The European Le Mans Series governing body has announced a new set of sporting regulations for the 2018 season, making small changes to the current shape of the series.
The Automobile Club de l’Ouest has reworked several of the existing regulations for next year’s edition of ELMS, changing the mandatory drive time rules as well as adding private tests before four of next season’s rounds.
Within the LMP2 category, the minimum drive times have been changed to provide more time behind the wheel for the highest-ranked drivers.
In a three-driver team, the gold and platinum drivers have been provided with an extra ten minutes behind the wheel, meaning that teams with two drivers from the gold and platinum rankings will now get a minimum of 40 minutes in each race.
In addition, the minimum time of bronze and silver drivers has been dropped for both two and three-driver teams. With two drivers, they may participate in a minimum of 2 hours and 15 minutes, a five minute drop from last year.
However, the ruling for three driver teams has afforded bronze and silver drivers a new minimum of 1 hour and 10 minutes, a reduction by 20 minutes.
LMP2 teams will also be able to compete for a trophy, so long as their lineups consist of only silver and bronze drivers, and will be awarded to the highest classified runner that meets the criteria.
In LMP3, bronze drivers must drive for a minimum of 50 minutes, where teams will also be allowed to nominate a race to receive an extra set of tyres, with teams restricted to three sets over the weekend.
Bronze drivers in the LMGTE class will run for a minimum of 1 hour and 30 minutes each, increasing twofold from the previous minimum of 45 minutes.
There are also a number of changes affecting the whole field, and teams will now be able to bring a maximum of two wheel guns into the pitlane working area during sessions, also allowing teams to change wheels while they refuel.
In addition, the ELMS has added private tests on Wednesdays for the rounds at Monza, Spa-Francorchamps, the Red Bull Ring and Portimão. The official pre-season test at Paul Ricard will take place from the 8th-10th of April.
The Automobile Club de l’Ouest has also announced a technical partnership with Total, meaning that the ELMS – along with the World Endurance Championship and the Asian Le Mans Series – will use the French company’s fuels and lubricants for the next five years.