The 2008 technical regulations: stability and opening
All the races organized under the Le Mans label in 2008 (Le Mans 24 Hours, the American Le Mans Series in the USA and the Le Mans Series in Europe) will comply with new specifications drawn up by the Automobile Club de l'Ouest, which, in fact, are new technical regulations for all entrants. In 2008, there will be no changes in the categories accepted - LM P1 and LM P2 prototypes, LM GT1 and LM GT2 Grand Touring Cars.
Stability and opening are the keywords to the 2008 regulations:
- Those governing LM GT1 and LM GT2 remain identical to 2007.
- The performance of the petrol-engined LM P1 cars is brought closer to that of the LM P1 diesels.
- An obvious performance difference is maintained between LM P1 and LM P2 prototypes.
- The LM P2's role as a vehicle for privateers is reinforced. To prevent entrants wasting money attempting to lighten their cars their weight has been increased by 50 kilos.
In a further attempt to reduce costs a series production engine (in contrast to those designed exclusively for racing) can be installed in LM P1 and LM P2 cars.
Opening up the race to bio fuels highlights the ACO's concern with the protection of the environment, as well as its desire to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels.
As a result petrol with 10% ethanol and bio diesel (BTL) will be allowed in 2008 in both LM P1 and LM P2.
Innovations in the 2008 ACO regulations
- Minimum weight: 900 kgs
- Air restrictors on petrol-engined cars increased by 3%
- 50 kg increase in weight (raised to 825 kgs)
- Fuel tank capacity reduced to 80 litres (instead of 90 litres)
LM P1 & LM P2:
- Series production engines allowed
- Bio fuels allowed: petrol with 10% ethanol plus biodiesel (BTL)
LM GT1 & LM GT2: no changes in relation to the 2007 regulations
The ACO is considering a reduction in performances in LM P1 and LM P2 for safety reasons, given the fact that the 3m 30s barrier was breached in the 2007 race.
Discussions with the entrants will begin in 2008 to introduce such measures in 2009 or 2010.
The modifications to be made will apply mainly to the bodywork, the wings and the air restrictors, so that the LM P1 cars' times will not dip under 3m 30s over a lap of the Le Mans circuit.