IMSA President John Doonan is expecting additional manufacturers to commit to LMDh in the coming months, on the heels of Audi and Porsche’s declarations to join the new global top-level prototype formula.
The pair of German brands, along with existing DPi manufacturer Acura, have all signaled intentions to build cars to the joint IMSA-ACO platform beginning in 2023.
More than a dozen manufacturers have been involved in discussions, including Lexus, BMW and Hyundai, which could be among the next crop to confirm programs.
While Doonan has not divulged of any specific new manufacturers that are ready to commit, he is bullish on the prospects of more joining soon.
“Somebody always has to be first, and to have this become official [Tuesday night] by Porsche and Audi’s comments last week and knowing that there are all these others at the table gives us tremendous optimism and tremendous momentum,” Doonan said.
“After a few step up and make these announcements, others tend to follow.
“You want it to be the right business model, but the other piece is when you have people step up to the plate and make a commitment.
“I don’t know if it will be before the end of the year, but definitely in the first quarter of 2021, fingers crossed, we’ll have a few more announcements.”
Doonan said he knows of “several other” manufacturers that are “moving down the process of approval” that could see record car counts for its launch season.
The DPi class, which LMDh will replace, currently features involvement from Acura, Cadillac and Mazda, with projections doubling or even tripling the number of manufacturers involved in the new formula for the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and FIA World Endurance Championship.
“It gives all of us hope that come 2023 there could be a full grid of prototypes representing many manufacturers,” Doonan said.
“To date, the table of the technical working groups has been around 15 manufacturers. You have an opportunity to have an historic battle at the front.
“If you have 15 manufacturers at the table and you got even 50 percent of that kind of participation? Think about that happening. That makes the hair on my arms stand up. It’s positive. Very positive.
“One of the things that has made all of us so happy and proud of LMDh is that it emulates what the manufacturers… have wanted for a while.
“It emulates what our audience has wanted for a while, and that is the ability for the best drivers, the best manufacturers and the best cars to compete on a global stage in and behind the same ruleset.”