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Beaumesnil: “No Mountain to Climb” for DPis in LMP1 Privateer

ACO not ruling out DPis for LMP1 Privateer class…

Photo: Mike Levitt/IMSA

Photo: Mike Levitt/IMSA

ACO Sporting Director Vincent Beaumesnil has admitted that IMSA’s DPi cars could be easily made eligible for LMP1 Privateer competition, although dismissing rumors the FIA and ACO could eventually adopt the entire platform. (En Français)

Beaumesnil, who along with ACO President Pierre Fillon and FIA World Endurance Championship boss Gerard Neveu attended last month’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, said DPis, such as the Cadillac DPi-V.R, could be adapted to LMP1 non-hybrid regulations.

“Today, the Cadillac is a Dallara P217 equipped with a General Motors engine. I don’t think there is a mountain to climb to come in LMP1 non-hybrid,” Beaumesnil told Endurance-Info.

“Seeing a Dallara chassis equipped with a Cadillac engine is not insurmountable if the car is entered by a privateer team.”

It’s understood the changes required would involve adapting to the ACO fuel-flow meters and electronics, as well as an increase in power, which could be achievable for engines such as the purpose-built 6.2-liter Cadillac V8.

While none of the existing IMSA DPi teams have expressed interest in competing in 24 Hours of Le Mans, except for the factory Mazda squad, Beaumesnil said he now sees a strong future for the LMP1 Privateer subclass.

SMP Racing will debut its new Dallara-built BR1 prototype next year, alongside multiple expected Ginetta LMP1 entries, as well as the possibility for additional constructors in the years to come.

“The LMP1 non-hybrid class is really starting to get going, and I’m very pleased,” Beaumesnil said.

“It is necessary to be able to [elevate] the cars into the immediate vicinity of the LMP1 hybrids for a budget from a privateer team.

“The teams understand the value of LMP1 non-hybrid. The real return will take place in 2018/2019 with new cars and new engines.”

As for the rumored adoption of DPi regulations into the WEC as its own class, Beaumesnil said it’s currently not on the cards, despite some uncertainty over the long-term health of LMP1 factory involvement.

“We do not pursue the same goals even if the desire to have a common prototype was there,” he said. “The [situation in the U.S.] is different from that of Europe. But I’m glad that the category has started in the U.S.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

53 Comments

53 Comments

  1. Tarek R

    February 21, 2017 at 10:14 am

    IMO, LMP1 must follow the DPi formula. The current rules are killing the class and the sport with hilarious budgets and costs.

    I prefer to see a 12-car field with affordable LMP1s than just four high-tech hybrid machines.

    • Susafan

      February 21, 2017 at 10:31 am

      I don’t want to see LMP1 turning into a boring semi-spec-class. DPi is fine for a continental championship, but there is no way it should be the top class of the WEC.

      • N8

        February 21, 2017 at 11:38 am

        Depends how many OEM’s are left in P1-HY.

      • Max

        February 21, 2017 at 5:17 pm

        Running LMP1 under similar rules to the old LMP2 (i.e. open chassis manufacturers) but with more power would not be far off from the pre-Hybrid rules. I think it would be plenty exciting and quite far from being spec.

        • morningview66

          February 21, 2017 at 6:09 pm

          But here lies the problem. I am not sure manufacturers would want to be involved without being able to showcase their hybrid technology.

          Unless cost was significantly lower, as in DPi.

    • GR88

      February 21, 2017 at 2:35 pm

      If you’d been following developments you’d be aware the ACO are currently implementing cost cutting measures and writing the next set of regulations. These regs will limit cars to one hybrid system (down from two), when the initial plan was to increase it to three. All OEM’s, including Peugeot, are sat around the table.

      On the Privateer front two serious projects are known, Ginetta and SMP. Ginetta are building 10 chassis, six of which are planned to race. There’s very little preventing a DPI to race in P1-L, they’re essentially P2’s with alternative engine options.

      • Ko I

        February 21, 2017 at 4:20 pm

        Cost-cutting is good, and all, but the real problem is equivalency of the entire class. LMP1L teams have not had more than the slightest chance of being able to win, solely dependent on every single hybrid crashing, failing or otherwise being seriously delayed. That is what is killing LMP1, and I don’t think the ACO gives a damn that it is.

        • GR88

          February 21, 2017 at 5:26 pm

          Again, should read up on what’s happening. The original French Endurance Info article is a good start.

          The hybrids will be getting a 30% fuel allocation cut from 2018 and aero reductions. Of course they will claim some back with development, but it’s a start. The P1-L cars will be get bigger front/rear aero freedoms, and in 2018, moveable aero.

          Ginetta predicts their chassis would be 2 seconds slower than a hybrid at Le Mans, and much quicker on the straights.

          • TF110

            February 22, 2017 at 12:35 am

            The endurance-info article does not say a 30% fuel cut, but a 30% drop in downforce (Google translated it “air pressure”).

    • GTurner38

      February 21, 2017 at 4:06 pm

      For years it was just Audi and Peugeot as teams realistically competing for wins with the rest of LMP1 as effectively a second class. Before that it was Audi by themselves. So long as Porsche doesn’t go away, the class will be fine for the remainder of this rules era while everything seems to indicate several LMP1 privateers will enter next year.

  2. guest

    February 21, 2017 at 10:15 am

    Arrogant ACO as usual.

  3. Jason

    February 21, 2017 at 10:17 am

    Glad to see the doors potentially open again. LMP 1.5 looks could be the real deal in 2018 if this happens along with the Ginetta and BR/SMP efforts. This could have a trickle down effect on LMP2 if it takes off.

  4. N8

    February 21, 2017 at 11:14 am

    What’s to adopt? How many years did Rebellion run a warmed over Oreca P2 chassis with a Toyota or AER powerplant? What’s the difference between ByKolles’ Nissan Powered CLM vs. the same engine in a Dallara P217?

    The question is, do P1 privateer rules require you to bring a bespoke chassis of your own design? If they do, this sounds like a problem for SMP and Ginetta. If they don’t, then the door is already open for DPi in WEC.

    • Bakkster

      February 21, 2017 at 12:02 pm

      Come next season (which is the only one that matters, now that the LM24 invites for this year have been announced) to be competitive with a non-hybrid will require adding the movable rear wing.

  5. Susafan

    February 21, 2017 at 11:24 am

    Is there a possibility for DPi Manufacturers to swutch the engine off-season? If this is possible, I’d see the possibility of NISSAN swotching to the P1-engine so ESM and interested customers can race at Le Mans. Maybe Mazda could even switch to the AER-V6-Turbo engine

    • guest

      February 21, 2017 at 12:38 pm

      Noooo. The last thing Mazda needs is to switch to ANOTHER AER motor.

    • GTurner38

      February 21, 2017 at 4:08 pm

      If they were to run at Le Mans, it wouldn’t be as a DPi, so those rules wouldn’t matter.

  6. The Brad

    February 21, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    Are these the same people who said that DPi will absolutely be able to run in P2 WEC and LeMans as-is? Universal P2 rule set? How did that work out again?

    • GR88

      February 21, 2017 at 2:47 pm

      No. That was IMSA, and that’s what’s happening. In the WEC OEM’s are encouraged to enter P1. Previously it was only P1-H, but now the door is being opened to P1-L. The first sign of this is Nismo supplying ByKolles. It’s not a huge stretch to imagine Mazda, Cadillac etc. supplying engines to various P1-L teams.

    • GTurner38

      February 21, 2017 at 4:10 pm

      They never said DPi would be able to run as is. They said they could run with their non-spec engines but would have to revert back to LMP2 bodywork. That was when the DPis were just different engines and bodywork rather than different electronics, suspension, and brakes.

  7. Fabio

    February 21, 2017 at 1:24 pm

    I still think these cars are closer to a P2 formula than P1. The Gibson P2 engined cars were not far from the GMs, and even ahead of the Mazdas. So they could be allowed to race in P2 against the WEC Gibsons.

    • GR88

      February 21, 2017 at 2:58 pm

      In theory, if you allowed DPI’s into P2, you’d have to deal with BoP for bodywork/engines. That’s before considering OEM branding in P2, something the ACO don’t want.

      In P1-L you could maintain said bodywork/engines, no BoP issues. The only concession would be branding. Rather than, for example, a Mazda, it would need to be a Riley-Mazda.

      • Fabio

        February 23, 2017 at 1:30 pm

        You always have to deal with BoP, when using a road car formula. That was my point exactly, that IMSA’s idea for the P2 class is much more appealing than LMP2.
        I don’t think the BoP there would be such a nightmare, given that the cars with Gibson engines and WEC bodies did reasonably well in Daytona. Put in a less GM-biased BoP (hopefully things will be more leveled at Sebring) and it’s good to go.

    • GTurner38

      February 21, 2017 at 4:13 pm

      If you BoP the DPis to LMP2 for Le Mans, I guarantee you they won’t be able to win. There’s no way the ACO is going to risk having two or three cars in a field of 25 LMP2s that have an advantage due to a BoP error, so without getting a large sample size, they would have to err in favor of the WEC/ELMS cars. It would be better for the DPi teams to have a go at LMP1.

      • Fabio

        February 23, 2017 at 1:27 pm

        Much in the same way as IMSA “err”d in favor of GM?

    • Andres

      February 21, 2017 at 5:17 pm

      The cadillac cars were much faster than the Gibson engined ones, remember that in the tests in last December they were not restricted and ran laps much faster than the Gibson cars, so in the actual configuration they are closer to the LMP1 in terms of top speed, even to the hybrids, than to the LMP2, so if they must race in WEC, they will better suit against LMP1 hybrid than LMP2, because they need a very little boost up to match that level, and to race against LMP2 they need to be severely detuned, as happens right now in IMSA

  8. Fabio

    February 21, 2017 at 1:26 pm

    Yeah that V6 P1 AER engine was a nightmare, just ask Rebellion and byKolles. But if I’m Mazda I’d be seriously considering how to get my car allowed in P1-L for the WEC, even if with their current engine, instead of getting stomped at by IMSA’s GM favouring BoP.

  9. Juninho

    February 21, 2017 at 1:29 pm

    Imsa 2018

    LMP1
    LMP2
    GTLM
    GTD

    • Rissas dad

      February 21, 2017 at 2:01 pm

      Dpis are not going away after one year. Thats silly, but i think i get your meaning.

      • Jeff Wagner

        February 22, 2017 at 8:51 pm

        The name DPI should be going away after one year! Typical NASCAR couldn’t leave well enough alone! They can call it whatever, they ARE Prototype “P2” cars.

        • Andy Flinn

          February 23, 2017 at 12:00 pm

          Jeff, DPis are NOT “P2” cars. “P2s” run a spec Gibson engine in the WEC. The DPis do not.

          Also, show me a “P2” with custom bodywork and Mazda or Cadillac engines.

          Finally, the geniuses at the ACO/WEC – who so value technological diversity – have banned DPis from racing in LMP2 at Le Mans or in the WEC.

          And I know I’m going to regret asking this but what does DPi have to do with NASCAR?

    • Juninho

      February 22, 2017 at 6:51 am

      LMP1 and GTLM Michelin
      LMP2 and GTD Continental

      • Jeff Wagner

        February 22, 2017 at 8:57 pm

        NO P1 yet (It will just split Prototype teams)
        P2: Open tire choice
        GTLM: Open tire choice (As is now)
        GTD: Open tire choice

  10. Rissas dad

    February 21, 2017 at 1:59 pm

    Like the change in tone, but have to question the motive if all of a sudden an LMP1-non hybrid class which is almost devoid of entries now, is about to see several new entries (ie multiple ginettas) coming in. Has anyone read where ByKolles or Rebellion spends per annum? That would be intetesting to know how it compares with hybrids and dpi’s.

    • Kurt

      February 21, 2017 at 2:14 pm

      I think the ACO is just trying to put a Band-Aid on a dying class. I also think the ACO is scared that more manufacturers will switch to North America after they realize you can run a DPi for overall wins at a fraction of the cost of a LMP Hybrid.

      The ACO created an IMSA class for Le Mans in the 80’s during the Group C era when teams discovered that IMSA rules were more cost effective for similar equipment and was becoming popular.

      • Rissas dad

        February 21, 2017 at 2:26 pm

        I agree. Some here think DPis should jump through aco hoops just to run wec in a sub class no one cares about. Imo this statement today is a clear sign as you say, they are on a downward path where imsa is increasing. Im not throwing dirt on them, its just the trend and its of their making. It could reverse next year, who knows? But I’ll take the dpi formula for manufacturer involvement every year. Its cheaper, easier, less time consuming to launch and compete. All you bop’ers out there, its one race. If anybody pulls out mid season then i will worry. If the aco hadnt stomped on US sportscar racing repeatedly over the years, i wouldnt enjoy this so much.

        • AudiTT

          February 21, 2017 at 3:29 pm

          I guess you haven’t been following this sport for very long. By “stomp”, I assume you mean the global sportscar audience should be staying up until the small hours of the morning, watching the world’s best sports car teams competing a dozen times per year on one continent.

          Lets forget the WEC has history going back to the 1950’s, or that new markets and fans are opening up across the globe.

          • Max

            February 21, 2017 at 5:29 pm

            The WEC in its current form does not. It owes its existence to Don Panoz keeping interest in an LMP based championship going care of the ALMS. Grand AM should get some of the credit as well. Bernie Ecclestone killed sports car prototypes to benefit his baby.

            What the FIA was able to do was parlay its F1 muscle into getting manufacturers to agree to a globe trotting series with budgets that could pay for the entire IMSA field. They do deserve credit for that, as that is no small feat. However, the way the FIA/ACO has dealt with IMSA really speaks poorly of them given that they owe a lot to the ALMS and Grand AM. Without them we probably wouldn’t have the ELMS and WEC we have today. LeMans would have some one off prototypes and we’d gave GT1/GT3 style racing otherwise.

          • Rissas dad

            February 21, 2017 at 6:23 pm

            20 years, thanks.

            Im not a priority to them, why should they be to me? The ACO has never had my interests in mind. They own the crown jewel and they use that to bully all the little guys. Why? Because manufacturers want LeMans and they know it. IMSA, AsianLMS, ELMS, all forced to abandon P1 because the ACO wants to be the best in the world, making them second-level. Thats BS. Let the manufacturers decide where they want to run, let the teams decide. The try to dictate. Repeatedly, over and over. I dont have the means to go see a race at Spa, or Shanghai or Lemans. Wish i did. Spa is awesome. But i have to care about and support the one thats close to me. Im thankful to them for the rebirth of this racing here,along with Dr Don but it didnt take long for the squeezing to begin.

      • GR88

        February 21, 2017 at 3:24 pm

        There was an IMSA class in the 80’s because floor aero rules were very different to Group C. They created less downforce and therefore had a weight break. There were few entries of note once Group C took hold in ’83/’84. Neither where they cheaper, they were to all intents and purposes the same cars.

        DPI isn’t a magic bullet for the WEC. They’re essentially P2 cars, a class could be up and running by next season. The ACO have made it clear a most cost focused P1-H will continue to headline the series. DPI chassis/engines can slot into a revitalised P1-L, which itself could see half a dozen or more entries.

        While there’s some crossover between teams/drivers, manufacturer spend is very much focused on their specific region. Just as you wouldn’t expect Peugeot to compete in IMSA, you won’t be seeing Cadillac in WEC.

  11. Reeeeeeeeeeeeeeee

    February 21, 2017 at 2:52 pm

    So tired of that Euro autist Nevil Clavain from /r/WEC

  12. Mustard

    February 21, 2017 at 6:42 pm

    There was a brief moment when Porsche, Audi, Toyota, and Nissan were about to give us an 8 car (maybe 10-12 at Le Mans) LMP1 field…

    Then Nissan imploded with that “thing” they build…

    Then Audi left…

    Oh what could have been!

  13. widmerpool

    February 21, 2017 at 6:43 pm

    Why is sports car racing so complicated? There’s IMSA, the WEC, the Le Mans series for every continent except Antartica, LMP-H, LMP2, DPi, LMPH1i2DPi, yadda, yadda, yadda. Not to mention a GT3 series for every geographical entity down to southern North Dakota. I guess it means we’re fortunate to see so much racing, but unless one is a religious follower of the sport, one’s never sure of what one’s watching.

    • Edgar

      February 21, 2017 at 7:34 pm

      Its funny its complicated since I always considered sportscar racing to be where you can have a car you can run anywhere globally but now LMP1s only run in WEC and its divided into 2 subclasses. LMP2s can run in WEC, ELMS, and IMSA but IMSA also has theyre own special breed of LMP2s which apparently might run as LMP1Ls soon. GTE cars can run at Le Mans, WEC, ELMS and IMSA but IMSA will also accept souped up GT3 cars as GTEs. Le Mans however refuses to accept GT3s at all and IMSA will only accept them if you pay to join the cool kids club but you can run in any of the hundred other series vying for a piece of the GT3 market.

    • thomas

      February 22, 2017 at 8:02 am

      It’s not really that complicated.

      WEC = LMP1 & LMP2
      ELMS, AsLMS = LMP2 + LMP3
      IMSA = LMP2 + Modified LMP2 (DPi)

      As for the GT Classes:
      WEC = GTE (big banger hard core GT cars)
      ELMS = GTE
      AsLMS, IMSA = GTE (GTLM in IMSA speak) & GT3 (National class category. GTD in IMSA speak)

      Effectively LMP1 is top level global racing. LMP2 is continental racing. LMP3 is national level prototype racing. GTE is global & continental spec GT cars, GT3 is national level GT cars

    • Kurt

      February 22, 2017 at 4:03 pm

      Used to be simple with ALMS

      • The Ghost of Buckshot Jones

        February 23, 2017 at 9:19 am

        Yea, for real, you had “P1” consisting of 2-3 cars, non-WEC spec or legal Acura P1 cars, “grandfathered” P2 cars from an old spec with hybrid systems that weren’t ACO legal, P2, non ACO LMPC, GT, GTC, The “whatever the hell panoz wants to run that isn’t ACO legal or homologated” class, etc. Yea, so simple.

      • Andy Flinn

        February 23, 2017 at 12:05 pm

        Yeah Kurt, ALMS only had FIVE classes. Simple. And the spec Porsche and PC were ALMS classes that couldn’t race at Le Mans, either.

  14. Edgar

    February 21, 2017 at 8:00 pm

    The Cadillac DPi could easily be competitive in LMP1-L if GM was willing but I doubt GM would do it unless they could compete with Porsche and Toyota and win overall as they wouldn’t want fans to think their premium Cadillac branded V8 prototype was beat by a fancy Toyota Prius in the same class.

  15. Kurt

    February 22, 2017 at 4:01 pm

    Question is if GM/Caddy has the “balls” to step into the privateer LMP1 market and take their “well developed” DPi car to LeMans and see how it stacks up? Their motor is plenty large enough to increase power without blowing up.

  16. Jeff Wagner

    February 22, 2017 at 9:18 pm

    Max said… “The WEC in its current form does not. #1 It owes its existence to Don Panoz keeping interest in an LMP based championship going care of the ALMS. #2 Grand AM should get some of the credit as well”.
    Max, RE: #1 Sportscar Racing fans all around the world including me are thankful to Don Panoz for that AND saving Sportscar Racing along with MOSPORT in North America!!! Max RE: #2 In mine and countless others VERY STRONG opinion Grand-Am deserves absolutely zero credit for the mess they created with their rival series pre-unification. They never even had proper prototypes let alone P1 prototypes, and the series was no better than the IRL. To end positive, 2017 is here now and it’s the most EXCITING beginning since 1999!!!

    • Andy Flinn

      February 23, 2017 at 6:01 pm

      “…Grand-Am deserves absolutely zero credit for the mess they created with their rival series pre-unification.”

      Zero credit, Jeff?

      Three of the five current DPi and P2 constructors (Dallara, Riley, and Multimatic) previously built DPs. At Daytona, Dallaras finished 1-2 and a Riley/Multimatic finished third.

      The Grand-Am DP was Riley’s most successful customer race car – EVER. So you’re telling me that NOTHING these companies learned building DPs and racing them at Daytona filtered through to the DPis or P2s? Really?

      Before it ever turned a lap in the Ford GT, and scored GTE and GTLM victories at Le Mans (2016) and Daytona (2017), the Ford EcoBoost turbo V-6 engine was not only developed and battle tested in a CGR Grand-Am DP Riley – it went on to win Sebring in 2014 and Daytona in 2015.

      Furthermore, cars like the Ferrari, Audi and Aston Martin that raced in GTD (by far THE MOST POPULAR class) at Daytona first raced in Grand-Am Rolex GT (why it’s called GT “Daytona”) – not the ALMS. The ALMS version of GT3 racing was a class of spec Porsche GT3 Cup cars.

      And how about the teams? WTR, AXR and VFR/Spirit of Daytona – all former DP-racing Grand-Am teams – filled the podium at Daytona with DPis and a P2. Meanwhile, Allegra Motorsports – Rolex GT class winners at the 2007 Rolex24 – suprised everyone in GTD by winning the Rolex24 again, 10 years later, in 2017.

      Grand-Am gets ZERO credit?

      Spare me.

    • John Cena

      February 24, 2017 at 2:29 am

      Shut the fuck up elitist.

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