Doonan: DPi Would Be “Logical Step Forward” for WEC

Photo: Phillip Abbott/IMSA

Mazda Motorsports director John Doonan believes DPi would be a “logical step forward” as a replacement for the top class of the FIA World Endurance Championship, amid the recent fallout of LMP1 manufacturers and growing concerns on its future.

The WEC is set to be left with only Toyota on the LMP1 Hybrid grid in 2018, and likely as a partial season entry, following Porsche’s decision to pull the plug on its program at the end of this year and Audi’s recent exit.

Doonan, speaking on this week’s Sportscar365 Double Stint Podcast, said that the integration of IMSA’s burgeoning prototype platform on a global stage would be a win-win for all parties involved, in enabling manufacturers to compete for overall victories at a fraction of the costs currently associated with LMP1 hybrid budgets.

“The fact of the matter is that manufacturers are involved in motorsport, for the most part, to put their brand in a positive light, to show the performance of their brand and to see their brand winning,” Doonan told Sportscar365.

“In our case, when Mazda has success, we believe it creates positive energy among our road car owners.

“I’ve heard from a lot of manufacturers, we’re all competitive on track, but we all are in a place of wanting to do what’s best to grow the industry. ‘Rising tide lifts all boats’ has been our philosophy.

“In the end, for us at Mazda, 2018 [IMSA] is our sole focus. However, if between IMSA, the ACO and FIA, there can be a common understanding about DPi-style cars competing on a global stage, I don’t see how you’d go wrong.”

With a fourth manufacturer in Acura joining the DPi ranks next year in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, and others reportedly in the pipeline in the years to come, Doonan feels there would be enough interest in the platform, should it be adopted in the WEC and at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

“Mazda is a global company. Most of the other brands competing in IMSA have global sales and marketing efforts,” Doonan said.

“It seems like it would be a logical step forward. With huge respect to what Audi, Porsche and Toyota have done in LMP1, showcasing hybrid electric opportunities.

“But let’s find a common ground here for everybody to compete. Frankly, the more the merrier, as far as I’m concerned.”

While its revitalized WeatherTech Championship effort with Mazda Team Joest taking priority for next year, Doonan admitted he’d be open to discussions about the Japanese manufacturer’s potential global involvement with its DPi car, if and when the time comes.

It’s believed the ACO and FIA have yet to enter advanced negotiations with IMSA over the potential of expanding its platform into the WEC, although has been among the considerations for 2019 and beyond.

“I think when those discussions happen, it’s fair to say I’d love to have a seat at the table so we could express our interest,” Doonan said.

“Our focus right now is on 2018. In terms of pushing for it, I’d like to be part of the discussion.

“If everybody comes to a common understanding and all of the input from the manufacturers and from the sanctioning bodies can reach an agreement, we would certainly be keen.

“It would be silly not to consider it, as a global brand that’s looking to continue to compete in a premium space, which is what we’re doing with our road cars and what we do on the race track.”

Ryan Myrehn contributed to this report

62 Comments

  1. Fredor

    August 23, 2017 at 9:27 am

    The ACO should wake up! Or we will be warching go-carts going around Le Mans. I think most of us would love to see DPi racing each other at all the WEC tracks. But do they ever listen to the fans?

    • John Blizzard Jr

      August 23, 2017 at 11:45 am

      The ACO won’t listen to anything that isn’t their idea.

      • The Brad

        August 23, 2017 at 4:44 pm

        This!

        Let the ACO continue to struggle and flounder with their LMP1 idea until it flops. Toyota pulls the plug on their LMP1 program before Christmas, and starts on a DPi program. Just you wait and see!

        Let ACO set rules on how much fuel you use and hybrid nonsense. I want big gas guzzling internal combustion race motors, not Prius racing.

    • Matt

      August 23, 2017 at 4:34 pm

      I’d watch Go Karts around Le Mans! 😀

      • Max

        August 23, 2017 at 5:08 pm

        Go Karts bump drafting down the Mulsanne sounds like a lot of fun actually. Someone should get the ACO to do this as a support race.

    • Steven

      August 23, 2017 at 6:35 pm

      but aren’t the Acura, Nissan, and Mazda are under exclusive contracts with the particular teams running them? I dunno about the Cadillac. But if that’s the case. Acura, Nissan, and Mazda do not have the money to run both IMSA and WEC schedules. IMSA will pretty much be dead if those teams bolt for the WEC and no one to replace them.

      • Max

        August 24, 2017 at 3:59 am

        If there’s any sort of exclusivity it’s very likely that the contracts cover just IMSA, or they’ll simply pay the money to expand. IMSA budgets aren’t exactly crazy. One LMP1-H team budget covers the entire IMSA prototype field if budget estimates are to be believed.

  2. jason

    August 23, 2017 at 9:42 am

    I hope ACO does not wake up. It will be IMSA’s gain. The IMSA WeatherTech series will be THE premier sportscar series for both prototypes and GTs in 2018

  3. Amaury

    August 23, 2017 at 9:59 am

    DPi for LeMans, 100%. DPi for the rest of WEC season, 0%.

    • Rodger

      August 23, 2017 at 11:31 am

      I think you’re being ‘optimistic’ to think there will be a WEC!

      Inverted commas because I think we were in a better place back in days when ALMS/ELMS were the top classes and Le Mans the non-championship pinnacle.

      Next year (and this) IMSA will very much have recaptured a lot of what made ALMS special for me; cars in different classes competitive for overall wins, no spec classes, strong manufacturer interest and classic tracks with ‘soul’.

      They just need to adopt the FCY concept!

  4. Brad

    August 23, 2017 at 10:16 am

    The unification of class specifications has been really great for motorsports. We’re seeing growth all over the place, with IMSA GS (GT4), GTD (GT3), and P (DPi [LMP2-based]) thriving. GTLM (GTE) has been relatively stable, but I think that has less to do with a global technical spec, and more to do with the fact that there are only so many manufacturers willing to fund a GT racing effort in the US. PWC is doing great, with increased television coverage, and lots of entries, with even some IMSA GTD competitors jumping back and forth; competition between series is great!

    It’s time for the WEC to adjust to the realities of motorsports in 2017. DPi is not a “showcase for the latest technologies”, and yet it’s still doing great. Why? I would posit that it is less important for manufacturers to showcase technology, and more important for them to keep costs under control while racing in a competitive environment. For all of DPi’s balancing issues this year, the class is still way out-performing LMP1-H when it comes to attracting entrants; and isn’t that priority #1?

    • Rodger

      August 23, 2017 at 11:37 am

      ALMS went all in on the ‘Green Technology’ vibe instead of the ‘For The Fans’ mantra that helped make it successful IMO. Whilst that was the zeitgeist then, it arguably killed its long-term viability.

      Current IMSA is doing a fair job of imitating the FTF mentality and, although it still has a bit to do, that’s probably more relevant in a world where road relevance and existing fan base are opposite sides of the coin. We appear to be moving away from ‘check out our tech’ and back towards ‘check out our brand’, the philosophy behind GT cars’ constant presence through the years.

      IMO

      Agree with your point about GT3/GT4 BTW. Same in rallying with R5s and being seen in touring cars with TCR.

  5. WBrowning

    August 23, 2017 at 10:49 am

    I would think that at least as many manufacturers that are in GTD/GT3 would end up in a DPi type of formula, especially if there is a chance to compete for an overall will at Le Mans. I could easily see 7 different brands running in a year or two and maybe high teens for entries.

    I would even venture to say that a couple of those competing in GTLM/GTE would switch over, maybe Ford, Ferrari, Porsche and Aston Martin. I think Ford has already expressed interest in DPi after the pledged 4 years of the Ford GT are up. I would think that would accelerate if they had a chance for an overall at Le Mans.

    All this might kill off GTLM/GTE, because the price difference to run them would be pretty small verses a chance to win overall. Then maybe they could run the GT3 cars with the DPi types instead, and get back to the more “road car” GTs of years past.

    • jason

      August 23, 2017 at 12:12 pm

      You don’t think GTLM/GTE will survive the early 2020’s then?

  6. dario

    August 23, 2017 at 11:30 am

    DPi is for lazy and cheap manufacturers who don’t want to do some real R&D. Toyota for example, said they will immediately pull out if DPi becomes a global platform.

    LMP1 is about technological development, and that’s why the manufacturers have done it, to do some R&D and promote it.

    If a common ground is to be found, it will not be a lower tier LMP2 category, or the DPi based on it. It will be LMP1, and that’s where ACO should allow non-hybrid factory teams. If someone wants to compete at a global level, they should put some work into it.

    Imagine the outrage if someone would suggest a spec car for the F1. Or a GP2 car to be used in the F1.

    • Mike

      August 23, 2017 at 1:52 pm

      > DPi is for lazy and cheap manufacturers who don’t want to do some real R&D.

      Or the reality that not every manufacturer is the size of a Toyota or VAG.

      At the quoted prices of current P1 budgets, Mazda would be spending more on a P1 program than THEIR ENTIRE YEARLY PROFITS.

      But you know, tell me more about how motorsport would be better off without Mazda, one of its most committed participants over the last 30 years.

    • Kirk

      August 23, 2017 at 2:29 pm

      And you can enjoy watching two Toyota’s droning around racing themselves while the rest of us watch real racing. Face it, motorsports is entertainment. If the product isn’t entertaining nobody will watch it – regardless of how stuffy and pompous some organizers/fans want to be.

      • dario

        August 23, 2017 at 3:09 pm

        Or I can watch a bunch of Ginettas and Dallaras racing at speeds much higher than DPi.

        For those who want to talk about budgets, Ginetta will sell for 2 million, engine included.

        • Patrick

          August 23, 2017 at 3:29 pm

          I doubt the LMP1 privateer cars will be much if any faster than a DPi

          • AF

            August 23, 2017 at 3:58 pm

            700+ HP and far lighter? I think they will be. Let us remember that even the Kolles car was quicker than the LMP2 cars at Spa and Le Mans, and the WEC cars are quicker than IMSA cars.

          • Patrick

            August 23, 2017 at 4:30 pm

            On the same tires the DPis are faster than the wec cars. there are wec spec cars in imsa and the dpi’s are faster. At COTA i believe the DPI’s qualified faster than the privateer WEC lmp1 cars… i think

          • TF110

            August 23, 2017 at 5:14 pm

            You’re wrong. DPi is supposed to be lmp2 speed. Not lmp1. Just because they can switch to Dunlops and go a little faster than lmp2 doesn’t mean they’d be doing 3:20’s at Le Mans. That’s what the goal is for the new privateer rules. 700hp+ and 830kg lmp1 vs ~600hp 930kg DPi. The result would be clear.

          • Steven

            August 23, 2017 at 5:56 pm

            In regards to the lap times at Cota

            DPi Cadillac 1m 54.8

            2016 results from WEC
            LMP1-H Audi 1m.45.750
            LMP1-L Rebellion 1m 53.6
            LMP2 Signatech Alpine 1m 55.8*

            *Obviously, 2017 lap times are gonna be a lot faster as the LMP2’s have been sped up*

          • Andres

            August 23, 2017 at 6:52 pm

            Cadillac and Nissan DPI engines without being BOPed down to LMP2 output are way over 600HP, even more the Cadillac, that engine can easily reach 700HP with just doing little tings on it

        • Andres

          August 23, 2017 at 6:49 pm

          Then take it how it really is, DPI is at the level of LMP2 because of BOP, if not for that, DPI can run as fast as LMP1-L, dont you remember Daytona?? DPI Cadillac running 3-4 seconds faster a lap than the faster LMP2 spec car, your argument is not valid at all

          • Jack

            August 24, 2017 at 12:09 am

            1.3 seconds faster than the rebellion. dont exaggerate.

          • Jettrd

            August 24, 2017 at 8:32 am

            Exactly..any of these cars can go a million miles an hour…all you have to do is turn them loose. But no, it’s all ” controlled” . Pretty much what we’re watching race these days… “control racing”

          • korda

            August 24, 2017 at 9:59 am

            Recent statements from Ralf Juttner and Oreca refute your claims. DPi cannot run at the LMP1-L level.

            At Daytona, Cadillac and Rebellion were running equally, without the BoP seen later in the season.

          • Andres

            August 24, 2017 at 10:43 am

            korda What the hell you say?? the Cadillacs did lps of 1:36 and the Rebellion Oreca did 1:39 as best time, do you think that is running equally?? seriously, its 3 seconds a lap, and then Ralf Juttner is wrong, LMP2 is 900KG or something, Cadillac DPI is 950KG mandated by BOP, is less than 500HP now by BOP and still the car to beat, without being BOPed is surely close to 700HP, that extra weight is added to the car, the base LMP2 car is te same weight as in LMP1-L, then they add weight to make it heavier, think with your head, not with the ass, and then the aero, just make wider wings as in P1 and you are done

        • Helmut

          August 24, 2017 at 8:16 am

          A Ginetta or a Dallara will attract less people no matter how fast they go, simply because it’s Ginetta or Dallara and not e. g. Cadillac or Nissan. Current LMP2 at this year’s Le Mans were faster than the late 90ies GT1 cars, but what does it help? You can really only reach the enthusiasts of those who watch endurance racing, which is already a niche product.

    • Doug

      August 27, 2017 at 3:27 pm

      R&D is done in a lab with budgets much higher than any race team could hope for. Toyota didn’t need racings help to build the Prius and Tesla didn’t need formula e.

  7. Matt

    August 23, 2017 at 11:31 am

    “We want to race LM again without spending the money needed to win”

    • Mrmuffins

      August 23, 2017 at 11:42 am

      There is only one company who wants to win LM and are spending the money to win and ironically it is Toyota who have never actually won.

      • jason

        August 23, 2017 at 12:10 pm

        In 2018 they have a good chance and it will be well deserved too. So don’t go dissing on them. Would not surprise me they just do Spa, Le Mans, and Fuji only. Leaving the rest of the WEC scrasp to ByKolles, SMP racing, Ginetta, and the LMP2 guys I suppose. If any of the privateer P1’s are there.

        Personally I hope that the WEC schedules as many GTE “qualifying” races as possible so maybe we can just get our fix watching that.

        • TF110

          August 23, 2017 at 12:17 pm

          Why would they do a partial season? They need to prop up the wec not hardly show up for it.

    • Mike

      August 23, 2017 at 2:23 pm

      Problem is not Mazda’s willingness to spend, it’s size and relative capability — a $200M program would be 140% of their profits for year (as a company as a whole). They’re not the size of Toyota or VAG and that’s why the costs need controlling. It’s the same as the argument in IMSA over smaller marques and the $1M participation fee.

  8. Diogo

    August 23, 2017 at 12:10 pm

    Honestly, I don’t believe in DPi as a world platform. For now, we’ve only seen 3 brands commiting to it (Cadillac, Acura and Mazda) and they all have on thing in common, their motorsport programmes are only based in North America. How much involvement in Mazdas program comes from outside of thei North American arm? I might be wrong, but i don’t think there’s a lot of involvement form Japan. Nissan’s “effort” is only ESM taking the engine from the GT-R GT3 and putting it in an Ligier. Nissan is so uninterested in DPi that the only change they’ve done to the bodywork is in the nose to make it look like the grill in the 2017 GT-R. DPi is perfect for America because it’s the type of motorsport they like, cheap and easy, no matter if it’s silhouette (NASCAR, Trans-AM) or badge engineered (DPi). Outside of GT racing, American motorsport doesn’t really have a racing class where a manufacturer builds a car from scratch or from a production model. In Europe brands usually prefer to build cars by themselves and not rely on a chassis from another company (unless they are a part of the R&D of said chassis, like with Dallara and Audi working on the R8 LMP chassis). Brands that usually don’t have a motorsport programme based in America, like Lamborghini, haven’t really shown interest, and even brands that have/had motorsport programs in America, like Ford, Audi or Porsche, haven’t really given us any certainties about a possible programe. I’m not a fan of badge engineering race cars that come from manufacturers. I think it makes sense for privateer team do develop a car using this method though. It could be a temporary fix until the 2020 rules come out (believing that they will work as intended), but then how would the ACO justify using DPi for 2 years and then get rid of them? They wouldn’t. So why not get something in between? Don’t use DPi as a manufacturer flagship class in WEC, get it together with LMP1-L so privateer teams can do what ESM is doing, developing a car while using some manufacturer backing in the engine side, and try to get manufacturers to build cars on their own.

    • Andres

      August 23, 2017 at 3:15 pm

      Well, the last part of your post is actually the real meaning of DPI, but not only ESM does that, the Cadillac teams did the same and the Mazda team did the same, not at the same time as the results show us all, but in terms of teams and performance they can achieve with these DPI cars, it is the best option to allow them in LMP1 privateer

      • Diogo

        August 23, 2017 at 4:59 pm

        Mazda and Cadillac are factory efforts (and so will be Acura), they just use privateers to run the cars. They develop the engines specifically for the DPi. I consider ESM a full privateer effort backed by a factory, not a factory effort using privateer teams to run the cars. The engine is from GT3, not build for the DPi cars. I hope I explained myself better now, Following what you said, it is almost like saying Audi was never a factory team at Le Mans and other championships because they used Joest Racing to run the cars.

        • Andres

          August 23, 2017 at 6:56 pm

          They DEVELOPED the DPI engines, Cadillac is not allowed to further do it due to its absolute supremacy, Mazda does not develope anything, they put the same engine they used last year with more power and that is all, only Nissan developed some parts of the car, Mazda did nothing until today, and Cadillac is not allowed

          • Diogo

            August 24, 2017 at 8:51 am

            Fine, Cadillac developed their engines and stopped. Mazda engines might be last years one, but they are still built and developed by the brand. Are you really saying Nissans involvement in DPi can be compared with Cadillac, Mazda and Acura future involvement? They simply sold ESM the engines and change the nose of the car. I haven’t heard or seen any more involvement from Nissan in the project.

    • Actually watches WEC/IMSA, should try it

      August 24, 2017 at 7:27 am

      Let’s see and break down the multiple errors within your ramblings.

      First Mazda runs a large portion of all of the racing, across multiple platforms through Japan. It is not Mazda US money only so toss that whole complaint.

      Second, Nissan has said they have moved beyond the ‘here’s an engine’ program they started with and have worked with the team to develop and improve the car so you’re flat wrong there as well.

      Third, the old European teams are more in house. Ferrari for YEARS did not build their own GT cars in house. Most of the LMP teams outside of Toyota have used suppliers to build a majority of their cars. Lamborghini had a small in house tuning operation but was outpaced by Reiter as their race shop until the growth of their racing series. So that old nut has been shown time and again to just not be accurate.

      Fourth, Ford has quietly expressed interest and may develop their DPi program but AFTER the current race program has run its course after 2018. They LOVE the GT program and being able to sell a halo car to the ultra-rich so there’s no way they are going to run two programs at once. However, they also are obsessed with their Eco-Boost line and building up the next-gen 4 cylinder Eco-Boost engines in the Mustang and rumored F-150/Ranger models is right up their alley. Audi apparently also considered a project but abandoned it fairly early on, but could see that project go to another VAG brand including Bentley (who only wants over-all wins), Lamborghini (if no GTE program is forthcoming) or Porsche but probably least likely of the brands.

      Fifth and finally, how would making DPi eligible for LMP1-L NOT be making it the top class. The only LMP1-H left is Toyota and if they are in past LM ’18 I’ll eat my hat. Which manufacturer would build the not allowed by the rules LMP1-L chassis? If they didn’t build their own before why would they suddenly now if they could build a DPi on an established chassis? There’s no logical starting point for that idea. Anything not GTE-Pro will be the flagship class and I’m willing to put money down on overall win for an LMP2 car in 2018.

      • Helmut

        August 24, 2017 at 8:40 am

        Manufacturers ARE allowed to build non-hybrid LMP1, they are not allowed to enter the cars themselves or let them be entered by a team that is closely related to the manufacturer.

      • Diogo

        August 24, 2017 at 8:45 am

        Thank you for clearing some of my thoughs.

        So, first, Mazda, like i said, “? I might be wrong, but i don’t think there’s a lot of involvement form Japan.” So thank you for clearing that up.
        Second, never heard Nissan saying that they would help ESM develop the car. So maybe i’m wrong.
        Third, like I said, initially Audi develop they chassis with Dallara, but since the R18 if i’m not mistaken they did it on their own, just like Toyota, Porsche and Peugoet. Ferrari GT cars are built by Michelotto, i know, and Reiter’s Lambo race cars were private projects, Lamborghini had nothing to do with it. They eaven said that the Huracan GT3 was their first official racing program afters years outside of the sport.
        Fourth, Ford as expressed interested but not immediatelly, so they would only enter DPi around the time the LMP1 2020 rules start, so by then the ACO is expecting the the new regulations to be working as they should.
        Fifth and finally, i know LMP1-L is theoretically part of the flagship class, but they are a lot slower then LMP1-H, that’s why i said DPi could not replace LMP1-H if the 2020 rules work as intented, wich we have to wait until then to see what will happen (that if nothing changes on their purposed regulations)

        And that’s why i said DPi is perfect for LMP1-L, but LMP1-H is what manufacturers want (or wanted let’s see what the future has for us), that is if cost can be controled. Toyota said time and time again that if they take away the hybrid, they’re out. And i don’t see hybrid DPi’s being possible because i don’t think the LMP2 chassis can be modified for a system like that.

        • Andres

          August 24, 2017 at 10:53 am

          They are the same type of chassis as LMP1, this was said by John Dagys replying to a comment in a post here some months ago

          • Diogo

            August 24, 2017 at 11:25 am

            Thank you for trying to clear up my doubt, but what do you mean by same type of chassis? I know they are both carbon monocoque chassis, but are the dimensions of the LMP2 chassis similiar to the LMP1? Honestly i don’t know, that’s why i’m asking, because if they are (or even if they aren’t) would it be possible to fit a hybrid system in an LMP2 chassis?

    • GridS2Plaza

      August 24, 2017 at 9:30 am

      There would be greater manufacturer participation if DPi became a global platform.

      LMP-L or “privateer” class using Ginettas and Dallaras is hardly any more “advanced” than DPi.

      The FIA has a way with “over thinking” it’s world championships. F1 is no doubt the most advanced formula cars running, but you can’t deny that Indycar races are far more entertaining than any F1 race.

      WEC has become no different. Go ahead with a half dozen max LMP1 cars and the racing will always be less entertaining than ELMS or IMSA. Even in ALMS best seasons it still struggled with LMP1 car counts.

      • Diogo

        August 24, 2017 at 10:22 am

        Totally agree. The show and entertainment is a big part of motorsport, but i can’t recall in Europe, unlike in America were most of their top motorsport series used, and in some cases are based around common chassis and bodies and manufacturers have litlle do do, technology being put aside in favor of entertainment. Nothing wrong with the way America does motorsport, it’s different, but it’s not the way to do a world championship in my honest opinion. Usually, as manufacturers and teams started to understand the rules better, the tech would create great racing.Mind you i’m 20 years old so most of what i know about motorsport from the past is from stuff i read online and magazines, but i think i’ve watched enough modern motorsport to understand what is the way this things usually go. People complained about the lack of manufaturers when WEC started, but the Audi vs Peugeot times were pretty good, and so were the fihts between Audi and Toyota, even if Toyota was behind on development, and they were only 2. Like with everty regulations, the cycle ended, new regs will come, their cycle will end, and in between all of this discussions will happened. Despite not really being a fan of DPi as a global formula for the type of championship that the WEC is, if that’s the way we have to go then be it, but i don’t like to see manufacturers going the easy way. How many badge engineered race cars do people remember from the old racing days (and i’m not talking about privateer projects when a private team modifies a car that they bought). I can recall a couple, like the Mazda MXR-01 and the TWR WSC-95, but does aren’t really iconic are they? Even the Bentley Speed 3 that got Bentley to victory at Le Mans is mostly remembered as a closed cockpit R8 (despite the fact that the engine was the only R8 sourced part, everything else was new)

  9. Juninho

    August 23, 2017 at 12:34 pm

    IMSA ALMS in 2018 and FIA WEC in 2018

  10. Steve

    August 23, 2017 at 6:04 pm

    Any series that has rules allowing a pushrod based motor to win, cannot by definition be a step forward.

    • el_gordo

      August 23, 2017 at 11:08 pm

      lol pushrod is best motor for racing why add a bunch of weight and size at the top of a motor you’re going to put into a race car, you sound like Porsche and Ferrari when they were getting their asses handed to them by the Vettes complaining about pushrod as unfair advantage and making them stop using the DI engine in 2009 I think it was

      • Steve

        August 24, 2017 at 7:48 am

        Yuuup and carabaretters is good too ain’t they Cletus? Just like ol nASScar used to be.

    • Andres

      August 24, 2017 at 10:57 am

      Oh boy, you forget that this is the best developed and tested pushrod engine of all time, then you can go home and cry for hours that your beloved Gibson crap does not won a shit in IMSA

      • steve

        August 24, 2017 at 3:01 pm

        Sounds like both of you need remedial physics classes, but why develop new technology when the rules allow you to be competitive with stone knives and bearskins?

  11. John

    August 23, 2017 at 6:08 pm

    The only way I see the ACO accepting DPi as the top class is if manufacturers came to it behind closed doors and outlined concrete plans to enter such a class. Especially if one of them was a French manufacturer not named Renault.

    Otherwise, it has already shown itself to be reluctant to allow DPis to act as a distraction from the large field of P2s it already has.

    But, for argument’s sake, let’s say Toyota has a last hurrah for P1-H, and the ACO has an epiphany and decides to ditch P1-L in favor of DPi — could the class scale from a NA championship to a larger worldwide stage? And who could it attract to run the LM24, never mind the WEC?

    Let’s look at the current players:

    Mazda — 50/50 or better, especially given its history with the LM24 and the tie-up with Joest. But does Hiroshima have the Yen to spend on such an effort?

    Cadillac — slim. GM has actively retreated from the European market by dumping Opel/Vauxhall, and is concentrating on where it is strong — North America and China. Caddy sales are miniscule in Europe, and GM already has Corvette to carry the flag, which works well everywhere. On the flip side, GM wants to keep Caddy in the running as a global nameplate, and thus it would benefit from running the full WEC, at least depending on what the future schedule looks like (with a race in China). But, the budget is only so large, and trying to spread it out between brands internationally would be a detriment to both.

    Nissan — How much money does Ed Brown have, and how much is he willing to spend? Because Carlos Ghosn sure as heck isn’t going to pay for it, especially after Darren Cox’s face plant.

    Honda — the DPi is an HPD project, and sure, Penske wants to compete for an overall win at LM. But unless HPD/AHMC pays, or Penske finds some sponsors to cover it, who will? The F1 effort leaves no spare change over from Honda Japan’s budget, and worse, with little to show for it. And what does HPD gain from an expensive international campaign like the WEC? LM is possible, but the WEC?

    Peugeot — the main thing they want is cheap (<200m euros). DPi would fit that bill, and they have a choice of two French chassis to choose from (well, really only one. Hi Andy!), so an all-French effort is good. I think they hold the best hand at the poker table. How they play it will determine if La DPi is in the future.

    Anyone else? The Germans are currently preoccupied with plans to crash the Formula E party, in large part because it's cheap, and a hip place to appear, at least for now. But they traditionally haven't been good party guests, drive the old timers and others away, so who knows how long that vibe will last before they look for another party. Still, I doubt that will include the DPi Club.

    • John

      August 23, 2017 at 6:21 pm

      Ooops- forgot one.

      Ford — time is running out on the GT, and Chip wants to go back to the top class, so a DPi for IMSA is a possibility at least. He’s a winner, and can be a very persuasive guy.

      OTOH, a DPi has even less production relevance than the GT, and from the repeated chanting by Ford execs, production relevance is their thing. If they say it enough, maybe even they’ll begin to believe it. And, they’ve already got their LM24 glory in the bag. Check back in 2067.

      • Ford loves Eco-Boost racing

        August 24, 2017 at 7:32 am

        The only thing they could hang their hat on, and it’s the next huge push, is the next-gen Eco-Boost 4 cylinder engines. And yes, that was the street Eco-Boost engine in the Ford DP car at the end. It’s pretty damn close to the final GT engine and the Raptor V6. And they likely won’t run a Mustang Eco-Boost race car for a while yet but I do think that is coming like a Camaro turbo car some day.

        But that’s the only bit of kit they could run as road relevance. The hybrids are updated so fast the rules would be changed every month of so to accommodate the new parts and designs, making it even tougher than LMP1-H was.

  12. Steven

    August 23, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    Le Mans has always had its flows. I’d rather see a common monocoque chassis and have the manufacturers build up their own bodywork/engine from that rather than the DPi formula which only Mazda actually embraced.

    The DPi had a lot of promise at the start for creativity of to make it look like the old 1996-1999 GT1/GTP cars. But that all ended when Acura and Nissan put a bra on the front and called it a day while Cadillac changed the lights and sharpened the lines on the Dallara.

  13. Anonymous

    August 23, 2017 at 7:44 pm

    Given that the WEC will probably be barren of LMP1 by the end of 2018 (2019 at the latest) now that the Perrinn LMP1 has been shelved permanently, leaving potentially only Ginetta and BR-Dallara, I think it’s probably necessary. I know we say there is no place for badge engineering here in Europe, but it that attitude doesn’t change then top-flight prototype racing is almost certain to die!

    Bring Back Group C!!!!!

  14. Pandy

    August 25, 2017 at 3:35 pm

    You americans are as stupid and red necked as it gets.

    • Blaneysellstrashbags@Ring24

      August 31, 2017 at 7:45 pm

      Well we certainly try but what series is rolling along and what series is in major trouble and doing all it can to survive including running a possible winter season and dropping events?

  15. Silvia Odete Morani Massad

    September 5, 2017 at 1:24 pm

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