WEC grid could expand to 40 cars for 2024 season

The planned move up from the 36 cars accepted for this year’s series is a reaction to a significant increase in entries in the Hypercar class and a desire to find room for multiple manufacturers in the new LMGT3 category that replaces GTE Am for next season.

There looks certain to be in excess of 20 cars in Hypercar with the arrival of BMW, Alpine, Lamborghini and Isotta Fraschini in the series, as well as potentially an extra car from Cadillac and two from Porsche via its customers.

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The Automobile Club de l’Ouest and the FIA, which jointly administer the series, appear to need a minimum of 16 grid slots in LMGT3 for eight manufacturers each running two cars.

ACO president Pierre Fillon described the attempts to accommodate more than the 36 cars accepted this year as “a work in progress”

“We are limited by the number of garages we have at some tracks,” he said.

“So we are working to see what we can do, but we could have 40 cars.”

Asked if the ACO and FIA were considering asking LMGT3 teams to run their two cars from a single pit, Fillon replied: “We are looking at all solutions – the devil will be in the detail.”

Fillon revealed that the plans could be firmed up this week at a meeting of the FIA’s Endurance Commission.

“At the moment we are trying to understand what it means,” said Tom Ferrier, whose TF Sport squad will run Chevrolet’s new Corvette Z06 GT3.R in the WEC next year.

“For example, does it mean the two cars sharing a fuel rig or having one each?

“We would obviously prefer not to do it, but we understand why it is being discussed and would have to accept something being done for the good of the championship.”

The entry for this year’s championship listed 37 cars on its publication at the start of the year, but the German Proton team’s #88 GTE Am class Porsche 911 RSR and #99 963 LMDh were effectively one entry.

It stopped running the 911 when the 963 came on stream at Monza in July.

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The FIA and the ACO have said that priority in LMGT3 will be given to manufacturers also involved in Hypercar, which means Ferrari, Porsche, BMW and Lamborghini, as well as Lexus and Chevrolet (sister brands of Toyota and Cadillac respectively), are more or less guaranteed slots.

Aston Martin as a long-term player in the WEC looks a shoo-in to be invited to take part in LMGT3.

Ford also looks certain to gain two slots with its new Mustang GT3 and has already announced that its cars will be run by Proton Competition in the WEC should the entries be forthcoming.

There are also other manufacturers showing interest in LMGT3, including Mercedes. Asking GT teams downsize into a single garage is likely to prove contentious.

The entry situation is complicated by the fact that the Hypercar grid is likely to grow again in 2025 with the arrival of Aston Martin as well as a second Lamborghini from the Iron Lynx team.

There will be no LMP2 class in WEC next year as a result of the growth in Hypercar, though the ACO has stated that the secondary prototype class remains an important part of what it calls its ‘endurance pyramid’ encompassing the European and Asian Le Mans Series and the IMSA SportsCar Championship.

A minimum of 15 grid slots will be reserved for P2s at the Le Mans 24 Hours next year.

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