Bentley and Nissan have ruled out entering IMSA’s new DPi platform in 2017, although both manufacturers haven’t discounted a future effort in the formula, which debuts in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship next year.
Speaking with Sportscar365, Bentley Motorsport director Brian Gush said the timing would be difficult for such a project to come online for next year, with no official commitment yet from the British manufacturer.
“It’s on the back-burner,” Gush told Sportscar365. “We’re obviously interested in it. I think the series is going to be really good; it’s going to do a lot for sports car racing.”
Nissan’s global motorsports director Michael Carcamo, meanwhile, confirmed its interest in DPi but admitted the current disagreement between the ACO and IMSA over DPi regulations has the Japanese manufacturer taking a wait-and-see approach.
“The DPi, I think is interesting from a prototype standpoint in the U.S,” Carcamo told Sportscar365.
“But at this point the rules and regulations… the disagreements or the lack of alignment between the ACO and P2 rules leave us a little bit uncomfortable into what their long-term direction of that program.
“We’re still monitoring it and are actively watching it. But there’s no specific timeline or plans.”
Instead, Nissan is looking towards LMP1 Privateer engine supply for next year, which would keep the manufacturer involved in top-level prototype racing, but on a global scale.
While Bentley’s DPi project is also on the back-burner, it’s understood the manufacturer was due to test its twin-turbo V8 GT3 engine in a Ginetta LMP3 car earlier this month.
Gush said whatever decision IMSA makes on its electronics package would have no effect on its possible DPi involvement, as the Continental GT3 utilizes a Cosworth system, the same brand that will be used on the new global Gibson-engined LMP2 cars.
Electronics has been at the center of the ACO and IMSA’s disagreement over the DPi formula, with the ACO wanting IMSA to adopt the global ECU, including a separate data logger system, on all of its prototypes.
“I think there’s some room for the ACO and IMSA to work,” Nissan’s Carcamo added. “There has to be more opportunities for a manufacturer.
“I want to race as much as possible not build five different versions of the car to race around the world.
“GT3 is a great example. The car is the same, just take it where you want. That, for a manufacturer, really speaks to what we want.”
Carcamo added that a DPi program would be “complicated” as Nissan currently does not have a dedicated NISMO organization in North America.