IMSA and ACO sign prototype convergence agreement

FLRacingFan

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The result of this convergence, the LMDh car will be:

  • Based on a new chassis common to both ACO and IMSA, using elements of the Le Mans Hypercar and LMP2 chassis, and built by the four current LMP2 manufacturers: Dallara, Ligier, Multimatic and Oreca. This chassis will also be used for the new generation LMP2.
  • The car will use a common hybrid KERS system, on the rear axle.
  • Its silhouette and design will be modifiable, developed according to the brand or style of the manufacturer which will provide the engine power for the car



Of the rumored new manufacturers on the LMDh horizon, Ford, Lexus, McLaren, and Porsche are among the major brands that could join Acura, Cadillac, and Mazda at Daytona, Le Mans and other famous endurance events in the next two years.

Peugeot, which announced a Hypercar program for 2022, is expected to shift its plans to LMDh, giving the new formula another famous manufacturer to bolster its ranks.
 

FLRacingFan

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I think this makes sense to allow. If we are going to go over there and be balanced against their cars at Le Mans there shouldn’t be any reason they can’t come here and run at Daytona.

 

StandOnIt

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Funny, wasn't too long ago the other side was trying to eliminate the Daytona prototypes. Now hats in their hands they are wanting to be included here in the U.S.
 

Doc Austin

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Peugeot, which announced a Hypercar program for 2022, is expected to shift its plans to LMDh, giving the new formula another famous manufacturer to bolster its ranks.

If Peugeot goes to LMD, who is going to race against Toyota in hypercar? Will they really go ahead with hypercar if they only have one team?
 

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If Peugeot goes to LMD, who is going to race against Toyota in hypercar? Will they really go ahead with hypercar if they only have one team?
Glickenhaus is ready, no?

Outside of Toyota and Glickenhaus, I have no clue who else would be interested in the HyperCar regs. Time will tell I guess and hope.
 

Doc Austin

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Glickenhaus is ready, no?

Are they? Remember, this is a tiny specialist car manufacturer most of us never heard of before hyper car was announced. Do they have $35 million to run that car? My guess is that it will never see the light of day. It would make more sense to build an LMDh.

Outside of Toyota and Glickenhaus, I have no clue who else would be interested in the HyperCar regs.

Whomever that would be, they have to be willing to burn $35 million and risk getting beat by a much less expensive LMDh.

At this point, Toyota should really give it up in the interest of the sport, and just build an LMDh. At this point the only thing hypercar would accomplish would be getting in the way of a common prototype formula. Let's just have one common class with a buttload of cars.

I'm opposed to the LMDh hybrid because it's a spec unit, and what's the point of that? If it's spec there's not going to be any development, so what's the point except to virtue signal and drive the costs up? If they just have to have it to make the new formula happen, I guess I can live with it.

I'm also delirious that FIA has decided to keep LMP2. Unless they require the manufacturers to sell cars to the privateers, they will have nowhere to race, so P2 is still a great option for them. I've watched the P2 cars in WEC pretty closely the last couple of years and they are always the stars of the show. I just think it's a shame they won't let them be competitive with the LMDh cars.
 

FLRacingFan

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Glickenhaus is ready, no?

Outside of Toyota and Glickenhaus, I have no clue who else would be interested in the HyperCar regs. Time will tell I guess and hope.
Pretty much just them, I don’t think anyone is counting ByKolles. They never would’ve gone ahead with the concept if they didn’t get buy-in from Aston Martin, but by now Toyota and Glickenhaus have done too much R&D with tangible products to show for it, so it’s probably too late to can it entirely. It’ll probably get delayed a while though. Then it’ll be Toyota, Glickenhaus, maybe Peugeot racing against hopefully a strong field of LMDh entries.
 

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I've asked this question before, but never got an answer, so I'll try again...

What is the difference between a hypercar prototype and a non-hypercar, regular old prototype? I thought the hypercar concept originally was rooted in OEM production vehicles... which I understood... but then the production requirement was dropped. It seems to me that a racing vehicle that's not an OEM production car is by definition a prototype...? :idunno:

What is it about the current Toyota that makes it *not* a hypercar? Sorry to be dense, but it's a serious question.
 

Doc Austin

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What is the difference between a hypercar prototype and a non-hypercar, regular old prototype?

I think we are playing with words, or more correctly the FIA is playing with words. It is what is because we say so. You have to understand how the French think to get how they have such an unlimited sense of gallic pride, and that nothing or no one is better than them or has a better idea. That's what stopped them from adopting DPI until after they simply had no other option. Gallic pride is also what destroys sportscar racing over and over and over.

The hypercar is restricted by drag/downforce numbers to limit aero development, which I don't think is a bad idea. Don't ask me how that works, how they are going to measure it or how they are going to police it. I also believe there must be some sort of minimum ****pit dimensions because the green houses look more like a production car. So, you're right they are really a different kind of prototype and not really a production car, because even if you are a billionaire, you probably can't buy one. The Aston would have been a production car, but the Toyota was designed strictly to the hypercar rules with no intention of ever producing a road car.

I thought the hypercar concept originally was rooted in OEM production vehicles... which I understood...

Kind of like the "production" cars that raced at Lemans from 96-99 or so at Lemans and the FIA GT championship. With those, though, you were only required to make a single road car for homologation, just to make sure they were road legal. Sounds more like a road legal prototype, doesn't it?

Of those cars, the McLaren was the only true road car because they made about 100 of them, but they never produced the longtail version that raced in 1997. The Lotus was based on their road car, but all it ever did was burst into flames. Merc and Nissan only made a single road car. Now, the Porsche 911 GT1 used a 911 tub, but that was to get around the crash testing and road car homologation. However, remember, the motor was moved to the middle instead of the rear, so that could hardly be called a road car either.

Really, all of this "road car" trickery is merely to attach brand recognition to the cars, kind of like we have been seeing in DPI, which are pure prototypes with manufacturer styling cues.

Clear enough so you understand it? Yeah, me neither.

but then the production requirement was dropped.

The damm things are going to cost $35 million a year to run already. I guess the manufacturers balked at producing a bunch of them for homologation. That or just maybe the FIA were cutting them a break and making it easier to enter, something they almost never do for the privateers.

It seems to me that a racing vehicle that's not an OEM production car is by definition a prototype...?

It's their sandbox and they can call them whatever they want. The whole hypercar concept is fake anyway. Road cars that aren't road cars, and hyper hybrids that get 6 mpg. Ain't green technology great?

What is it about the current Toyota that makes it *not* a hypercar? Sorry to be dense, but it's a serious question.

There's maybe three of four of them that are purpose built (to a formula) racecars, and that's what truly makes a prototype. The hypercars aren't prototypes because the FIA chooses to call them something else, but if you're only building three or for of them, it doesn't matter what they call them, They are still prototypes.
 

Doc Austin

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Finally, for now, I don't think the French will allow the American concept of DPI to trump the French hypercars. We've already seen how unfairly they treated the privateers by giving them a crappy EOT, that is, until they all started bailing, so what's to say they will be fair to anyone else except their own concept? I've seen this so many times the pattern of bias toward their own cars and drivers (through the rules) is totally undeniable and I don't see them stopping now in the interest of the sport because they never have done what's good for the sport.

SMP came right out and said they were leaving WEC because the FIA refused to let them be competitive, and while we suspect Ginetta had financial problems, it's tough to raise sponsorship when you have a car that has no chance of winning. Rebellion? They have probably just had enough and enough class not to make a stink about it.

I'm actually downright angry about Rebellion. Here we had a self funded team, a crack operation with the world's best sportscar drivers. How do you lose a competitor like that? What? 13 or so years of building a world class team and racing on their own money? Why don't we have an entire field of guys like that? The answer is the cars make zero sense, the costs are out of control, the rules are is unfair and as we have seen by the mass exodus, instability trumps stability.

What can be done? DPI proves the answer is keeping the French out of it. We've tried their rules since the first day of the ALMS, which died a whimpering slow death and put a lot of teams out of business. It's probably a big folly for IMSA to jump in there with the FIA, but we've been dreaming of international sportscar racing returning to being truly international since1973 or so. We had to take a chance and reworking DPI was the best hope.

Am I hopeful? Hell yes, but I also have my doubts and sincerely hope to be wrong about that.
 

FLRacingFan

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I've asked this question before, but never got an answer, so I'll try again...

What is the difference between a hypercar prototype and a non-hypercar, regular old prototype? I thought the hypercar concept originally was rooted in OEM production vehicles... which I understood... but then the production requirement was dropped. It seems to me that a racing vehicle that's not an OEM production car is by definition a prototype...? :idunno:

What is it about the current Toyota that makes it *not* a hypercar? Sorry to be dense, but it's a serious question.
The biggest difference between LMH 'prototype' and LMP1 is one at least is styled like a road car and/or is based off of a road car, even though it may not be strictly based off of a road-going car or produced at high enough volume, such as Aston Martin was going to do with their Valkyrie and Glickenhaus with the SCG 007. The new Toyota will be based off of the GR Super Sport, which is supposed to undergo at least a limited production run - but likely not the 20 or so units required to meet the LMH 'hypercar' category rules. Toyota won't be building their car with the limitations of the road car imposed on them, unlike Glickenhaus (and Aston Martin if they stuck around); they can build more bespoke parts such as with the engine if they choose to do so.

The FIA can really call things whatever they want, but the name of the category as a whole is sort of just supposed to capture the spirit of the cars going from something that more resembled ugly, bulky, rolling billboards unlike anything that would ever be in any showroom towards something more appearing like exceptional, extreme road cars.
 

LewTheShoe

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@Doc Austin and @FLRacingFan, thanks for those answers. I appreciate y'all taking the time and effort to help me understand. To me, I guess it just boils down to a racing class that is open to two different prototype formulas. One formula is called Hypercar, and the other is called LMDh, with a BoP equalizer I presume.

I'm not one to get excited about "at least styled like a road car" as I think that is a false goal. I mean, was a D Type Jaguar or a GTO styled like a road car, back in the day? Was a P3? Ford GT40? Stutz Bearcat or Mercer Raceabout? Questions about styling are best answered after the fact, with hindsight... IMO, of course.
 

Doc Austin

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To me, I guess it just boils down to a racing class that is open to two different prototype formulas. One formula is called Hypercar, and the other is called LMDh, with a BoP equalizer I presume.

I think you just explained it better than we could have!

I'm not one to get excited about "at least styled like a road car" as I think that is a false goal.

It's fake and phony. If they were based off of real road cars made in numbers large enough that people could buy them, that would be different. Then it would be a road car. Making one or two and calling them road cars is, well, not very honest. They might be road cars, but they sure aren't production cars. Two is not a production run. Twenty five would be more like it, and what they required of the GT40s, Ferrari 512s, and Porsche 917. Part of this was to assure the factory had too many expensive prototypes laying around and they would end up in the hands of privateers...… genius, actually.

I mean, was a D Type Jaguar or a GTO styled like a road car, back in the day?

A bit before my time but I believe those actually were road cars. Could be wrong though. They made a lot of those GTOs and a lot of privateers were able to get their hands on one.

Was a P3? Ford GT40?

Some of those old Ferraris were supposed to be road cars, like the 250LM, but the P3 was a ligit prototype. The GT40 was a dedicated prototype, but I believe they actually made one road just ...… not for homologation, but just to have one like that to show off. 21st century Ford GTs did begin life as a road car, and then they were approved for GT use.

It's kind of a shell game, sort of like DPI. Those are spec chassis with manufacture engines and bodywork, and then BOPed to be roughly equal. So, those are not really true prototypes either. They are more like racecars built to a prototype formula. This was done so everyone could buy a competitive chassis and jam their motor in and bodywork on it, and then call it a Cadillac (Dallara), Mazda (Riley), or Acura (Oreca). The Mazda doesn't even have a Mazda engine. I believe they run an ARE motor or something, whereas the Cadilla does run a production based GM 5.5 liter V8. I believe the Acura is based of the NXS motor, but I'm not really sure.

DPI (and the upcoming "convergence") was designed to have chassis available so manufacturers could buy one and put their motor in it. Running a sorted chassis with no mods allows greatly reduces expense. In a perfect world, car manufacturers would be required to sell current spec equipment to privateers, because then manufacturers would make money selling engines and bodywork kits, and also increase their strength in numbers. This would also give the privateers a chance to be competitive in the top class, but right now they are pretty much restricted to P2.

Porsche has almost always done this until the hybrid era when privateers didn't have $200 mill to run one, and that was the failing of LMP1h. You only have one manufacturer, and they are the sole entrants. Not very compelling. However, if Porsche does come in, I suspect any [privateer with the jack will be able to get one and, if they execute well, run at the front.

One thing, though, the Mustang Sampling privateer cars was very competitive at Daytona, so a good customer program would boost the grids and maybe actually make a little money for the factories. Cadillac can make plenty of motors. Hard to believe Acura can't cough up some motors, and that's exactly what ARE and Gibson are in business for to begin with. The chassis manufacturers are in business to sell cars, so including the privateers keeps everyone solvent. Right now, how many Orecas do you think they sold to run in DPI? Maybe two to Penske and a spare? How many Mazdas? Probably about the same. Only Cadillac is supporting the privateers.

If Porsche comes in and keeps to their privateer support traditions, the fields are going to be so packed with Porsches that other manufacturers are going to have to cut the other privateers sweetheart deals to keep them from being so outnumbered. This would be a magic series if they only gave the privateers entry with a chance to be competitive.

Sadly there is no requirement for that, and right now in IMSA you are either a manufacturer or you are out. There have been a few customer deals with Cadillac, but as of now only Cadillac has stepped up.

Back to real prototypes, I think the shared chassis manufacturer thing is here to stay, and the last pure built from-the-ground-up prototype will probably be the current Toyota.

Sadly lost in all of this is the current LMP1 privateer class are good, fast, safe cars, and real honest to goodness pure prototypes, but they are going to the scrap heap soon. The FIA and IMSA could have just adopted that and tagged on their beloved spec hybrid unit and we would have still had pure prototypes.

It all boils down to prototypes are what the FIA says they are, but I don't give a damm what they call them as long as they are fast swoopy and we get a big grid of them.
 

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I have to wonder if Koennisig might get involved?
I think it was last summer they said they’d evaluate LMH, and there were reports they’d made internal renderings of a race car based off of the Jesko. Haven’t heard anything since then though.
 

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Internal renderings aren't a lot to go on. At $35 million a pop, I won't believe it until I see it.
 

Doc Austin

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It sounds like they’re locked in with the four chassis builders. The one additional thing I probably would’ve liked to see as part of this convergence was adding Ginetta as an approved constructor.
Absolutely. Ginetta risked the entire company to race in LMP1 and probably lost their shirts. The have already built a winning P2 care so they can do it and I feel like the WEC owes Ginetta.
 

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Both LMDh and LMH will run at ~670 HP and 1030+ kg, basically putting those figures in between what DPi ran and what LMH was initially going to run. As a result of that, it appears IMSA will allow high-volume OEMs such as Toyota (maybe Peugeot) to run their Hypercar over here.


 

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Penske intensifies

Still sucks Porsche NA pulled out of GTLM in IMSA, but we now see why this was done for this project. Spend 20+ million on a GT program or develop a new LMH? I really have no issue with this, it will be great to see Porsche back in the higher prototype category again.

I have hope for the prototype programs, I just hope it's sustainable for all.
 

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Audi announce plans to drop their Formula E factory program at the end of the 2021 season and state their intentions to rejoin top flight prototype racing with an LMDh program.
The Dakar Rally will replace Audi’s factory involvement in Formula E, which will no longer be continued in the form of an Audi factory team after the 2021 season. The use of the newly developed Audi powertrain by customer teams will remain possible beyond next year.
“In addition, we are evaluating other possible fields of activity for us in international motorsport,” says Julius Seebach, Managing Director of Audi Sport GmbH. “In doing so, we have our customers’ wishes in mind as much as the company’s future strategy, which is clearly focused on electrification and carbon-neutral mobility. This is why we are intensively preparing to enter the new sports prototype category LMDh with its highlight races, the Daytona 24 Hours and Le Mans 24 Hours. The most important message for our fans is that motorsport will continue to play an important role at Audi.”

 

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Audi announce plans to drop their Formula E factory program at the end of the 2021 season and state their intentions to rejoin top flight prototype racing with an LMDh program.



I love good news in the morning.

The sound of more LMH and LMDh entries, you love to see it. Hopefully we will see the implementation of E-Tron tech.

Audi, Puegeot, Glickenhaus, Toyota, and others to come. (Hopefully)

Also, I guess Diesel gate has been thrown out of the minds of everyone.
 

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The hype is real.

The Rolex 24 in 2023 is going to sell out quick. Also, I'll give BMW three years before they back out... Yeah, I went there.
It’s going to be nuts. Already maybe the most-anticipated race I’ve looked at going to.

It’ll be interesting to see who gets the factory deal if that’s what they’re doing. They’ve been with RLL forever but there would be a lot of competition for this gig. And there’s still the new M4 GT3 they’re supposed to start running in the GTD classes next year, so maybe two different factory efforts.

How long will they stick around for? That’s a tough O/U to set. They’ve been with IMSA a long time at least.
 
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