Jean-Eric Vergne has vented his frustration over the ongoing struggles facing the top class of sports car racing, saying he would “prefer 100 times” to be racing in LMP2 than the premier LMP1 category.

The LMP2 class is the biggest at Le Mans this year with 20 entrants, while LMP1 has just eight cars contending for victory, which looks set to be battled out by the two Toyota cars given their significant pace advantage.

Toyota has finished one-two at every single race through the FIA World Endurance Championship season, with its only defeat at Silverstone coming due to an exclusion.

Vergne said he was much happier in a competitive LMP2 field where he could fight for class victory than to be in LMP1 and have no chance of battling the Toyotas ahead.

“I’m loving it. I’d prefer 100 times to be in LMP2 than in LMP1,” Vergne told Crash.net.

“Maybe not at Toyota, because the chance of winning Le Mans, you take it, even if you don’t have any competition, everybody would take it.

“But then in the other LMP1 teams, coming here knowing that you have nothing to fight for, it’s very hard. I discuss a lot with Andre [Lotterer, who races for Rebellion Racing]. I cannot talk for him, but I know what he feels.

“I’m just glad that I’m in LMP2 this year because the level is so competitive. The cars are extremely fast.”

Vergne has been open about his desire to win Le Mans overall in the future, but was sceptical of the impact upcoming changes for the top category will have, with plans for a hypercar-led class set to be announced on Friday.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the regulations that will come out on Friday. I’m not sure that only one manufacturer coming will change anything, because then you’re going to have a Balance of Performance versus Toyota,” Vergne said.

“The manufacturer that has the most money will always push in its favour, because it has more weight in the championship. So I don’t think that will change anything.

“If there are like four, five, six manufacturers joining, that would be fantastic. But I don’t think that’s going to happen anytime soon, because now it’s almost too late for them to join.

“It is concerning, because I’m not in a happy position. My friends who are in LMP1s but not Toyota are not in a happy position as well. It’s not fair for us.

“We all have the level to compete at the highest level and to try and win Le Mans, and we don’t have this opportunity.”

Vergne said he believed the DPi category from the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in the United States could be an effective way to stir manufacturer interest at Le Mans, offering more opportunities to fight for outright victory.

“What I would personally do is some sort of DPi, where the manufacturers can have their bodywork fitted, more or less everybody the same engine,” Vergne said.

“You keep the costs very low, but like this, lots of manufacturers can be at Le Mans and fight for the overall win.

“It’s always better when you have the ACO and FIA to talk to manufacturers about the regulations when they’re in the championship than when they are not in the championship.

“I think you need to attract as many as you can with something simple, something not costing as much as it is right now.

“When you have all the manufacturers around the table, then you can start negotiations and talking about the proper hypercar or GTE or new LMP1, and regulations that please everybody.

“Because today, if you have a proposal that doesn’t please Toyota, they say ‘we’ll leave’, and you have nobody.”

Officials from the Automobile Club de l’Ouest and FIA World Endurance Championship will hold a press conference on Friday to confirm the future plans for the new top class at Le Mans, which will begin for the 2020-21 season.

Toyota is set to confirm its involvement in the new hypercar-led category, using a prototype conforming to the regulations, while Aston Martin is also expected to join the class.

Comments

Loading Comments...