With a dearth of LMP1 entrants following the departure of Porsche and Audi, the World Endurance Championship was desperately in need of some good news. Sure, the GTE field has been better than ever in recent times, with a host of diverse and exciting sportscars, but the premier division is looking a little bare.
Fortunately that looks set to change with the FIA today confirming its 2020 WEC regulations will allow hypercars to enter the competition. It's part of a plan to reduce P1 budgets to a quarter of where they currently sit, the various manufacturers will be allowed "freedom of design" based on what the FIA is calling "a 'Hypercar' concept." While it apparently doesn't mean race versions of the cars of that ilk that are imminent - AMG Project One, Aston Valkyrie, Senna GTR, Brabham BT62 - it should be designs that are more closely linked to the road cars. When you consider the success of GT3 and GT3-style racing, that can't be a bad thing. Hopefully a more prominent role in motorsport could encourage more manufactuers to create similar cars: the Holy Trinity replacements, whatever Koenigsegg might conjure up next, and a potential Pagani replacement for the Zonda R.
The FIA says that more details about the 2020 Technical Regulations will be released at Le Mans next week, with a plan to encourage more female drivers into the WEC as well. Stay tuned...
Furthermore, the World Motor Sport Council decisions have also detailed that WRX will go electric from 2020. The FIA Electric World Rallycross Championship will stick to the same championship format as is currently used, but with four-wheel drive 'Silhouette-type' cars (with chassis from Oreca) and motors to Formula E spec. At the moment that means two motors from Williams for a total of 500kW along with "some restrictions aimed at controlling costs and development."
While the use of electric powertrains from one supplier and a control chassis for rallycross may ruffle a few feathers, it's worth remembering what Sebastien Loeb said about the move just a couple of weeks ago when PH interviewed him: "We don't dream about electric cars, but if the future for all cars is to be electric then it's normal that we'd make the swap. And in this case I think Rallycross is the best series to do it because it's very short, you have a lot of power, very fast cars and an intense fight, so I hope the spectators will still enjoy it without the noise. I think it will be important to find a way to make it a show, but for sure the performance will be there."
That's the opinion of Loeb then, but what about you? Will electric powertrains improve the spectacle of World Rallycross? And what about the change to WEC regs? Is the move to hypercars the shot in the arm that the series needs? Motorsport looks set to change pretty drastically over the next few years, that's for certain!