Toyota closed the practice of the WEC Constructors’ World Championship at Fuji on its home track, just as Red Bull did in F1 on Sunday in Suzuka on the Honda track which is the supplier of the Milton Keynes power unit.
Alpine A424 LMDh
Photo by: Alpine
BMW M Hybrid V8
Photo by: BMW AG
Obviously it is just a statistical coincidence that should not trigger any afterthought, but the Endurance World Championship still offers an appendix with the 8 Hours of Bahrain, before the curtain falls on the 2023 season and we think about a 2024 championship that will raise raising the bar further with the arrival of Lamborghini, BMW, Alpine and Isotta Fraschini.
Lamborghini SC63 LMDh
Photo by: Lamborghini Squadra Corse
#11 Isotta Fraschini Type 6 LMH-C: Marco Bonanomi, Jean-Karl Vernay
Photo by: Isotta Fraschini
Four brands that will give prestige to a category that has revitalized endurance racing, demonstrating that in the global automotive panorama there is not only F1. If in the GPs there is a regulation that does not provide for the penalization of those who win with the adoption of the Balance of Performance, a philosophy of performance parameterization that is not part of the DNA of the top automotive championship, the same cannot be said in the WEC, where they converge the Hypercars of two series promoted by championships with different standards (ACO-FIA and IMSA) and Prototypes with very different technical design characteristics.
#7 Toyota GR010 – Hybrid by Conway, Kobayashi, Lopez, ahead of #8 Toyota GR010 – Hybrid: Buemi, Hartley, Hirakawa
Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images
BoP stands for Balance of Performance: let’s talk about performance balance. Toyota dominated the 2023 season by taking advantage of its perfect knowledge of the championship: the GR010 Hybrid collected five successes out of six races held: Sebring, Portimao, Spa-Francorchamps, Monza and Fuji.
The Japanese, to make a run for it, missed out on success at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which in terms of points was worth triple. It was Ferrari who broke Toyota’s hegemony in the Sarthe, returning with an absolute car after 50 years: the success of the Cavallino team, led by Antonello Coletta, had enormous media coverage which greatly annoyed the Japanese brand.
The WEC regulations prohibit any form of comment on the BoP by the competitors, but Toyota’s leaders had not hesitated to criticize the technical criteria (weight, power, available energy and hybrid activation) with which the 24 Hours was contested of Le Mans, claiming that the 499P was favored.
#93 Peugeot Totalenergies 9X8: Paul Di Resta, Mikkel Jensen, Jean-Eric Vergne
Photo by: Andy Chan
Here are the BoP variables applied to Fuji
|Toyota GR010 Hybrid||1,080 kg||514 kW||907 MJ||190 km/h|
|Ferrari 499P||1,076 kg||505 kW||898 MJ||190 km/h|
|Porsche 963||1,054 kg||514 kW||894 MJ||190 km/h|
|Peugeot 9X8||1,038 kg||520 kW||903 MJ||135 km/h|
|Cadillac V-Series.R||1,039 kg||505 kW||505 MJ|
The complaint, outside the rules, but not sanctioned, led to a revision of the BoP so much so that for the Monza event and then also for the Fuji one and the effects were very clear: Toyota dominant, Porsche and Peugeot recovering , Ferrari down, not to mention punished. And, then, it is legitimate to ask ourselves if we ever see the 499P in the game, it is a sign that there is something in the infamous BoP that does not work: the two Maranello cars ended up lapped in Japan due to the objective lack of pace and not due to problems technical or reliability.
The staff of Xavier Mastelan Dinon, FIA technical manager of the WEC, will have to review something before November 4, when the 8 Hours of Bahrain, the last event of 2023, will take place: evidently what is considered an infallible algorithm, perhaps, needs some revision in view of a 2024 championship that promises to be amazing.
The function of the BoP should be to bring as many cars as possible closer to the top, to broaden the range of possible Toyota contenders and not to take out of the game what seemed to be the main contender of those who dictate the law.
The Ferrari 499P in battle with the Porsche 963 of the Jota team
Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images
The championship was able to attract the attention of a public that is passionate about endurance racing: it must not be the regulatory alchemy that ruins a series that has been able to attract the great manufacturers with well-defined objectives and costs. Brands, however, just as they arrived, are also capable of leaving quickly if they don’t have the feeling of playing at least a leading role.
It is clear that there is always only one person who wins, but the BoP tool is a very dangerous game depending on how it is used: it is one thing if it serves as a… lift for those trying to reach the top and another if it creates air gaps for those in flight.
#WEC #BoP #alchemy #hasnt #formula