WEC: 2015 sporting regulations for series released by FIA

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Multiple tweaks have been made to the World Endurance Championship sporting regulations by the FIA ahead of the 2015 season, which begins April 12th at Silverstone.

A single LMP1 category will go into effect next season with the LMP1-H and LMP1-L classes now known as hybrid or non-hybrid respectively.

Qualifying will change as only one timed lap from two drivers will count towards the official time. Also, a Silver or Bronze-rated LMP2 driver or a Bronze-rated GTE-Am driver must be one of the qualifying drivers. The length of the sessions are also set to be reduced from 25 to 20 minutes.

Tire limits will also come into play. LMP1 teams will be limited to six sets of tires per six-hour race and four sets per practice. LMP2 cars will have four sets per race and three per practice, and GTE classes will have six sets per race and four per practice. Also, tire makers no longer have the right to refuse supply to teams.

Those are among the already approved changes but other potential changes are also possible according to John Dagys of SportsCar 365, and they could be approved during the next World Motor Sports Council meeting in March.

The potential changes include adjustments in drive time amounts for several categories; engine restrictions in the LMP1 category; driver weight/ballast rules; new testing rules, including what would be a mandatory rookie test from LMP1 manufacturers; and personnel restrictions in LMP1.

The WEC will once again visit the Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas in mid-September.

James Hinchcliffe on Andretti: ‘It’s certainly the place I want to be’

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Since before the start of the 2020 NTT IndyCar Series season, James Hinchcliffe tirelessly has worked to ensure the future would include a full-time return in 2021.

And with an opportunity to run the final three races this season with Andretti Autosport, there seems a surefire (albeit unlikely) path.

“If I go out and win all three,” Hinchcliffe joked with IndyCar on NBC announcer Leigh Diffey in an interview Friday (watch the video above), “it would be hard for them to say no, right?”

Regardless of whether he can go unbeaten at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course next weekend or the Oct. 25 season finale at St. Petersburg, Florida (where he earned his first career win in 2013), Hinchcliffe will have the chance to improve his stock with the team that he knows well and now has an opening among its five cars for 2021.

All three of Hinchcliffe’s starts this season — the June 6 season opener at Texas Motor Speedway, July 4 at the IMS road course and the Indianapolis 500 — were with Andretti, where he ran full time in IndyCar from 2012-14.

“Obviously, the plan from January 2020 was already working on ’21 and trying to be in a full-time program,” he said. “I’ve really enjoyed being reunited with Andretti Autosport, and everybody there has been so supportive. It’s been a very fun year for me on track. It’s been kind of a breath of fresh air in a lot of ways.

“It’s certainly the place I want to be moving forward. We’ve been working on that, working on those conversations. Genesys has been an incredible partner in my three races. We’ll be representing Gainbridge primarily, but Genesys will still have a position on our car in the last three.”

Gainbridge is the primary sponsor of the No. 26 Dallara-Honda that was vacated by Zach Veach, who left the team after it was determined he wouldn’t return in 2021. Hinchcliffe can empathize having lost his ride with Arrow McLaren SP after last season with a year left on his deal.

“You never want to earn a ride at the expense of somebody else in the sense that has happened here with Zach,” Hinchcliffe said. “I feel bad that he’s not able to see out the last three races of his season. I’ve got a lot of respect for him off track. He’s been a teammate this year, a colleague for years before that and honestly a friend for years before that. I’ve got a lot of time for him and his family. I understand a little bit of what it’s like in that position and what he’s going through.”

Hinchcliffe is ready to seize the moment, though, starting with the Oct. 2-3 doubleheader race weekend at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. He had been hoping to add the Harvest Indy Grand Prix to his schedule and had been working out for the possibility.

“Then last week I had given up hope (and) was resigned that wasn’t happening,” he said. “I told my trainer, ‘I think we’re done for this year.’ Three days later, this call comes. I’m glad we didn’t make that decision too early. I feel great physically.

“I look at it as a great opportunity to continue to show I’ve still got what it takes and should be there hopefully full time next year on the grid.”

Watch Hinchliffe’s video with Leigh Diffey above or by clicking here.