Imagine the McLaren Senna GTR battling the Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro on the track.
Big changes are happening in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. From 2020, the top-tier LMP1 class will be replaced with a new yet-to-be-named hypercar prototype class. The aim is to attract more manufacturers to compete in the endurance race since it will be cheaper to enter and the race cars will more closely resemble their road car counterparts.
Each car will have one hybrid system on the front axle delivering around 268 hp paired with an internal combustion unit producing 697 hp, bringing the total output to around 1,000 hp in cars that only weigh around 2,300 pounds. It's going to be an exciting new era for the iconic endurance race.
So far, the only manufacturer confirmed to enter the new hypercar class is Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus with its 007 hypercar. Toyota could also be developing a new hybrid hypercar for the class inspired by the GR Super Sport concept, and Aston Martin and Koenigsegg have shown interest in the new hypercar prototype class. Now, McLaren has discussed the possibility of racing a hypercar concept prototype at the FIA World Endurance Championship.
"It is definitely something we are evaluating, although I wouldn't call it a plan yet," McLaren Racing boss Zak Brown told Motorsport.com. "It would be risky to make our debut at the Le Mans 2021, so we would need to be ready a race or two beforehand. Whether we are ready to go racing in April or May 2021 depends on how quickly we can make a decision."
Now that the technical regulations for the WEC's new top class have been published, McLaren hopes to reach a decision in the first half of 2019. "We are closer to a decision now that the rules are final," he said. "We are pleased with the way they have ended up, so the ball is now in our court and we're hard on it. There are lots of things to consider: we have to put it together technically and fiscally, and we have to consider Formula 1, which will remain our priority."
McLaren last raced at Le Mans in 1998 with the F1 GTR. The automaker is already busy preparing the track-only Senna GTR hypercar, which has 816 hp and generates a metric ton of downforce, which could potentially race in the new hypercar prototype class – we'd love to see it battle the Aston Martin Valkyrie AMR Pro on the track.