Designers get a set of rules, they put their brains together, employ all the technology they have at their disposal, and try to come up with the most competitive machine possible. That’s the traditional mechanism behind the conception and development of the racing car. The Le Mans Hypercar (LMH) division has turned that process on its head.
The LMH rules that came into force for the 2021 World Endurance Championship don’t so much set constraints and geometric restrictions on the design of the car, rather they lay down the outcome of the design process. No longer are the boffins back at base looking for that last loophole to gain the unfair advantage.
At the heart of the regulations are so-called performance windows, most significantly for the aerodynamics and drivetrain, into which the cars must fit. For the aero, maximums and minimums are laid down for both downforce and drag.