 1279 kg.
AMR will be running a slightly different air restrictor, slightly increasing boost output, but not drastically in comparison to the values ran at the 2019 Le Mans ’24.
In the Am sub-category of GTE, the (2019-spec) Aston Martin Vantage GTE that will debut for the first time in this class, will be running at a weight of 1256 kg and will be granted 1l extra fuel capacity.
Competitors using the Porsches and the Ferraris faced a 10 kg increase in minimum weight, now running at 1276 kg for the Porsche and 1289 kg for the Ferrari.
The specific BoP measures can be seen in the official documentation here.
It is also worth mentioning how the procedures for refuelling and pit stop strategies have been revised.
The new method by the FIA, accepted by all GTE manufacturers, utilises a new formula in which accounts for being able to fill up the tank partially, since there were several exclusions in previous years at the Le Mans 24H surrounding fuel-related infringements.
In the case of a full stint of 14 laps, the minimum pit-stop times in GTE-Pro will be 35 seconds, as GTE-Am has theirs’ at 42 seconds.
In terms of the duration added to that pitstop, each lap (of the car’s stint) would equate to 2.5s being added for a GTE-Pro competitor, and 3s on a GTE-Am.
Ahead of the class’ final pursuits at Le Mans, the minimum weight of the Toyotas has been increased compared to last year’s Le Mans, from 888 kg to 895 kg.
As published earlier this Wednesday, these Equivalence of Technology (EoT) values are under the usual 932 kg that is usually run in the WEC season.
The weights between N/A and turbocharged privateer LMP1s remained unchanged from 2019, with 816 kg (for the normally-aspirated engines) and 833 kg (for the turbo-charged competitors).
There will only be five LMP1 entries in the class’ final competitive attendance at the Circuit de la Sarthe: the #7 and #8 (hybrid) Toyotas, the #1 and #13 Rebellions (n/a), and the #4 ByKolles Racing (turbo-charged).
Originally six were set, but Ginetta LNT dropped off the entry list as the Ginetta manufacturing facility in the UK faces a minimum four-week closure period, clashing with revised COVID restrictions in France. They will focus on testing in the meantime.
Unlike last year, there will be no SMP Racing entries after they departed at the end of the Super Season (2019, Le Mans ’24).
The maximum consumption of fuel per stint, for privateers, was increased to 11 laps to bridge the gap between them and the Toyotas.
The driving stints were a key focus amongst the adjustments made to the EoT.