Alpine LMP1 gets hefty weight increase for Spa opener

Alpine's grandfathered A480 LMP1 car will carry a weight penalty of more than 100kg in next weekend's opening round of the FIA World Endurance Championship at Spa.

Alpine LMP1 gets hefty weight increase for Spa opener
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The 930kg minimum weight for the Gibson-powered Oreca design, which raced as the Rebellion R-13 in the WEC in 2018/19 and 2019/20, compares with the 824kg at which it started last season before a system of success handicaps came into play.

The weight penalty is part of series of measures designed to bring the performance of the Signatech-run Alpine into the same window as the new breed of Le Mans Hypercars. 

For the Spa 6 Hours on May 1 that means only Toyota's new GR010 Hybrid after the Glickenhaus team opted to delay the debut of its new 007 LMH. The minimum weight for hybrid LMH machinery is 1040kg.

Toyota GR010 Hybrid

Toyota GR010 Hybrid

Photo by: Toyota Racing

The LMH rules have been framed to slow the cars in the WEC's top division by approximately five seconds a lap on a regular circuit and 10s at the Le Mans 24 Hours.

Rules for the 2021 WEC allow for non-hybrid P1 machinery race on in the series as so-called 'grandfathered' cars but with reduced performance.

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The power curve to which the non-hybrid Alpine's normally-aspirated Gibson V8 must adhere was released on Friday evening along with the minimum weight in the Balance of Performance table for the Hypercar class at Spa.

This prescribes a peak power of 450kW or 600bhp, a reduction on the near-700bhp the Gibson was believed to have produced with unlimited fuel flow in last year's WEC.

Peak power for the Toyota's 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6 and its front-axle energy-retrieval system combined is listed in the BoP table as 520kW, equivalent to nearly 700bhp. Alpine will be allowed a total energy per stint of 920 megajoules, compared with 964MJ for the Toyota.

The solo Alpine, which will be driven by Nicolas Lapierre, Andre Negrao and Matthieu Vaxiviere, will run in low-downforce Le Mans-spec aero at all tracks in this year's WEC as part of its performance reduction.

Chevrolet's mid-engined Corvette C8.R GTE Pro contender will run a BoP at Spa significantly revised from that at which it proved off the pace on its only previous WEC appearance at Austin in February 2020.

#63 Corvette Racing, Chevrolet Corvette C8.R - Jan Magnussen, Mike Rockenfeller

#63 Corvette Racing, Chevrolet Corvette C8.R - Jan Magnussen, Mike Rockenfeller

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

The minimum weight of Corvette Racing's solo entry to be driven by Oliver Gavin and Antonio Garcia has been reduced by 5kg to 1235kg and the diameter of its engine air-restrictors increased from 41.3mm to 43.5mm.

The Pratt & Miller-run Corvette team is contesting Spa as part of its preparations for its return to Le Mans later this season after a year's absence.

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The WEC Spa 6 Hours starts on Saturday May 1 at 1.30pm CET, with practice and qualifying scheduled on Thursday and Friday. All sessions of the event will be streamed live on Motorsport.tv

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