The 2022 edition of the World Endurance Championship welcomes a series of changes to the Sporting Regulations over a series of topics.
For the 10th season of the championship, we are already prepared for a 39-car grid full of numerous new names, both drivers and teams.
Beyond this excitement, however, further alterations have been made to the Sporting Regulations on the likes of testing, driving times, and more for 2022.
The number of testing days has been capped further for Hypercar teams, with 10 days of maximum (private and open tests) per car to be entered in the championship.
Elsewhere, there will be an allocated maximum of 20 days (private and open tests) per team, each of whom will have a maximum of four days of private testing.
Dry weather tyres have also been limited for Hypercar testing but the limits of private testing will not affect competitors entered with a car/model in its first season following its date of homologation (Peugeot would be unaffected).
Speaking of testing, the WEC Rookie Test held annually at the end of each season has faced a few changes.
The regulations now state that one car of each homologated model in the Hypercar category must participate, likely to take place in Bahrain as it has been since 2015.
Furthermore, every winning car in each category must have at least one entry in the test and complete a minimum of 30 laps during it.
Driving Times per race
Across each of the four classes, any driver who has driven less than one hour in total will not score points in the championship.
Driver times for six- and eight-hour races have also been amended:
In a six-hour race, the minimum driving time for a Silver or Bronze-rated driver in LMP2 is 1hr15m and for GTE Am, it is 1hr45m.
For an eight-hour race, the minimum driving time for Silver and Bronze drivers in LMP2 will be two hours and in GTE Am it will be 2hr20m.
End of race penalties
As per Article 16.3.3, if a penalty is notified on the timing screens during the last five laps of the race and the car does not serve the penalty, then a 30-second penalty will be added for a Drive-Through penalty, and 35 seconds will be added for a Stop-and-Go penalty.
This proves relevant after the controversial ending last year to the GTE-Pro championship title fight where the #51 AF Corse made contact with the #92 Porsche, sending it into a brief spin in the final 10 minutes.
AF Corse were ordered to return the position on the next lap, which then did not happen because the Porsche pitted – as it was predicted to make a splash-and-dash fuel stop. The Ferrari did the same on the next lap, again, expected due to the similar fuel strategies being run.
The situation was unique and could have not been full predicted from afar, and Race Control were at no fault as they punished the Ferrari in such a way the title fight would have been kept alive.
This sporting adjustment will encourage drivers to take their penalties as soon as possible, or they face a substantial punishment by not doing so.
Other changes to note
A few measures in the pitlane have been altered. For instance, the teams will now be allowed to use skates in order to place a car correctly in the working lane.
Also, the position of a driver helper has been reintroduced so a designated crew member can assist during driver changes.
And finally, Hypercar competitors will be restricted to 20 staff per car or 22 for cars when it is a car homologated with ERS – the latter of which will apply to Toyota and Peugeot.
The ‘Slow Zones’ – neutralised portions of the track with an 80 km/h speed limit – will no longer apply in the WEC, only at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Finally, whilst it is not a sporting regulation change, a worthy mention should go to recently-retired driver Anthony Davidson.
The 42-year-old will replace Allan McNish in the official television broadcast commentary team alongside lead commentator Martin Haven and analyst Graham Goodwin.