Endurance racing’s new premier class finally has a name: Le Mans Hypercar, or LMH for short.
The new name was selected at a meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council in Paris on Wednesday.
Teaser for 2020/2021 Toyota World Endurance Championship Hypercar class race car
Previously referred to as the Hypercar class, LMH will replace the current LMP1 class as the top level of endurance racing. Its first running will be in the 2020/2021 World Endurance Championship.
The class was first announced in mid-2018. Its purpose is to attract more automakers by allowing designs that closely resemble cars the automakers actually sell. Some technology will also be shared, such as powertrains, but the cars will still be dedicated racers and in most cases have separate chassis to their road-car counterparts.
Teaser for 2020/2021 Aston Martin Valkyrie World Endurance Championship Hypercar class race car
The strategy has worked as a number of automakers have already committed to LMH. The list includes Aston Martin, Peugeot (likely 2022/2023 start), Toyota and America’s own Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus. Other hopefuls include Koenigsegg and McLaren F1 visionary Gordon Murray.
The class has rules for both hybrid and non-hybrid cars, with the hybrid cars requiring a front-axle electric motor-generator and a rear-axle combustion engine. The electric motor-generator can develop a maximum of 268 horsepower, while the internal-combustion engine is capped at 680 horses.
Scuderia Cameron Glickenhau 007
While the cars in the class will be technological showcases, they are still subject to homologation rules, unlike the old LMP1-class entries. A minimum of 25 road cars equipped with the same powertrain must be produced by the second year of competition. For following years, that number bumps to 100.
As was the case in LMP1, the number of staff in a LMH team will be limited: 40 staff for a team fielding two cars, 43 if the cars are hybrids. Budget caps are lower than in LMP1 and there are also balance of performance rules, both of which have turned off some of the bigger automakers.