The Automobile Club de l’Ouest and FIA have agreed to make very few changes to the GTE class Balance of Performance (BoP) ahead of the 2019 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The BoP, which is done manually for Le Mans and does not follow the same protocol as the automated system for the other rounds of the FIA World Endurance Championship, saw its first rendition published ahead of the Le Mans Test Day at the start of June. With 15 out of 17 cars finishing within 1.2 seconds of each other, the officials have decided that the current BoP will remain for the blue-riband event.
Ford Chip Ganassi have been hit with the biggest BoP change ahead of their final 24 Hours of Le Mans. They will run 12kg heavier than they did last year, but do also receive an increase to their allowed turbo boost. The #67 Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK car was able to split the fast-running Corvettes during the test, showing that even though they have had the biggest weight increase this has not seemed to hinder their competitiveness so far.
BMW Team MTEK also receive a weight increase from 2018, with an additional 9kg on each of their cars. Adding to the pain, the turbo has been slightly reduced for he German manufacturer. In the test, BMW were completely off the pace of their competitors, being at the bottom of the timing screen and the only two cars not in the 1.2 second time bracket.
Porsche GT Team are the only other manufacturer to see a weight increase ahead of the prestigious event. They will add 2kg to their 911 RSRs compared to the 86th rendition of the race, where they competitively took a one-two in class.
AF Corse, Corvette Racing and Aston Martin Racing have all been given a 7kg weight break (reduction) on their machinery in comparison to last year’s BoP.
Ferrari see an added benefit of and increase of boost as well, but have the lowest fuel allowance per stint of all the Pro cars. Each of the cars are given a maximum fuel calculated to allow them to complete 11-lap stints during Saturday and Sunday’s race. Therefore, the low 88L of fuel that the 488 GTEs are allowed should not be seen as a disadvantage for the team.
Corvette and Aston Martin look, on paper, to come out of the BoP allocations best, both receiving a weight reduction and a high fuel allowance (meaning that conserving fuel should be less of a worry for them during a stint compared to others). However the closeness of the pace during the Le Mans test gives reason to be hopeful that the BoP allocations have been done well this year and that wheel-to-wheel racing can be predicted during the 24-hour endurance event.
The BoP can be changed ahead of the event up to Friday. The next two days of running will give us a better look at the competitive order and we will be able to get a clearer picture of how well this year’s BoP is working.