Ford has ruled out a DPi program for the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season, with the manufacturer’s “focus” on potentially entering the platform under the new regulations in 2022.
The decision, confirmed by Ford Performance global motorsports director Mark Rushbrook, will result in no factory Ford presence in the WeatherTech Championship for at least the next two years.
As previously reported by Sportscar365, Ford had been considering a continuation of its factory IMSA program, but into the DPi ranks, prior to a possible effort around IMSA’s so-called DPi 2.0 regulations.
It’s understood work on a Multimatic-designed DPi, around the base platform of Mazda’s RT24-P, had been under development at some stage over the last year.
However, it’s believed the manufacturer ran out of time for a commitment to 2020, with a board meeting reportedly scheduled the same day as a recent IMSA DPi 2.0 steering committee in June that solidified the planned utilization of a high-voltage hybrid system.
A high-voltage system was one of the key requirements of Ford’s commitment, which was dependent on an interim DPi program for the 2020-21 seasons.
“Our focus is on DPi 2.0,” Rushbrook told Sportscar365.
“While it’s not fully mature, it is taking some shape and we have a good idea of what the bones of it are and details to be worked out.
“We’re very encouraged in the direction the DPi 2.0 talks are going.”
Rushbrook would not confirm a timeline for a potential commitment to the DPi 2.0 platform, although Sportscar365 understands that it could come as early as next month during Ford’s next scheduled board meeting.
“We do have a regular cadence of meetings and reviews with our senior management,” he said. “We’re always reviewing with cycle plans and proposals.
“Whenever there’s enough maturity to the DPi 2.0 rules, or any other series, then we’ll go in there and say whether we’re interested or we’re not.”
Chip Ganassi Racing, Drivers’ Future Unclear
The future of Chip Ganassi Racing’s IMSA operation, as well as its drivers, are now unclear, amid confirmation of no extension of the factory GT program or an interim DPi effort for 2020.
Sportscar365 understands that all of the drivers are currently free agents and have been in discussions with other IMSA teams for potential 2020 programs.
Rushbrook, meanwhile, indicated there could still be a possibility of having customer Ford GTs in the WeatherTech Championship next year.
“We’re still in discussions on the customer cars and where they will race,” he said.
Rushbrook declined to comment when asked if Ford would like to retain CGR for its DPi 2.0 program, should it be given the green-light.