With the Automobile Club de l’Ouest and the FIA World Endurance Championship, dragging their heels over the rules for the new Hypercar Series, coming in 2020 to replace LMP1, planning ahead seems to be an uphill struggle for the manufacturers, McLaren included.
McLaren Racing’s Chief, Zak Brown, thinks with the ongoing delays regarding the regulations, McLaren will not be ready for the inaugural season, in 2020, with 2021 being the earliest they would make an appearance.
“They’re still working to finalise the rules and our interest remains, but we need to see the final rules and make sure that it’s something that we’ve got the right technology for and the right budget for,” he told RACER.
“So I think while they’ve announced the rules, they’ve been trying to modify them and engaged with the manufacturers and I think that will come to a head for everybody in the next month or two.
“We know that we would not be ready by 2020, so the earliest we would potentially enter is 2021, but at this point it’s very much ‘potentially.’
“We like Le Mans, but as you’ve heard me say a thousand times, I’ve got to make sure our Formula 1 team is headed the right direction. And then, of course, we’ve got IndyCar, so we’ve got to make sure we do things in the right order at the right times.”
It’s hoped by some, that the Hypercar regs and the International Motor Sports Association’s WeatherTech SportsCar Championship regs may align, but this seems highly unlikely.
If IMSA were to abandon its Daytona Prototype series in favour of Hypercar, Brown could see Mclaren entering both Series. But when asked about building an IMSA specific car, Brown pointed towards their upcoming IndyCar return as a guide to their plans for the States.
“I’m very much a supporter of the DPI rules,” he said. “I very much hope that Le Mans, Daytona, can come together. I think that’s the best scenario for everyone, regardless of whose rules are used.
“But I think it is unlikely that we would do DPi, only because if we get into North American motorsports full-time, that would most likely be in the form of IndyCar.
“And so purely from a market presence, I wouldn’t see us racing in two U.S. series at this point. Of course we already have our GT3 and GT4 McLaren customer cars, but as far as professional racing goes, we have history in IndyCar.
“I’m a fan of DPi, but we only have the resources to compete in one series in North America. If we were to come into North America, it’s more likely it would be in IndyCar, making also coming into IMSA a thing where the rules with Europe would really need to be aligned to make it easier.”