The FIA World Motor Sport Council announced today, that there are changes coming for the LMP2 category from next year onwards.
It will be made mandatory, that LMP2 teams in FIA WEC have to consist of three drivers, and that teams no longer can do quite as Pro combinations, as the regulations currently allow.
From next year onwards, it’s demanded to have at least one Bronze driver or two Silver ranked drivers, out of the three drivers.
The announcement is officially just about the FIA WEC, but the rules are expected to float down to the European Le Mans Series, since the two series usually follow each other closely, regarding the driver raking rules. So it would only be natural if the team can continue with their same line-up, if they are lucky enough to be invited to the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The Asian Le Mans Series have their own kind of rules, so this might not affect them.
The LMP2 category has developed in a more and more professional direction, where some driver combinations are very close at being an all-Pro team, even though there is a Silver ranked driver in the car. Two examples on that are United Autosports #22 with Filipe Albuquerque and Paul Di Resta and Platinum drivers, while Phil Hanson is an incredibly fast Silver driver, who matches if not betters the other two drivers’ ultimate fastest laptimes. Another example is Jackie Chan DC Racing #37, which consists of Will Stevens (former Formula 1 driver), Ho-Pin Tung (former Formula 1 test driver), and Gabriel Aubry (former GP3 driver), where the latter just managed to turn onto the sportscar direct, so he could keep a Silver status up to and including the current 2019/2020 season in the FIA WEC, but has been bumped up to Gold in everything else, since the categories changes on 1 January, but don’t change within ongoing seasons.
The rules will turn more towards what Cool Racing #42 and Racing Team Nederland #29 has done, where they have a Bronze rated driver in the car. High Class Racing is another team in FIA WEC with Mark Patterson as Bronze rated driver, alongside Kenta Yamashita and Anders Fjordbach, while Silver ranked Fjordbach is paired with Bronze rated Dennis Andersen in ELMS. If Andersen is part of that team again in 2021, they would most likely have to expand to a three-driver team, where they would have a free choice of their final driver. Michael Markussen is in the periphery of the team now, where the team call him reserve driver, even though there is no such definition in the FIA regulations for sportscars. Markussen has Silver status, and is working really hard to find the budget to be able to run in sportscars again, after he had three outings in the Michelin Le Mans Cup for KEO Racing in LMP3 in 2019.
The exact minimum drive times for the different rankings of drivers will be announced at a later stage.