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New Rulebook Opens The Door For Hypercars To Race At Le Mans

Motorsport / 6 Comments

McLaren Senna and Aston Martin Valkyrie among the leading contenders.

The latest hypercars promise to absolutely shatter our notions of what we thought the automobile could do – on road, and track. Now it looks like they're about to undergo their biggest test yet. At its most recent meeting, the FIA's World Motor Sport Council approved a radical new plan for the World Endurance Championship and its headline event, the 24 Hours of Le Mans. And while the details are still being worked out, the bottom line is that it will mean converting hypercars like the Aston Martin Valkyrie and McLaren Senna to race spec.

Set to come into effect in 2020, the new regulations call for "freedom of design for brands based on a 'Hypercar' concept." Just which hypercars remains to be confirmed, but rumors have been circulating for some time that the Senna and Valkyrie could be among them. Both McLaren and Aston Martin have taken part in formulating the new rules, as have Ferrari and Ford (which currently field their 488 and GT supercars in the GTE class) and Toyota (the last manufacturer left in the hybrid LMP1 class). The current top class has been dying a slow death over the course of the past several years, with manufacturers like Porsche, Audi, Nissan, and Peugeot all shutting down their LMP1 programs.

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Apparently the costs have just been too high, but series organizers are out to cut costs drastically to "one quarter of current LMP1 budgets," according to the FIA. If Toyota remains committed to the format, as it's reiterated, it could develop something new like the GR Super Sport concept it showcased at the Tokyo Auto Salon earlier this year. It wouldn't be hard to imagine the Ford GT brought up to spec, either. And Ferrari could similarly upgrade its 488 GTE or base its entry on something more exotic like the FXX-K/LaFerrari. Nor would it be hard to imagine, at that rate, other manufacturers like Lamborghini, Porsche, and Mercedes getting in on the action, too.