The latest generation of LMP1 machines have been making headlines the world over as arguably the most technically advanced motor racing cars in history. The pace of development has continued unabated, with Porsche in particular making a giant leap forward in terms of power and overall speed in the 2015 season. Lap times around the Circuit de la Sarthe, normally seen as a benchmark for prototype performance by governing body ACO, dipped below 3:17s in qualifying for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, well below the unofficial “target” lap time of 3:30.
The ACO and the FIA seemingly felt that the had to act, especially in view of next season’s new LMP1 regulations. The World Motorsport Council, the FIA’s rule-making committee, met earlier this week in Paris and announce a limit on releasable power for energy recovery systems (hybrid systems) to prevent total output from exceeding 1000bhp.
LMP1 teams are notoriously coy on their power outputs, but the current championship-leading Porsche 919 Hybrid is rumoured to run far in excess of this amount when engine and hybrid system are fully deployed. After initial confusion about the new regulation, the FIA clarified that this limitation applies to Le Mans only. This may have a serious impact on LMP1 programmes moving forward, with the likes of Nissan basing their entire LMP1 concept around power outputs significantly in excess of the 1,000-hp mark.
Image: WEC-Magazin / Walter Schruff