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BMW: Shared Hybrids for DPi, Class 1 an “Efficient Concept”

BMW open to exploring feasibility of shared hybrid platform for DPi and Class 1…

Photo: BMW

BMW Motorsport director Jens Marquardt has suggested that the second-generation DPi platform could share common hybrid parts with ITR’s new Class 1 regulations that govern DTM and Super GT.

Marquardt told reporters at Sebring that BMW, which races in IMSA with the M8 GTE and in DTM with the M4 Turbo, is interested in looking at how the two sanctioning bodies could incorporate a joint hybridization process.

Last month, BMW became the latest marque to show interest in a DPi program and share its involvement in shaping the new rules for the platform’s second-generation, which is slated to debut in the 2022 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season.

“I think at the moment it’s important to say that DPi, obviously, are working on their second set of regulations,” Marquardt said.

“We’ve had discussions with IMSA about where that is heading. We’re working extremely hard with ITR and Gerhard [Berger] on the DTM regulations for the future.

“I think that concept of common parts, even when it comes to hybridization or something like that, is a very efficient concept.

“If that would be somehow embraced or combined with IMSA, I think there could be possibilities where everybody could benefit from [it] and for sure it could be interesting for us as well.”

Marquardt identified IMSA’s approach of having a relatively open top-level prototype formula as a good starting point for the possibility of a shared hybrid parts policy with ITR.

While having introduced turbocharged engines to DTM for this year, as part of a convergence of regulations between the German and Japanese-based championships, hybrid powertrains are not expected to integrated into Class 1 until 2021 at the earliest.

It would, however, coincide with IMSA’s new-generation DPi platform due in 2022, with IMSA president Scott Atherton previously admitting significant interest in hybrid powertrains.

“At the end of the day, what IMSA has always done really well is they’ve kept the possibility for variety,” Marquardt said.

“If you say we need an ICE performance level of around 600 hp, and we need hybrid of 100 kW or whatever on top, that is a package. If you take DTM 4-cylinder turbo engines for the ICE side and the common hybrid system, or you have a V6 or V8 or whatever, at the end of the day it doesn’t matter.

“You put things together and you get to a certain performance or power level of your powertrain and that side is done. Aerodynamics, second side, chassis and you go from there.

“If DPi goes towards hybridization I think it would be worthwhile discussing with ITR if that could be a common thing.

“At the same time, I don’t think with Hypercar and LMP1 there is currently an easy solution for any of that. Let them surprise me if there is all of a sudden something that strikes out and fits well.”

Marquardt said having hybrids in DPi 2.0 would be one of the requirements for its commitment to the class for 2022, although has indicated the German manufacturer would not likely enter beforehand with the current LMP2-based regulations.

Marquardt: Global Platforms Make More Sense

The BMW motorsport boss added that common global regulations are often more successful than regional variants, for competition and marketing reasons.

“For any program, you really have to say, as a manufacturer, it’s much much more appealing and easier to make a decision if you have something that is spread best around the world,” he said.

“To do something specifically only for one market is always difficult. That was part of the decision why BMW joined DTM because it was a clear prerequisite that we said the regulations have to be spread internationally.

“Class 1 is a step and still there is more potential in there and that’s what we need to push for. That I think is what is applying to any form of motorsport at the moment.

“Having something that is spread wider is definitely an easier one than doing individual for everywhere.

“For example, I [could] race a certain amount of cars in Europe to cover the European markets. I could field cars in Asia and Japan to cover this, and maybe in the future I can cover the US. Then I am covering the world and I [only] do the development once.

“The ACO and IMSA have worked really well together over the last years and I think it would be quite beneficial for everybody involved if that could continue like that.”

John Dagys contributed to this report.

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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