It’s not just Formula 1 with a huge rule change on the horizon – the WEC is trying to sort something out as well. With Toyota being the only major manufacturer left in LMP1 this season, the FIA and ACO are set to release a new rule set planned to come into effect for the 2020/21 season to try and attract more. The full details are expected to be revealed in a month or so, but a key selling point is that the cars will be made to more closely resemble road cars.
McLaren CEO Zak Brown was chatting about it in Barcelona at the weekend and said that the combination of the new rules and the allure of Le Mans means that McLaren is interested in heading back to the top level of endurance racing.
“We would definitely consider it. We are considering it. The rules as they’re being proposed we find compelling. We would consider running the new whatever they’re going to call it – GTP, Silhouette, LMP1 – I’ve heard various phrases. But I think what’s exciting is trying to go to Le Mans to win outright. That’s the highest value for a racing team.”
Errrm, McLaren back at Le Mans? Yes please! It’s not the first time it’s been hinted at, although this seems much more serious. Brown also said that racing in multiple categories is part of McLaren’s heritage, and suggested that a future F1 budget cap could free up the funds needed to enter other series.
“McLaren has a long history in additional forms of motorsport, whether that was CanAm, IndyCar, we’ve won Le Mans. And with the new regulations coming up for World Endurance [Championship], we are participating in those meetings, and reviewing what that looks like. We’re a fan of the Le Mans brand.
“As we look at the budget cap, and how do you manage that, looking at additional forms of motor racing is something we are considering.”
Brown added that McLaren’s shareholders are definitely interested in branching out beyond F1, so getting the go-ahead shouldn’t be too difficult. And McLaren already has a quality driver in Fernando Alonso who’s willing to race anything…
It’s not just McLaren keeping a close eye on the WEC, either. Toyota is keen to stick around, with Ford, Aston Martin, and Ferrari also involved in discussions. It’s looking like the future WEC rules could prove to be as much of a shake-up as the future F1 rules could be…