Ford Motor Company, which had been involved in the original round of “Hypercar” class discussions between manufacturers and officials from the Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) and the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), has reportedly been absent from more recent talks. The proposed “Hypercar” class could become the top-spec race car class in the FIA World Endurance Championship starting with the 2020-’21 season, and Ford’s involvement in the first round of talks before the proposal’s announcement had suggested that the Blue Oval had some interest in participating.
Yet Ford, Ferrari, and Porsche, each of which was involved in the earlier discussions, have all been absent from recent meetings, according to Sportscar365.
“We’re still following the process to see where it goes,” Ford Performance Global Motorsports Director Mark Rushbrook assured the outlet. “We’ve established what our principles are that would interest us in that series or not and we’re following along to see where it ends up.”
Without participating in the talks, however, Ford can’t take an active role in helping to shape the new class regulations, and Sportscar365 says that historically, manufacturers that have skipped out on such discussions have gone on to forego competing in the racing class being negotiated. Ford Performance had been pushing for commonality between the FIA “Hypercar” class and IMSA’s own top-spec prototype class, although the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship isn’t scheduled to instate a new set of regulations until 2022.
The biggest hurdle to common prototype regulations, according to IMSA President Scott Atherton, is the proposed budget for Hypercar-class race cars, which is much greater than what teams spend on cars competing in IMSA’s own Daytona Prototype international (DPi) class.
“High marks to the FIA and the ACO for achieving what they have to date in that the current LMP1 budget is extremely expensive and they have done an outstanding job of reducing that while still introducing an interesting, exciting, technically relevant product,” Atherton said in June. But “even with those significant reductions, the proposed budgets, the talked about budgets that are connected with this generation of car, still represent a significant increase over where [DPi is] today.”