As of this year, FIA WEC rules stipulate a maximum number of test days for competitors. Teams still have to declare the date, place and cars (ch
First of all, what exactly is meant by a private test and does the same definition apply to all four categories? The question is by no means trivial as some competitors, such as ESM and Krohn Racing, have signed up for both the FIA World Endurance Championship and several rounds of the American TUDOR United SportsCar Championship. In fact, a private test is any test aside from the Prologue and the official pre-season tests. Racing in another championship is not considered as a private test.
There are two types of private test: open and closed. Open tests are organised by a competitor but open to other competitors in the championship. FIA WEC officials pass on the information to the other competitors and if they are interested, they contact the organising team directly. Obviously, no team or organiser may oppose the participation of another team. Closed tests are organised by a competitor, who is free to invite other competitors or not. It is entirely the organising team’s decision. Thus, when only one team takes part in a test, it is generally a closed test.
As with all rules, there are exceptions, especially for debugging new cars, promotional films or media days. All three are subject to strict conditions.
For LM P1 competitors, the majority of which are factory teams, private tests are counted in car/day units. As with any regulations, the FIA WEC reserves the right to carry out spot checks to ensure the rules are applied which, of course, competitors must accept. A maximum of 10 closed private testing car/days are allowed. This number increases to 20 for new manufacturers entering the competition, such as Nissan for example. A maximum of 10 open private test car/days are permitted provided they are declared 30 days in advance and a further 30 open private test car/days are accepted if they are declared at least 90 days in advance.
The LM P2 category, comprised of private teams, is allowed fewer test days than LM P1. This is logical given that the cars are purchased off the shelf and considered already tried and tested by the manufacturer. A maximum of 5 closed and 10 private test car/days are permitted provided they are declared at least 30 days in advance.
The rules for the LM GTE Pro and Am categories are the same. A maximum of 10 closed private testing car/days are allowed and any open private testing must be announced 30 days in advance.
Although the Prologue is not counted as a private test, the days are still counted in the open private testing car/day quota, as is the Le Mans 24 Hours test day, the Bugatti test day on 2 June and the end-of-season Rookie test. For LM P1, these tests are counted as open private testing and the 90-day notification period applies.
Finally, just as reconnaissance on specials is not allowed in the rally world, in the FIA WEC, no private testing, open or closed, is permitted at a track in the 30 days before it hosts a championship round. Porsche was able to test at the Sakhir track this February as the FIA WEC round in Bahrain takes place in November.
For more information on private testing, please consult the 2015 FIA WEC sporting regulations.
FIA World Endurance Championship competitors will be at Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet in the south of France on 27 and 28 March for the Prologue, the official practice sessions.
Cécile Bonardel / ACO Translated by Emma Paulay
PHOTO: Abu-Dhabi circuit (ABU DHABI), 2015 JANUARY. Porsche is testing its new 919 LM P1 hybrid car.