World Endurance Championship confirms sporting reg changes for 2018-19 'super season'
Three headline changes to the World Endurance Championship sporting regulations have been approved by the FIA World Motor Sport Council, ahead of the 2018-19 'super season'.
Starting next year, teams will be permitted to undertake refuelling and tyre changes at the same time during pit stops.
The ruling is intended to make pit stops more exciting, and to create an additional strategic opportunity for teams.
Adjustments to the number of points awarded for winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans were also passed through, meaning teams will earn 1.5x the rate distributed at the regular six-hour rounds.
Using the new system, next year's Le Mans winners will receive 37.5 points - considerably less than the 50 awarded on previous occasions.
Additionally, points for the 1,500-mile/12-hour race at Sebring in 2019 will be inflated by 1.25 times the six-hour amount.
The third change is the introduction of an LMP1 teams' world championship, which has replaced the manufacturers' world title that Porsche won for the third consecutive time this year.
Porsche's exit from the class at the end of 2017 left Toyota as the only OEM manufacturer, and prompted the WEC to merge the hybrid and non-hybrid privateer 'sub-categories' together.
The leading car of each team at each race will be eligible to score points for the new championship, which joins the LMP1 drivers', GT drivers' and GT manufacturers' crowns as FIA-sanctioned world titles.
“Together with the FIA we have drawn up regulations that can best be qualified as stimulating," said ACO sporting director Vincent Beaumesnil.
"They are going to give LMP1 a new dynamic boost, which will lead to a different race strategy for all the categories as tyre changes and refuelling can be carried out simultaneously."
Left out of the announcement were details of a new set of LMP1 regulations for 2020, which had been expected following the WEC's decision to revise its intended rules set in the wake of Porsche's exit from the top category.
”While we wait for the very encouraging 2020 regulations, these new regulations, together with the positive feedback we have had from teams about the Super Season, will guarantee an incredible level of competition in LMP1," said WEC CEO Gerard Neveu.
"With no fewer than five GT manufacturers in LMGTE Pro, and increased interest at this stage from gentleman drivers in LMP2 and LMGTE Am, things are looking good for fans of endurance racing in particular, and motorsport in general. We can’t wait for 2018.”