Motorsport bosses have developed plans to allow machines based on cars such as the Aston Martin Valkyrie and McLaren Senna in endurance racing

Machines styled on hypercars and concept cars with hybrid powertrains producing 965bhp will fight for victory in the Le Mans 24 Hours from 2020.

The new rules, which will replace the current LMP1 endurance category, have been developed by the FIA, motorsport’s governing body, and Le Mans organisers the ACO.

The top category for the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) currently runs for expensive LMP1 prototypes, but it has struggled in recent years, with both Audi and Porsche quittingToyota is now the only manufacturer competing in the division.

McLaren Senna: first drive

The new rules are designed to slash costs for a season to around a quarter of those for LMP1 cars, making the category more attractive to manufacturers. Making cars that more closely resemble hypercars is also designed to add road relevance that will appeal to fans.

Toyota Gazoo GR Sport Concept could compete in 2020 Le Mans

Richard Mille, the FIA Endurance Commission boss, said: “We want cars that have high performance and please the fans. And we want regulations that make it possible for manufacturers to win Le Mans on a limited budget.”

The new rules call for two-seat cars featuring fixed aerodynamic downforce and drag settings, which will be tested, with greater freedom for the bodywork to take brand design styling cues. The roofline will be higher and the windscreen wider than current LMP1 cars, so that they more closely resemble road-going machines.

Notably, active aerodynamics, as seen on the McLaren Senna and Lamborghini Huracán Performante road cars, will be allowed because of their increasing road relevance.

The cars will be a set weight of 980kg, with weight distribution capped.

Le Mans 2018: how the Aston Martin Vantage GTE was created

Manufacturers will be given a free choice of internal combustion engine architecture, allowing for various capacities and turbo levels, with a fixed performance of 697bhp and a defined fuel flow. The engine will have a set minimum size, weight and centre of gravity.

All the cars in the class will then feature a 268bhp hybrid electric motor that will drive the front axles, offering four-wheel-drive. Any manufacturer can build a hybrid system – they will be homologated by the FIA, and any team that builds one must be able to supply other cars if required.

Porsche works driver Nick Tandy on his chances of a win at Le Mans

Cars will feature eight-speed gearboxes with one set of ratios.

Aston Martin and McLaren have been pushing for rules that would allow the likes of the Valkyrie and Senna to be allowed to compete for overall victory at Le Mans. The rules could also accommodate other forthcoming hypercar designs such as the Mercedes-AMG Project One.

Mercedes-AMG Project One likely to be built in Britain

Speaking before the detail of the regulations was released, Dave King, president of Aston Martin Racing, said: "Aston Martin, along with other manufacturers, is actively participating in the technical working group that is discussing the framework of regulations for the future of prototype racing. We're taking an active interest in this but have made no decisions on our future participation in this category."

The new rules are due to be introduced in 2020, with rule stability for five years to encourage manufacturers to commit.

The new class has yet to be named, with the FIA planning a fan vote before deciding on a final term later this year.

Le Mans bosses have also revealed that they want to open the event up to hydrogen fuel cell cars from 2024 onwards, although did not release further technical details of such cars.

This year's running of Le Mans takes place this weekend, with the race starting on 16 June at 2pm BST.

Read more

Aston Martin launches Valkyrie AMR Pro track car

Aston Martin Valkyrie could race at Le Mans if rules change

McLaren Senna: full technical breakdown of 789bhp hypercar

Our Verdict

Seat Arona

Seat is on a roll but can the Arona, its new junior SUV, cut it in such an ultra-competitive class?

Join the debate


7 June 2018

It's all very well allowing hypercars to compete in sportscar racing but to avoid a repeat of what happened in the mid to late 1990s when some hypercars where in fact purpose-built (P1) sports-prototypes, rules need to be such that there are no loopholes. Because the point of racing for many teams is to be better than the competition and if they can exploit the rule book and develop what is a pure-bred racing car, they will, In fact just look at the GT class in the WEC where we have a mid-engine 911 and the Ford GT which was designed for racing first, although neither are to the extreme of being sports-prototypes.


Also, world sportscar racing has almost always featured P1 (or equivalent) sports-prototypes because the series has also been about featuring top-level, advanced, super-fast and exquisite machinery that rival F1 cars, with manufacturers endeavouring to produce the best car possible within the rules as well as well showcasing and trialling technology. 


Sure, allow hypercars and recreate the GT1 class as was the case in the early 1990s when they were true road going cars adapted for the track, but not at the expense of the P1 class. Fans and racing enthusiasts love the awesomeness of the P1 cars, just revamp the rules to make the class more attractive and more competitive. Just don't dumb down P1. 


7 June 2018
Just do it please.

7 June 2018
Sounds like a return of the Gt1 class. Great idea but please no balance of performance because that kills inavation and kills brand fandom.

7 June 2018

I'd be interested in seeing them compete, rather than languish in collections in some warehouse. But, as Lanehogger points out, nailing the rules down to avoid the situation we had in the 90s and currently have in LMP1 is the key.

The article is a little misleading in saying Toyota is the only manufacturer in LMP1, implying they are the only ones there. Toyota is the only works team but there are several other privateer teams competing in LMP1 and, given Toyota's ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, you wouldn't bet against them.

7 June 2018

If they can ban the traction control...


Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Mercedes-AMG GLC 63 S road test review hero front
    Car review
    22 June 2018
    Is AMG's rapid GLC 63 SUV the answer to your prayers, or to a question nobody’s asking?
  • Dacia Duster 2018 first drive review hero front
    First Drive
    22 June 2018
    It's still not as refined as other SUVs, but in terms of sheer value the second-generation Duster is very much in a class of its own
  • Ford Ka+ Active 2018 first drive review hero front
    First Drive
    22 June 2018
    This SUV-inspired makeover for Ford’s city-friendly small car will find its fans, but the Ka+ Active doesn’t set any new benchmarks for the class
  • Suzuki Swift Sport 2018 long-term review hero front
    First Drive
    22 June 2018
    The Japanese hot hatch is all grown up in terms of character, technology and price, but is it still a fun-loving kid at heart? Let’s find out
  • 2018 Mitsubishi Shogun Sport 4
    First Drive
    21 June 2018
    Shogun Sport name returns to the UK, attached to a seven-seat 4x4 that, Mitsubishi hopes, deftly combines practicality, comfort and toughness