New Le Mans rules pique Koenigsegg’s interest

Swedish hypercar manufacturer may appear in new Le Mans 24-hours hybrid class, says boss as he lays out plans for brand’s future

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Koenigsegg, the Swedish supercar and hypercar manufacturer, has shown interest in the new Le Mans 24-hours rulebook for the top class. According to its boss, the brand may be on the grid as soon as 2020.

For the 2020/21 World Endurance Championship season, which encompasses the 2021 Le Mans 24-hours, the LMP1 prototype cars will be replaced by a hybrid class based around ‘hypercars, supercars, luxury GTs or concept cars’. A resemblance to manufacturer design will be prioritised over aerodynamic performance, opening up the category to more road-car manufacturers.

Le Mans: the past and the future...

Supercar manufacturers Brabham and Glickenhaus have already registered an interest, and the likes of Toyota, McLaren, Aston Martin, Ferrari and Ford were also involved in preliminary rule discussions, bringing together a mighty potential grid to look forward to.

Christian von Koenigsegg, boss of the eponymous company, told TopGear.com of his excitement about the new rules – and of his plans to put Koenigsegg on the Le Mans grid. ‘This is great. We’re so excited by it. What I’ve understood is the final regulations are not finished yet, but we’re looking at them very closely. We would love to go and race there. Finally, there’s a chance.’

‘It depends on the regulations. I heard that it might have to be a hybrid, and the successor to the Agera is not a hybrid. But of course, we could add some hybrid stuff to it if we have to for the regulations. Maybe the Regera’s a better candidate. We’ll see.’

Koenigsegg’s ‘finally, there’s a chance’ comments refer to his first attempt to enter Le Mans in 2007, which went no further than track testing the prototype racing car. The CCGT, based on the CCR road car, had a carbon monocoque, weighed just under 1000kg and produced 600bhp from a 5.0-litre dry-sumped V8. Plans to go racing started long before then, with the CCR and its CC prototype being designed with the FIA’s GT1 regulations in mind.

Cars could not exceed two metres in width, and the cockpit had to be at least 70 percent of the car’s width. Koenigsegg designed its prototype, and the successive road cars, around this concept, meaning a racing programme would not require too much adaptation.

Time was scarce in the Ängelholm factory, though, meaning by the point at which the engineers had built a race car and got it ready to test, the regulations had been changed to outlaw carbon monocoques and increase production numbers from 20 to 350 per annum. This was ultimately a figure Koenigsegg would have found near impossible to meet.

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