WEC reduces LMP2 performance to increase gap with Hypercar

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At the end of the LMP1 era in 2020, the fastest cars in the top class were running sub-3min 20secs laps at Le Mans, while the quickest LMP2s were capable of dipping into the high 3min 20secs. With the new-for-2021 Hypercar class having a target lap time of around 3min 30secs, it was clear LMP2 needed pegging back in order to ensure differentiation between the categories.

The initial plan was to use a much harder spec tire from Goodyear,  coupled with a 30kW cut in engine power, however, following testing with the proposed compounds it was found the harder rubber led to driveability issues, thus the ACO and FIA have had to adopt a different approach.

The LMP2 Gibson-produced engines will now be detuned to 400kW instead of the previous limit of 450kW. Furthermore, mirroring the approach in the Hypercar category, a single aero kit has been made mandatory across the whole season and will be limited to the low-downforce Le Mans specification. The minimum weight of the cars has also been increased by 20kg and set at 950kg.

The ACO notes that a lower power limit will contribute to reduced running costs by extending the lifespan of certain engine components. The changes will be introduced in all competitions (FIA World Endurance Championship, European Le Mans Series, Asian Le Mans Series) where LMP2 cars eligible to compete in the 2021 Le Mans 24 Hours are used.

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he is responsible for content across UKI Media & Events' portfolio of websites while also writing for the company's print titles.

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