Report: Ford, Porsche, Ferrari Absent From WEC Hypercar Meetings
Next-gen top-level WEC endurance racers are meant to be hypercar-like prototypes, but don't expect to see any of these automakers racing in the class.
Ford and Ferrari have reportedly ceased attending the meetings that will influence the next generation of top-class FIA World Endurance Championship endurance racing cars.
The as-of-yet unnamed category is meant to attract manufacturers with "hypercar concept" body styles—hypothetically adaptable into road cars—and lower program operating costs. Involved automakers are known to include Toyota and Aston Martin, while Koenigsegg has expressed interest in the regulations. Reportedly no longer involved are Ferrari, Ford, and Porsche, which have allegedly skipped the last few regulatory meetings.
"We're still following the process to see where it goes," explained Ford Performance global motorsports director Mark Rushbrook to Sportscar365. "We've established what our principles are that would interest us in that series or not, and we're following along to see where it ends up. Our principles are that it's got to be global, meaning the same set of rules exist in WEC and IMSA, it's got to be affordable, and it's got to be relevant."
Ford's requirement is easy for FIA WEC to meet, but trickier for IMSA according to its president Scott Atherton, as Daytona Prototype International teams' annual budgets are significantly lower than those of comparable WEC LMP1 teams.
"Even with those significant reductions, the proposed budgets, the talked about budgets that are connected with this generation of car, still represent a significant increase over where we are today [with DPi]," stated Atherton to Sportscar365. "We have manufacturers that have expressed similar concerns that even with the reductions that have been proposed, it’s still not to the level that would give them the opportunity to participate, and that’s where the challenge lies."
Nevertheless, IMSA hopes it can meet the FIA's budgetary goals.
"Nothing's changed from our perspective coming out of the announcements at Le Mans in that we're committed to seeing this process through," Atherton concluded. "The goal right now is to be aligned in this global platform which is coming at you full speed…It's a full commitment on our part to see this through, and I think our voice in the room is valid."