The World Endurance Championship (WEC) is 10 years old, and in that decade has brought the excitement of long-distance racing to the masses. As official lubricant partner to the event, Motul champions the WEC’s commitment towards safe, sustainable and fair endurance racing. With the conclusion of the 1000 Miles of Sebring at the weekend, where Motul teams scored top points in the first race of the season, and before the next round at Spa in May, let’s take a look at some of the key rule changes for teams and drivers this year.
The WEC has limited the amount of testing Hypercars can do in the 2022 season. For this year, testing is limited to 10 days maximum for both closed and open tests, per car entered in the championship. And 20 days of tests for each competitor. In addition, each competitor will have a total of four days of closed private testing. Dry weather tyres have also been limited for Hypercar testing. The exception to the rule is that the limits of private testing do not concern competitors who have entered a car which is in its first season following its date of homologation.
The new regulations conclude that one car of each homologated model in the Hypercar category must take part in the official WEC Rookie test, and each winning competition car should enter at least one car in the test and complete at least 30 laps.
Driving times per race
The WEC has simplified the rules around driver changes for 2022, across all the categories. Any driver who has driven less than one hour in total will not score any points in the championship. Driver times for six- and eight-hour races have also been amended. Now, during a six-hour race, the minimum driving time for a silver or bronze-rated driver in LMP2 is 1h 15mins, while for LMGTE Am it is 1hr 45mins. In an eight-hour race, the minimum driving time for silver and bronze drivers in LMP2 will be two hours, and 2h 20mins in LMGTE Am.
Pit lanes, pit stops and interventions on the car
With a focus on safety in 2022, the WEC organisers have refined some of the rules to allow officials to better evaluate potential infringements. This means, for example, that in order to place a car correctly in the working lane, the teams will now be allowed to use skates. A driver helper has also been reintroduced. This new crew member will be allowed to assist during driver changes.
The WEC has scrapped slow zones except for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
In an effort to cut the cost of racing and make the sport more accessible, competitors in the Hypercar category will be limited to 20 operational staff per car, rising to 22 people for cars that are homologated with Energy Recovery Systems. And like in 2021, the 2022 season will take place over a reduced number of races, which now total six: Sebring, Spa, Le Mans, Monza, Fuji and Bahrain.
Penalties at the end of the race
The WEC has streamlined how penalties are calculated. If a penalty is notified on the timing screens in the last five laps of the race, and the car doesn’t serve the penalty, 30 seconds will be added to a “drive through” penalty and 35 seconds added to a “stop & go” penalty.
The WEC has introduced a new, 100% renewable fuel for the 2022 season. The bioethanol fuel made from wine residue is believed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 65% compared to fossil fuels.