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What the 2018 Le Mans BoP holds for the GTE classes

WEC Spa-Francorchamps 6 Hours, 5 May 2018: #91 Porsche 911 RSR (LMGTE Pro) driven by Richard Lietz and Gianmaria Bruni - the car finished fourth in class at the Spa race

#92 Porsche 911 RSR (LMGTE Pro) driven by Michael Christensen and Kevin Estre
WEC Spa-Francorchamps 6 Hours, 5 May 2018: #92 Porsche 911 RSR (LMGTE Pro) driven by Michael Christensen and Kevin Estre – this car finished second in class at Spa

This weekend sees the official Le Mans Test day on Sunday 3 June for those teams participating in the 86th running of the famous 24-hour race. The GTE field is one of the largest in several years, thanks to Porsche and Ford both running four cars each in the Pro class, plus Ferrari who will be fielding three cars in this class. We ask what the 2018 Le Mans BoP holds for the GTE classes.

#66 Ford GT (LMGTE Pro) driven by Stefan Mucke, Olivier Pla and Billy Johnson
WEC Spa-Francorchamps 6 Hours, 5 May 2018: #66 Ford GT (LMGTE Pro) driven by Stefan Mucke, Olivier Pla and Billy Johnson – this car was the class winner at Spa

In a return to the days of old when sports cars made up the numbers at Le Mans, the legendary twice-around the clock endurance race promises to be a cracking event. Half of the total field of sixty cars will be made up of GT sports cars, and a third of these will be Porsches. It was fourteen years ago in 2004, that the number of Porsche 911s fielded last ran into double figures, so this will bring back shades of the old days for those Porsche enthusiasts eager to witness a revival of vintage Porsche GT superiority.

In the GTE Am class, Ferrari with five cars, is not even the best represented as that accolade goes to Porsche with a total of six cars, while Aston Martin has just two cars. This year Corvette are not represented in the Am class.

Thursday-Saturday are set aside for driver and team manager administrative checks, scrutineering and driver briefings. The Test day itself is split into two sessions and these are scheduled for 09h00-13h00 and 14h00-18h00, giving a total of eight hours of testing.

The two GTE classes for 2018 are made up as follows:

GTE Pro – 17 cars

Car No. of cars Car nos.
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO 3 #51, #52, #71
Porsche 911 RSR 4 #91, #92, #93, #94
Corvette C7.R 2 #63, #64
Ford GT 4 #66, #67, #68, #69
BMW M8 GTE 2 #81, #82
Aston Martin Vantage AMR 2 #95, #97

GTE AM – 13 cars

Car No. of cars Car nos.
Ferrari 488 GTE 5 #54, #61, #70, #84, #85
Porsche 911 RSR 6 #56, #86, #77, #80, #88, #99
Aston Martin Vantage 2 #90, #98

Balance of Performance (BoP)

Last year, 2017, we saw the two oldest cars in the field battling it out for the win in GTE Pro, until the Corvette overcooked his brakes on the penultimate lap and let the Ford GT through to finish second. But how did the Aston Martin and the Corvette end up leading the field with the two new cars, the Ford GT and 911 RSR left to eat their dust. This was BoP gone wrong, and evidence of too much fiddling to make things perfect, instead of letting the best car win.

The race authorities are committed to ensuring that there are distinctive lap time gaps between the different classes, and so they have come up with a bespoke set of BoP indexes to make sure this happens. Le Mans is a different race from the rest of the WEC series, and so the results from Spa should have no bearing on the Le Mans BoP calculations. To give you a benchmark against which to compare performance, below is a table comparing key balance of performance factors between the cars in 2017 and 2018 for Le Mans:

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