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Hypercar Explained – Racecar Engineering

Hypercar Explained - Racecar Engineering

The Hypercar category, a joint project of the FIA and the ACO, that back in 2018 was envisaged as the new top class of the FIA World Endurance Championship, had its debut in 2021, but it wasn’t until this year when this ruleset really came of age, attracting a raft of manufacturers.

The 11th season of the FIA WEC features an impressive 13 full-season Hypercar entries from seven manufacturers, highlighting the ongoing growth of the world’s premier endurance racing series and proving that the Hypercar technical platform appeals to the manufacturers.

So, what makes the Hypercar class so successful? The ruleset, accommodating cars built to LMH and LMDh technical regulations, represents a major shift in philosophy compared with the LMP1 class it replaced. It allows for far greater variety both in terms of technical approaches as well as the aesthetics of the cars, at the same time ensuring sporting equality and preventing cost escalation through the concept of performance windows.

Technical Regulations are focused on controlling performance outcomes instead of setting design or geometrical restrictions, allowing manufacturers to choose cost-effective solutions as significant expenditures do not translate to performance gains. This autonomy allows the automakers to maintain the spirit of the brand and remain relevant to their road car philosophy, but also to express potential in terms of creativity and innovation. Less rigid aerodynamic constraints established for the cars give them the option to incorporate styling elements into the design. Similarly to the LMP1 class, both hybrid or non-hybrid power units with transmission to either rear or both axles are allowed.

The principle of performance windows is a new regulatory approach to the top category of the FIA WEC. It has been made possible by the application of precise modern methodology for measuring performance parameters, combined with the experience of efficient data acquisition and analysis processes.

Instead of constraining the design process with geometric requirements, the FIA and the ACO oversee the outcome. This is possible owing to the concept of performance windows, where minimum and maximum values were set for areas such as weight, power and aerodynamic performance, with each of the cars having to fit into those windows. The maximum power is set at 520kW, while the minimum weight is at 1030kg.

During the homologation process, the cars…

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