The FIA World Endurance Championship is bringing in a revised Equivalency of Technology for this weekend’s 6 Hours of Fuji in an attempt to bring the competition back to the LMP1 class and bring the Privateers and Hybrid cars closer on track.
Toyota Gazoo Racing have been unbeatable in the first half of the season, taking all three one-two finishes on track (albeit being disqualified from the 6 Hours of Silverstone). Most of the Privateer teams feel that they have no chance of beating Toyota on the track, which has led to a predictable first half of the season.
For the Japanese race this weekend, the two Toyotas will have a weight increase of 26kg, which makes them nearly 100kg heavier than their Privateer competitors. The new EoT also enforces an equal stint length for both Hybrids and Privateers, losing what amounted to around a one lap per stint advantage for Toyota.
Rather than reducing the stint length for the Toyotas, the Privateer’s target stint lengths have been increased to match the Hybrid performers.
Along with this, the two-lap refuelling advantage Toyota held over the Privateers has also been remove.
The FIA were keen to underline that it was thanks to Toyota’s agreement that these EoT changes could be put into action. It is worth noting that there was an EoT shift at the 6 Hours of Silverstone in August as a post-24 Hours of Le Mans shuffle, to which Toyota still claimed a very dominant win before being disqualified from the race.
It will be interesting to see how much of an effect these changes have to the competitive order of the LMP1 field.
It does seem clear that the WEC and the Automobile Club de l’Ouest wish to keep Toyota happy, and have given them a large controlling say in the performance and regulations of the LMP1 field. However, the Japanese team’s dominance has led to what some fans are calling ‘dull’ races already this season, and in the interest of protecting the WEC and it’s future they must strive for more competition at the front of the field.