An LMDh (Le Mans Daytona h[1]) is a type of sports prototype race car that will be used in the Hypercar class of the FIA World Endurance Championship from 2022 alongside Le Mans Hypercars. The cars will also be used in the IMSA SportsCar Championship.

The LMDh regulations were created jointly by the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA), the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (ACO), and the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA). The cars will serve as the successor to the Daytona Prototype International class, utilising regulations that were planned to become the next-generation Daytona Prototype International ruleset.[2]

History

DPi 2.0

Following the FIA World Endurance Championship's transition to a winter calendar in 2018, IMSA announced in January 2018, that it would extend the homologation periods for LMP2, DPi and GTE-spec machinery in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship by an additional year. This would delay the homologation periods in the championship by roughly six months, which necessitated the homologation extension from IMSA. As such, the DPi and LMP2 cars, which were originally confirmed for a four-year period through 2020, would now be eligible for competition until at least the end of the 2021 season.[3] Despite calls from manufacturers to retain the DPi platform and regulations for the 2022 season, then-IMSA President Scott Atherton announced that IMSA was looking at other options beyond a further extension to the life of the DPi platform. [4]

On May 6 2019, IMSA announced that the next generation DPi ruleset, known as DPi 2.0 would be an evolution based on the current LMP2-based platform, featuring Hybrid technology from a single supplier, with supply voltage being unconfirmed.[5] A few days later, IMSA's VP of Competition Simon Hodgson stated that the next-generation DPi regulations would be expected to feature increased styling measures, by opening up more areas where manufacturers were able to add styling cues. Hodgson also indicated that the enlarged scope for styling cues may also come alongside regulations that dictated minimum level of styling required from each manufacturer.[6]

On June 24 2019, it was revealed that IMSA had held discussions with manufacturers regarding the incorporation of hybrid technology in the next-generation DPi ruleset, with manufacturers on the DPi 2.0 steering committee divided over the level electrification in the hybrid systems. Electrification concepts proposed included high and low-voltage systems of varying costs.[7] A further meeting held in late June saw a 400-volt system, providing in the range of 70-90 kW (90-120 hp) of electric power emerge as the leading electrification option.[8] However, despite 400-volt systems having emerged as the leading option in June, it was revealed in September that discussions had yet to reach any form of consensus, although it was agreed that manufacturers could build their own hybrid systems.[9]

DPi 2.0-LMH Convergence

Following the 2019 "Super Sebring" weekend which saw the 2019 12 Hours of Sebring held on the same weekend as the inaugural 1000 Miles of Sebring, WEC CEO Gerard Neveu revealed the possibility of DPi becoming included as part of the "Hypercar" regulations, with the integration of DPis depending on the performance levels of both platforms. [10] On July 31, 2019, FIA World Endurance Championship CEO Gerard Neveu revealed that an active effort was underway between the ACO and IMSA technical departments to seek similar performance targets between Hypercar and DPi 2.0, which would allow for both platforms to eventually crossover and compete head to head.[11]

On November 11, 2019, WEC's sole LMP1 manufacturer Toyota stated it would be open for DPi integration into the FIA World Endurance Championship's top class, on the condition it would not hinder the Japanese manufacturer from displaying its hybrid technology.[12] Shortly after the release of the LMH Technical regulations, McLaren announced it would not be considering a LMH programme, and instead called for DPi to be brought into the WEC, with McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown stating that a LMH programme was unviable for the British manufacturer, calling for steep reduction in costs.[13] Ford and Porsche expressed similar sentiments, calling for convergence between LMH and DPi.[14]

On 15 January 2020, Toyota Racing Development president and general manager David Wilson expressed support for convergence between both platforms, stating that convergence of the 2 platforms would serve as a compelling reason for Lexus to launch a DPi programme.[15]

LMDh

On 24 January 2020, ahead of the 2020 24 Hours of Daytona, a joint ACO-IMSA Press Conference was held at the Daytona International Speedway,[16] where ACO and IMSA announced the new LMDh class, which would supersede the Daytona Prototype International class. LMDh was planned to be first introduced in Europe starting in September 2021, before having its North American debut in 2022 at the 2022 Rolex 24 at Daytona.[2][17]

Despite initial plans to allow manufacturers to build their own hybrid systems, this was scrapped in the draft Le Mans Daytona h regulations released in May, in favour of a spec 50hp hybrid system.[18] The draft regulations stated that a car weight of 1030 kg, 500 kW peak of combined power from engine and hybrid system, a single bodywork package, a single tyre supplier, alongside a global Balance of Performance system to balance out LMDh and LMH cars.[19][20] The gearbox hybrid system will be supplied by Xtrac with an integrated motor generator unit supplied by Bosch and batteries from Williams Advance Engineering.[21][22] The chassis suppliers will be Dallara, Ligier, Multimatic and Oreca.[22]

Confirmed entries

Manufacturer Model Chassis Year Ref.
Acura TBD Oreca 2023 [23]
Audi TBD Multimatic 2023 [24][25]
BMW M LMDh Dallara 2023 [26][27][28]
Cadillac LMDh-V.R Dallara 2023 [29][30][31]
Porsche TBD Multimatic 2023 [32][25]
Alpine TBD Oreca 2024 [33]

References

  1. ^ "Le Mans Categories | 24 Hours of le Mans".
  2. ^ a b "LMDh to replace DPi in new IMSA ACO convergence". RACER. 2020-01-24. Retrieved 2020-08-26.
  3. ^ Dagys, John. "IMSA Extends LMP2, DPi, GTE Homologation Periods – Sportscar365". sportscar365.com. Retrieved 2020-08-26.
  4. ^ Dagys, John. "Atherton Downplays DPi Regs Extension; "New Content" for '22 – Sportscar365". sportscar365.com. Retrieved 2020-08-26.
  5. ^ Dagys, John. "IMSA Confirms 'Mild Hybrid', Evolution Strategy for DPi 2.0 – Sportscar365". sportscar365.com. Retrieved 2020-08-26.
  6. ^ Dagys, John. "DPi 2.0 Set for Increased Styling Measures – Sportscar365". sportscar365.com. Retrieved 2020-08-26.
  7. ^ Dagys, John. "IMSA Yet to Decide on Hybrid Voltage for DPi 2.0 – Sportscar365". sportscar365.com. Retrieved 2020-08-26.
  8. ^ Dagys, John. "High-Voltage Hybrids Emerge as Favored Option for DPi 2.0 – Sportscar365". sportscar365.com. Retrieved 2020-08-26.
  9. ^ "Hybrid Size & Shape, The Sticking Point For DPI 2022? – dailysportscar.com". www.dailysportscar.com. Retrieved 2020-08-26.
  10. ^ Dagys, John. "FIA, ACO Leave Door Open for DPis in New Top Class Regs – Sportscar365". sportscar365.com. Retrieved 2020-08-26.
  11. ^ Dagys, John. "Neveu Hopeful of Hypercar, DPi 2.0 Crossover for 2022 – Sportscar365". sportscar365.com. Retrieved 2020-08-26.
  12. ^ Dagys, John. "Toyota Open to DPi Integration into WEC's Top Class – Sportscar365". sportscar365.com. Retrieved 2020-08-26.
  13. ^ "McLaren won't build hypercar, wants DPi in WEC". www.motorsport.com. Retrieved 2020-08-26.
  14. ^ "McLaren & Porsche Still Pushing For Hypercar-DPi 2.0 Convergence – dailysportscar.com". www.dailysportscar.com. Retrieved 2020-08-26.
  15. ^ Dagys, John. "Lexus in Support of DPi/Hypercar Convergence; Le Mans Prospects – Sportscar365". sportscar365.com. Retrieved 2020-08-26.
  16. ^ "Significant Conference To Take Place Tomorrow – dailysportscar.com". www.dailysportscar.com. Retrieved 2020-08-26.
  17. ^ Silvestro, Brian (2020-01-24). "ACO and IMSA Are Creating a New Joint Top-Level Le Mans Prototype Class". Road & Track. Retrieved 2020-08-26.
  18. ^ "LMDH-Hypercar Convergence Technical Details Released (Updated) – dailysportscar.com". www.dailysportscar.com. Retrieved 2020-08-26.
  19. ^ Andrew Cotton - Editor (2020-01-28). "WEC Hypercar update". Racecar Engineering. Retrieved 2020-08-26.
  20. ^ "New LMDh prototype car will compete for victory at Le Mans and Daytona". Motor Sport Magazine. 2020-01-24. Retrieved 2020-08-26.
  21. ^ https://www.wae.com/news/2020/09/williams-advanced-engineering-appointed--as-exclusive-battery-system
  22. ^ a b "Xtrac appointed gearbox supplier for New Hybrid sports car endurance racing". Newbury Weekly News Business Today section. 8 October 2020.
  23. ^ Goodwin, Graham (26 January 2021). "Acura Confirm IMSA LMDh Campaign for 2023". dailysportscar.com. Dailysportscar. Retrieved 26 January 2021.
  24. ^ "Audi set to quit Formula E, start LMDh project". Motorsport.com. 30 November 2020.
  25. ^ a b Lloyd, Daniel (18 May 2021). "Multimatic confirmed as LMDh supplier for Porsche, Audi". sportscar365.com. John Dagys Media.
  26. ^ Watkins, Gary (10 June 2021). "BMW to make top-flight sportscar racing return in 2023". motorsport.com. Motorsport Network. Retrieved 11 June 2021.
  27. ^ Dagys, John (8 September 2021). "BMW Confirms Dallara Partnership for LMDh Program". sportscar365.com. John Dagys Media. Retrieved 8 September 2021.
  28. ^ Lloyd, Daniel (13 November 2021). "RLL to Run BMW LMDh Program in IMSA; GTD Pro Next Year". Sportscar365. John Dagys Media. Retrieved 13 November 2021.
  29. ^ "Cadillac to Compete in IMSA and WEC in 2023". media.cadillac.com. Cadillac. 24 August 2021. Retrieved 24 August 2021.
  30. ^ Lloyd, Daniel (24 August 2021). "Cadillac Announces LMDh Program with AXR, Ganassi". sportscar365.com. John Dagys Media. Retrieved 24 August 2021.
  31. ^ Thukral, Racit (24 August 2021). "Cadillac announces WEC, IMSA programmes with new LMDh contender". motorsport.com. Motorsport Network. Retrieved 24 August 2021.
  32. ^ Lloyd, Daniel (15 December 2020). "Porsche Confirms LMDh Program for 2023". sportscar365.com. John Dagys Media. Retrieved 15 December 2020.
  33. ^ https://www.24h-lemans.com/en/news/24-hours-of-le-mans-alpine-to-compete-in-hypercar-starting-in-2024-55678