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Have Your Say: Has LMP1 Prototype Racing Had Its Day?

Discussion in 'Motorsports' started by Paul Jeffrey, Jun 17, 2017.

  1. Paul Jeffrey

    Paul Jeffrey
    RaceDepartment Editor-in-Chief Staff Premium

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    Have Your Say - LMP1.jpg
    With a record low five works LMP1 cars for the biggest sportscar race of them all this year, the question has to be asked if Prototype racing has just become too expensive to remain relevant in modern motorsport.

    For years now the LMP1 Prototype category of endurance racing has represented the biggest, fastest and most technologically advanced form of GT racing in the world. However since the withdrawal of the works Audi squad and lack of any new challenges within the World Endurance Championship, has this spectacular class of racing run its course in its current configuration, or have the last couple of years been merely a blip on the radar before bigger and better things lay ahead?

    Globally motorsport has been in recession for a number of years now, with many manufacturers scaling down their investment in the sport and teams looking to tighten budgets across their many racing programmes throughout the world.

    Whilst the likes of established series such as the Formula One and the World Rally Championship have cut back on budgets and losing teams on a regular basis, the LMP1 prototype class had continued to grow and expand relatively unchecked. However recent trends suggest the level of investment required to remain at the top of the field in modern prototype racing is becoming unachievable for all but a few, is it time to change the formula or simply tough out the rough periods in the hope of better times ahead?

    The question for today therefor is:

    Does the current LMP1 ruleset prohibit the series from growing, and should the regulations be adjusted to encourage new manufacturers to enter the sport?

    This is a difficult question and one I expect will fire up plenty of diverse opinions from our readers, so as always I implore you to remain sensible and respect others opinions in the comments section please!
     
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  2. Will Mazeo

    Will Mazeo

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    The protos that can win the overall race had only 4 manufacturers since a decade (igoring the LMP1-PR class Nissan created), 2 of them being from the same group and never more than 3 on track at the same time. So yeah... "P1" never really worked at all. They should focus more on privateer teams.
    I know they want to push EV tech, but without going full battery development manufacturers won't join because for some unknown reason they believe EV will bring fans when reality is that majority of people that scream for EV does not really care about cars, they prefer their smartphones
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2017
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  3. Andrew Harper

    Andrew Harper
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    Well I suppose the selling point of LMP1 is also it's current weakness.

    It's factory only, which means big bucks and huge budgets. I have a feeling that even with "normal" powerplants the budgets will still be the same as the money will be spent elsewhere. That has always been around, look at the C1 days of Jaguar and Mercedes. I watched an old YouTube race the other day and they just dominated, the other small team C1 cars were nowhere.

    I guess the last glory days of LMP1 would be around the age of the Audi R8 when you had about a dozen LMP1 cars from various manufacturers. I see in 2010 we had around 18 LMP1 cars but the Audi's and Peugeot's were the only cars with a shot of overall victory.

    We will have LMP1 privateer cars next year so it will be interesting to see how that develops over 12 months but I still love the Hybrid LMP1's as they are amazing machines.

    We've had this before though of course, when I first went to Le Mans in '93 you only had 6 C1 cars in the race and in that race the Peugeot's dominated. At least with LMP1 this year you really don't know who's going to win.

    Unfortunately most of the major manufacturers are still leaning towards Formula E as their next step rather than Le Mans. The marketing teams all feel renewable energy is the next big thing not endurance racing.

    Having said that though, let's be positive. LMP1 is very close, LMP2 is the best it's ever been and the 24 hour battles I've seen in GTE over the last few years have been awesome as well.

    It is a tough one, some manufacturers are only interested in racing with hybrid or renewable energy, others want N/A or turbo engines so I don't envy the ACO at all.
     
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  4. Will Mazeo

    Will Mazeo

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    LMP2 new regs are just stupid... no reason to go spec engine, so no.. it's not the best it has ever been, not even close. Plus it went fast enough to make P1L senseless, wait to see mad teams whe nthey spend 2x or 3x more and get beat by a P2 next year
    I mean... DPi is what LMP1L should be, but P2 should have stayed the same as before just with a set amount of chassis builder (like now) to keep costs under control, but going spec engine you pretty much kills the chance of a team with a smaller budget go to say.. Honda or Judd and ask them for a nice engine deal.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2017
  5. aka2k

    aka2k

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    Bring Group C back!!
     
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  6. Daggerman

    Daggerman

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    I have zero faith in decsion makers of the ACO and FIA. So yes, they are bound to screw it all up.

    At the end of the day, it all comes down to costs. If it cost $25M to do a season, you would probably have a dozen teams queuing up to take part. However with what I hear to be budgets nearer $150M for the top tier, then you can forget it, most car makers dont want to bankroll that kind of investment.

    Bottom line, for me, the hybrid stuff needs to take a backwards step, or at least it needs to be optional, and not a massive performance dictator. I love the hybrids, however the sheer cost of putting together one of these machines is eye watering. The non-hybrids also need to be in with a fair shout of victory too, not a mere "also ran" category.

    Non-hybrids should be 200kg lighter, have a 20L bigger fuel tank and allowed a wider (or deeper) rear wing.
     
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  7. Andrew Harper

    Andrew Harper
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    Ok, we'll agree to disagree on that one my friend, but to me LMP2 is working really well. Much better than it was before. Costs are under control, the teams are interested in running the cars and the racing is close. The number of entries this year is awesome. In the future, who knows? There may be more of a blend with DPi but it all depends on what the ACO want :)
     
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  8. 4 8 15 16 23 42 108

    4 8 15 16 23 42 108
    Only the 5th-most famous race driver from Kerpen

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  9. Will Mazeo

    Will Mazeo

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    Well IMO there is a strange sense about the P2 class, if you look well there is "more cars" at Le Mans because... Audi no more, Rebellion went to P2, 60 cars instead of 56. They could have filled it with more GT if they wanted to, but after forcing people to go new chassis it probably didn't look like a good idea :roflmao:
    This formula makes sense for P3 perfectly tho, much better than Prototype Challenge class.
     
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  10. Knoxstar

    Knoxstar

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    F1 and P1 are generally going about things the same way in that they are developing hybrid technology. P1 has more flexibility with how they develop their power units but at the end of the day they are going in the same direction. The F1 world right now are contemplating their next engine rule package and trying to determine if the current regs are the best in the long run. The same should apply to WEC/ACO. Is motor racing at that level a sport or a test bed for technology and while it can be both to a certain extent is it the way to go or will fans/teams turn their backs due to cost and by consequence, competitive fields? F1 is considering getting out of the hybrid business and I think P1 should too.

    I'll keep harping on the hydrogen internal combustion development as an alternative if they decide that the technology issue is still viable and may bring manufacturers into the sport. Formula E has the electric engine covered, let's have P1 return to noisy internal combustion w/ hydrogen fuel that produces H2O as a bi-product. Otherwise P2 with DPI is the way to go.
     
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  11. yusupov

    yusupov

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    lol F1 getting out of the hybrid business? where did you get that impression?? are ferrari, mercedes, bmw, honda, etc getting out as well?

    if you want the best engines you have to play by the best manufacturers rules. that's more true at le mans than F1, but i've heard nothing about suppliers wanting to dedicate hundreds of millions on naturally aspirated V10s.
     
  12. funked1

    funked1

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    Cars look horrible, sound worse. Couldn't be less interested in this type of racing.
     
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  13. Rob

    Rob
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    All you need to do is check history (ALMS SERIES) in order to see what is going to happen in Europe.
    Lmp2 was loved by both the public and the manufacturers, due to low cost, yet high performance. In fact, in some of the later years of alms, the lmp2 cars would beat the lmp1 cars in a fair fight.

    The "glory days" for Audi were circa 1998, when that gorgeous silent diesel (a better economic option for consumers, if you eliminate politics) whistled around Road Atlanta. It was a sight to behold. That was true track to showroom stuff with no Paris bureaucracy in the middle.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2017
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  14. Daggerman

    Daggerman

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    Disagree.

    I believe the current F1 hybrid engines cost about $25 million a season. Before the hybrids came in, a V8 supply was something like $7-10 million.
     
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  15. yusupov

    yusupov

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    im not talking about cost control. im talking about the opposite.
     
  16. Ghoults

    Ghoults

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    If the engine tech in p1 wasn't so incredibly expensive then you could have competitive privateers as well. But the engine development costs are pretty insane. I think the best thing for p1 could be that the engines went back to screaming V12s and smaller turbos and get rid of the electronics. That would mean manufacturers might leave (which is like 5 cars lol) but in return you might have lots of smaller teams willing to jump in now that there is a legit chance to compete for wins. If the finances make sense then it is pretty difficult to get any worse than it already is (5 cars, 2 teams).

    As far as costs go I think there are several ways to reduce the cost. One is standardized monocoque. That still leaves suspension pretty much free. Other thing you can do is to standardize the gearbox. Then standardize the bottom of the car. This means the cars will look different, cars have different engines but also produce similar levels of performance. And before any of you starts screaming spec racing you need to understand that some spec parts on otherwise free to design platform doesn't mean spec racing. Gt500 and dtm already does this and I'd not call them spec racing either.
     
  17. Pywackett-Barchetta

    Pywackett-Barchetta

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    Hey, GRID only had two out there and it was still fun, right?
     
  18. Helmut Skrdla

    Helmut Skrdla
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    I have to agree that the Audi withdrawal curbed my interest in this year's race by about 80%. However, it's true that for most of the recent races we only had two teams capable of winning, and as for example in 2011 it can still be a spectacular fight.
     
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  19. Constantin Grimminger

    Constantin Grimminger

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    In my opinion we need LMP1. Even with the concept of LMP2 being faster we would still miss a huge chunk of performance differences on track.

    The only thing that always bothered me about LMP1 (and GTP) ever since was that huge factories came in and absolutely destroyed any competition and raised the level to uncatchable amounts. We needed that for a while, like in F1, to catch the development push that came over Motorsports in the early 2000s. But the glory days of big budgets and unlimited resources should be over for a while, in order to keep the level we currently have.

    Of course we see some good competition in LMP1 right now with basically two cars only. But we see even better competition in LMP2 with 10 cars. Imagine that in LMP1.
     
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  20. bigdirtyjase

    bigdirtyjase

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    You need LMP1 but the major problem is that it's very cost prohibitive and you have manufacturers who will not share their stuff for a private team. I mean Audi just mothballed the R18 and even Joest Racing (who was the Audi Factory Team) asked Audi if they can run the R18 as a private entry and they (Audi) said no.

    Look at the ByKolles - Private team, private engine...not even remotely competitive....

    Unless Porsche and Toyota want to "sell" engines to private teams and you don't get other manufacturers to come on board (like Mercedes, Nissan, BMW etc.)...LMP1 as we know it is doomed (ACO/FIA can't be happy with only 5 cars in the WEC)

    For me GT Class I will always watch because it's close racing (although I would like to see BMW, Bentley and Nissan in GTE-Pro/Am)
     
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