After many twists and turns, the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, first round of the endurance world championship, vintage 2021, will indeed be run this Sunday, May 1st. But the WEC competitors are already there, and even on the track, as part of the Prologue of this new season.
They thus release a first version – because others will undoubtedly follow very soon – of the performance balance (BoP) supposed to define a (fragile) balance of opportunities within the same category.
All eyes, or many of them, are obviously on the new Le Mans Hypercar (LMH) class. But its only representatives for this opening race will be Toyota, with its GR010 Hybrid, and Alpine, which benefits from a derogation for this year since it is authorized to enter what is similar to a simple 100% thermal LMP1.
Very close to that used by Rebellion until last season, the prototype of the Blues also leaves with a certain handicap, at least on paper. The power of his Gibson V8 must not exceed 450 kW, or 612 hp, while the quantity of energy on board per relay is limited to 920 MJ (megajoules).
Values to be compared to the maximum power 520 kW authorized for the Toyota, as well as 964 MJ that it can dissipate between two stops. Advantageous characteristics, granted thanks to the use of a hybrid drivetrain.
Only the weight pleads in favor of the A480, this one in front accumulate a minimum of 930 kg against 1,040 kg for the GR010.
Inspired by that applied for several years in GT, this BoP replaces technology equivalence (EoT) hitherto privileged in the premier class in an attempt to put the different types of propulsion (gasoline, diesel, hybrid, etc.) on an equal footing.
LMP2s are obviously not affected because the private teams present within the category necessarily rely on one of the four approved chassis (Oreca, Dallara, Ligier, Riley-Multimatic) and the only authorized Gibson V8. For the record, these second-class prototypes dominated the first day of the Prologue, none of the LMH having set out in search of a really significant time.
To come back to GTE, tested with this regulatory system, the Ferrari 488 GTE Evo and Porsche 911 RSR of the Pro class see their minimum weight set at respectively 1,260 and 1,259 kg. The two European coupes are joined this week by the Corvette C8.R and its Minimum 1,235 kg.
Pre-season testing continues this Tuesday before the first free practice of the Ardennes event this Thursday afternoon.
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