IMSA has laid out ambitions of retaining base chassis options for its next-generation DPi regulations.
Set to debut in the 2022 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season, the sanctioning body has begun preliminary discussions with current and prospective manufacturers on the scope for the new top-class rules.
While a number of elements have yet to be decided, IMSA President Scott Atherton has revealed intentions of retaining the model of constructor-built chassis that’s currently seen with its LMP2-based DPi regulations, which was introduced in 2017.
Currently, four chassis constructors: ORECA, Ligier Automotive, Dallara and Multimatic, are licensed to build DPi machinery, in what Atherton says has been a “viable and sustainable” model.
“[IMSA chairman Jim France] is of the opinion that’s the deciding factor and what has made the DPi formula so successful, that a manufacturer does not have to build and design a bespoke chassis and crash test it, homologate it, etc. That’s a very expensive undertaking,” Atherton said.
“Our vision would be for our next generation to incorporate a similar approach, if not an identical approach.
“Whether or not it’s the same constructors remains to-be-determined, but that formula that has been so effective in terms of keeping the costs of entry and of competing at a relatively affordable level, that has been deemed by manufacturers and teams to be a viable, sustainable model is what we want to retain.”
Atherton confirmed IMSA has held conversations with DTM and Super GT organizers ITR and GTA to “educate” themselves on Class 1 regulations, a platform that features common chassis and other shared parts.
However, he’s ruled out utilizing the touring car-based chassis platform for its top class, with with the possibility of powertrain and other general practices being more practical options for areas of potential collaboration.
The concept of a shared hybrid powertrain between DTM, Super GT and DPi has been put forth by BMW Motorsport director Jens Marquardt.
“The use of common parts with a core chassis, not unlike we’ve done but in their case it’s a single-supplier, and their plan incorporate a hybrid powertrain, appears to be a very effective, well thought-out formula,” Atherton said.
“We’re all in favor of a global formula, a next-generation, but we must retain the core tentpole elements that have enabled the DPi platform to be so successful.”
Production-based Hypercars ‘Not a Sustainable Model’ for IMSA
Atherton said that the FIA and ACO’s proposed platform for production-based hypercars are not a fit for the WeatherTech Championship’s top class.
“Directly, that’s not where we’re headed,” Atherton said. “I can’t predict the future. It’s a very delicate topic that has a lot of moving parts.
“We are going forward with our investigative period right now.
“It would be our opinion that modification, the inclusion of bespoke road car chassis, doesn’t represent a sustainable model for us based on our analysis.”
While not dismissing the desire to have a common set of top-class regulations with the FIA and ACO, Atherton said IMSA doesn’t have a specific deadline for determining its next-gen regs.
Atherton said IMSA recently sent out a “very detailed” questionnaire to manufacturers, seeking feedback on everything from powertrains to bodywork and chassis.
“We will take our cues as we always have from the manufacturers that are prepared to make another commitment to us,” he said.
“Those who have already made a commitment to DPi have expressed a desire for a next generation, keeping in mind our timeline would have that competing in January 2022.
“While that may seem like a long time form now, when you work backwards from a full grid of competitive, tested, ready-to-race equipment in January ’22, there’s some urgency to get going.”