WEC To Cut LMP2 Class from 2024: Report
LMP2 cars may be dropped from the world’s premiere endurance competition, but the class will still remain relevant going forward.
The LMP2 class could soon be eliminated from the World Endurance Championship (WEC).
As reported by Autosport, a plan to cut LMP2 is to be submitted to the FIA World Motor Sport Council. The series could drop the LMP2 class from competition from 2024, though the cars could still run at the championship's Le Mans 24 Hours round.
The burgeoning Hypercar class is likely a key reason behind the move. In 2023, the WEC grid will feature at least 11 Hypercar entries. Manufacturer entries from Cadillac, Ferrari, Peugeot, Porsche, and Toyota will contest the championship. There's scope for that to expand to 15 entries if Glickenhaus and Vanwall also bring two cars apiece to the grid.
2024 will see more manufacturers enter the fray in the LMDh class. Alpine, BMW, and Lamborghini are set to join in, with potential for further privateer entries as well. This could expand the grid to over 20 cars. Further complicating the issue is the expected expansion of GT entries in the tentatively-named GTLM class. All up, the coming changes are set to leave little space on the grid for LMP2 cars, bar the Le Mans race which boasts 62 slots.
Pierre Fillon, president of the Automobile Club de l'Ouest which promotes the WEC, cited space on the grid as the primary problem. "Circuits that can accommodate more than 36 or 38 cars are few and far between," said Fillon, adding that “If manufacturers push the grid up to 20 or 25 cars in the top class, there will not be a lot of room left for the others."
Fillon also indicated the importance of Hypercar to the future success of the WEC, which appears to take precedence over the LMP2 class. However, Fillon was quick to state that LMP2 was still important, noting the class was "crucial" to the discipline of endurance racing.
LMP2 is by no means dead. It's set to debut a new-generation car in 2026. It will also remain a top-flite category in the European and Asian Le Mans Series, and hold a place in the North American IMSA SportsCar Championship, too. WEC CEO Frederic Lequien also noted that LMP2 was key as a home to privateer prototype entries.
According to Autosport, it's presently understood that top LMP2 competitors from Europe, North America, and Asia would have entry slots reserved at Le Mans. It's expected that the number granted would be greater than the five LMP2 teams that entered the 2022 race.
Not everyone is sad about the changes to come. Boss of the United Autosports team, Richard Dean, saw success in LMP2 when is team claimed the 2019/2020 WEC LMP2 title as well as the 2020 European Le Mans Series crown. While he saw the LMP2 class as a great part of the WEC in recent years, he's happy to see the championship move on to welcome the new Hypercar class as the way forward.
Fundamentally, it looks like LMP2 will continue to be an important endurance racing class for years to come. At the same time, it seems likely it will leave the WEC to make room for the growing list of Hypercar competitors. As is always the case in motorsport, the only constant is change.
Got a tip? Let the author know: email@example.com