Pascal Vasselon, technical director of Toyota Gazoo Racing Europe, described the Balance of Performance changes that have increased the minimum weight and reduced the power of the marque’s GR010 HYBRIDs for Sunday’s Portimao 8 Hours as “fully acceptable and part of the process that we cannot contest”.
Vasselon explained that the increase in minimum weight of 26kg and reduced power of approximately 7bhp reflected the arrival of the Glickenhaus-Pipo 007 LMH in the series.
“This adjustment is exactly part of the BoP process, which includes a so-called initial balance based on homologation data,” he said.
“The Automobile Club de l’Ouest and the FIA [which jointly write the rules for the WEC] have a lot of data on our cars, the aerodynamic characteristics measured in a full-scale wind-tunnel test at Sauber and engine data.
“This was the plan, to make sure that the homologation data is somehow corrected to make sure we achieve the wanted balance.
“It is not avoidable and is part of the agreed process.”
ACO technical director Thierry Bouvet explained that the changes to the Toyota and the Alpine-Gibson A480 grandfathered LMP1 car did not reflect anything that happened on the track at the opening round of the 2021 WEC at Spa last month, from which Glickenhaus was absent.
“In the LMH regulations, we have performance windows, which are already quite small,” he said.
“But within the windows, the cars can be a little bit apart: what we are looking at is how to correct those differences.”
# 709 Glickenhaus Racing Glickenhaus 007 LMH
Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images
He made a distinction between the starting or initial BoP and the rolling BoP, which will kick in after Portimao and is based on data accrued from the races.
Vasselon conceded that a negative to the BoP changes will be to reduce the gap between the cars competing in the Hypercar class and the LMP2 machinery, which was a one of the major talking points over the Spa WEC weekend in May.
“This makes us slower, something like 0.6s [a lap], and when you remember that on race averages at Spa we were 1.3s ahead of LMP2s,” he explained.
“It means the gap to LMP2 is further reducing; this is somehow a problem.”
Vasselon suggested that the low-downforce, Le Mans 24 Hours aero kit that LMP2 cars are forced to run at all circuits this season will have a greater effect at the Algarve circuit than at Spa.
But he pointed out that the Algarve circuit is approximately five kilometres to the seven of Spa “so the gap will be smaller especially with the BoP adjustment”.