Can The ‘Indies' Save LMP1?
Autosport|January 04,2018

After the shock withdrawal of Audi and Porsche from LMP1 in the past two years, the top level of the WEC will be bolstered by new privateer entries for the 2018-19 superseason.

Gary Watkins

The privateer is back. Back as an important component of the premier LMP1 class at the Le Mans 24 Hours and in the World Endurance Championship. And, quite possibly, back in the hunt for outright victories against factory opposition.

This had been the avowed intent of the rulemakers, most pertinently the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, organiser of Le Mans and promoter of the WEC, as it strived to resurrect LMP1 privateer participation that slumped to a one-car low at the 24 Hours last year.

The efforts to revive interest among independents have proved successful. Rules the ACO has put in place together with the FIA are attracting a growing band of privateers ready to step up to the plate to take on Toyota at the front of the WEC field. There should be a minimum of seven non-hybrid P1 contenders run by independents on the grid when the 2018-19 super season kicks parity between non-hybrid independent machinery and the high-tech factory cars in September. At the same time the privateer sub-class was removed because the intent now is that all LMP1 machinery will race together. That commitment was made as part of a radical overhaul of the WEC after Porsche’s announcement that it was leaving LMP1, but green shoots of recovery were already beginning to appear.

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