The FIA World Endurance Championship has imposed new rules for the composition of LMP2 driver crews for the 2021, which each team now required to field at least two silver-rated drivers or one bronze-rated driver.
The rule adjustment was approved by the FIA World Motor Sport Council on Friday.
This effectively limits every team to only a single fully professional driver. This is contrast to the current rules, where teams are required to run at least one silver or bronze-rated driver, but with free choice over the rest of the line-up.
The new rule is aimed at closing the gap between teams in the LMP2 category, which in recent years has been dominated by teams running no bronze-rated drivers, instead opting to generally pair one silver driver with a pair of professionals.
An example of this approach can be seen in the line-up for newly crowned champions United Autosports, which has paired silver-rated young driver Phil Hanson with pro drivers Paul di Resta and Filipe Albuquerque.
Only one bronze-rated driver has been able to win a race in the WEC’s LMP2 class, which occurred when Frits van Eerd was part of Racing Team Nederland’s LMP2 win in last year’s Six Hours of Fuji.
Additionally, three-man driver crews have also been made mandatory for all round of the 2021 season. Previously, teams were allowed to run two drivers at every round except Le Mans. While teams generally always run two drivers, the rule did allow Antonion Borga and Nicolas Lapierre to take the class win at Silverstone last year when Alexandre Coigny fell away due to injury.
In addition to the LMP2 driver rules, the WMSC also confirmed that grandfathered LMP1 machinery ‘will be balanced to operate in the same performance window’ as the new-for-2021 Le Mans Hypercars.
This clears the way for Signatech Alpine to campaign an ex-Rebellion LMP1 car in the top category alongside Toyota, Glickenhaus and ByKolles.
Finally, the proposed calendar for the 2021 FIA World Endurance Championship season was also approved.