LMP2 teams in the FIA World Endurance Championship and the European Le Mans Series will have to adapt to radical changes specified by a new rules package just weeks before the start of their respective 2021 seasons.
The raft of late changes are to be enforced after the decision was taken to withdraw the proposed 2021 Goodyear tire specs, designed to assist the separation of pace between the incoming Hypercars in a new-look WEC top class, and the LMP2s. Goodyear was appointed as sole tire supplier for LMP2 in the WEC and ELMS from 2021 last year.
The new tires were set to sit alongside a 30kw power reduction for the LMP2 class’s spec Gibson 4-liter normally aspirated V8 engines to provide a performance reduction for the extremely rapid LMP2s.
Recent testing however saw significant negative comment from teams around the driveability of the new rubber, with customers reporting high levels of dissatisfaction with the feel of the new tires.
Instead, teams in the ELMS — whose 2021 season starts with an official pre-season test in just 10 days time in Barcelona — and the FIA WEC, which starts its season at Spa Francorchamps in late April, will see three key changes implemented, two with immediate effect:
• Base weight will increase by 20 kg, to 950 kg
• There will be a further 20 kw power reduction over and above the original 30 kw proposed and tested
• All LMP2s will have to run with the previously Le Mans-only low-drag, low-downforce body kits (this change to be introduced from the second round of the ELMS to allow parts supplies to reach all teams)
An associated letter from Goodyear to their customers states as follows:
“Over the past 12 months we have been working on achieving the targeted performance reduction set out by the FIA and ACO at the end of 2019, to meet the correct performance window required for the LMP2 tires and the new stratification for 2021.
“Through that process it has become evident to all parties that fully achieving their required performance reduction in tires will bring ‘driveability’ consequences that are not acceptable to all parties.
“As a result, it has been decided to adopt a more balanced approach in selecting the tire specifications to begin the season. With the support of the ACO and the FIA partners, further measures will therefore have to be applied to manage the performance level. We look for your understanding in these unprecedented times for us all to be able to achieve the desired results.”