Pascal Vasselon, technical director of Toyota Gazoo Racing, said the decision by the WEC rules makers, the FIA and the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, to unilaterally make revisions outside the method of applying the new BoP rules introduced for 2023, has created an unpleasant precedent.
“We can say that we were surprised that the regulations were changed without the agreement of all the manufacturers – Vasselon told Motorsport.com – We are concerned that this could lead to hiding the performance to obtain a favorable BoP”.
The new BoP guidelines developed this year by the FIA, ACO and the manufacturers participating in the WEC Hypercar class allowed only minimal changes in the first four races of the 2023 season, up to Le Mans (10 and 11 June), in view to eliminate system manipulations.
Before the 24 Hours it was only possible to make one change to the balance between the LMH and LMDh, although different manufacturers have offered different interpretations as to when such a change could be made.
Larger changes to individual BoPs are planned after Le Mans, but were in theory only possible before, with the unanimous agreement of the seven brands competing in the WEC’s premier class.
But the FIA and ACO exercised their right as WEC supreme arbiters to impose a new BoP last week, ahead of today’s Le Mans Test Day.
#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010 – Hybrid: Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez
Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images
“The principle was to discourage people from hiding because there were no adjustments. When that happens, it creates an incentive to do so.”
The decision to issue a revised BoP incorporating large-scale changes to cars built under the two regulations was described in a joint FIA/ACO statement as “a fix”.
The decision proved necessary because the performance differences of the cars built to LMH rules were “greater than originally anticipated” after Toyota dominated the first three races of the series.
Vasselon did not confirm that the FIA and ACO had promised the manufacturers that there would be no further reviews between Test Day and the start of next Saturday’s race.
He also declined to discuss the details of the changes, which will force the Toyota GR010 HYBRID to carry 37kg more than at the last two WEC rounds.
“We are surprised and see negative consequences; I can’t say more. As usual, discussing the details of the BoP, who got what, is of no interest to us.”
The Ferrari 499P LMH, the second fastest car in the WEC so far this year, received a minimum weight increase of 24kg, the Cadillac V-Series.R by 11kg and the Porsche 963 LMDh by three kilograms.
#94 Peugeot Total Energies Peugeot 9X8 – Hybrid: Loic Duval, Gustavo Menezes, Nico Mu?lle
Photo by: Paul Foster
The 9X8 LMH from Peugeot, Glickenhaus and Vanwall will run with an unchanged BoP.
Vasselon did not indicate how long the new minimum weight will cost for the GR010 at Le Mans’ 13.626km Circuit de la Sarthe.
The new minimum weight of 1080kg compares with the 1070kg the car weighed in last year at Le Mans. Toyota driver and team principal Kamui Kobayashi said it will be 1.2s per lap in a tweet following the BoP release on Wednesday.
The on-track action at Le Mans begins at 10.00am on Sunday with the first of two three-hour Test Day sessions.