How Can The New WEC Hypercar Class Capture The Magic of Group C?

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The WEC Hypercar class that will replace LMP1 next year as the highest class of endurance racing sanctioned by the FIA (LeMons be damned) has a lot to live up to. These cars will be racing the same courses traversed by the mighty Ford GT, Porsche 917, Mazda 787B and countless others.

While the new rulebook is supposed to cultivate competition between racers and consequently more excitement for spectators, the waning interest in LMP1 racing that led to the new class’s creation still poses a threat. But the idea here is to get people back into endurance racing, and if the glory days as depicted in Ford vs. Ferrari are going to be attainable, it’s probably going to take more than just reshuffling the classes of cars.

My first instinct is that manufacturer participation is key. Back in 1989, there were seven factory teams racing at Le Mans. With names like Porsche, Jaguar, and Marcedes but also Peugeot and Toyota on the track, spectators can feel a little bit of a connection between what they see on Circuit de la Sarthe and what they drive everyday. Luckily for us, a few manufacturers have already signed on to race Hypercars when the class launches, with Aston Martin, Toyota and endurance racing legends Peugeot among them. I think that could go a long way to getting people outside our little bubble of car-rabid nerds to pay attention again.

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But maybe that’s not it. Maybe something else could do it. Liveries? Sponsors? New courses? Let us know what your ideas for infusing the Hypercar class with what it needs to help endurance racing break back into the mainstream again in the comments below!

Max Finkel is a Weekend Contributor at Jalopnik.

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DISCUSSION

wheelerguy
Wheelerguy

It can’t. And it shouldn’t.

LMP1 at its best (2015) was the most advanced closed-top racing class around, faster than anything that isn’t an F1 or F2 car, and truly looked like they can usher in the future (if not of cars, then at least of endurance motorsports). LMP-Hyper should still lean towards that ideal, but realize that the landscape of racing—of motoring—has changed, and will keep on changing. Don’t merely call back to past glories, but do encourage road relevance. Don’t think that one rule change can lure every marque in LMP, but keep talking to them to see what’s important. And most importantly, don’t mess it up.

Dieselgate was a wrench in the system that ACO didn’t prepare for. They can’t risk getting caught with their pants down again should Toyota’s opposition leave after just three seasons at best. Encourage smaller, more experimental efforts so they can run Le Mans with the big boys. Re-tune GTE so it actually features the world’s best sportscars as they are in production (no MR waivers, for example).

Also I’ve been hearing and reading about millings on DPi rules convergence, which has the makings of a shambolic result but could be the best solution that puts factory efforts in LMP.