IMSA has reaffirmed its position with the new DPi platform, amid concerns from the ACO that the manufacturer-driven formula has moved too far away from the original LMP2 concept that’s been drafted by the two sanctioning bodies, as well as the FIA.
Meetings have continued between the three organizations in the finalization of the 2017 regulations, which will see IMSA utilize the global LMP2 platform as a base for its type of cars, but will feature manufacturer-specific bodywork and engines.
“From the very beginning we established that the needs of these two cars are completely different,” IMSA’s Director of Racing Platforms Mark Raffauf told Sportscar365.
“One is a privateer, spec second-tier class. Here it’s our overall winning class. The process has been going on since 2015.
“In our view and our partners and what their needs are to establish a presence in the top class — to win Daytona, to win Sebring and to win our championship — we said very early on this would be a work-in-progress.
“It has been. We’ve established this; we have these partnerships with manufacturers already in place. We deal with them on many levels.
“We work with them and have the resources that they, as well as us, are confident in, that will enable us to create a product that is on par with the LMP2 car performance-wise, so they are legitimately are in the mix.”
Raffauf said he thinks IMSA’s relationship with the ACO is still “good,” despite what’s understood to have been a difference of opinions over the level of modifications IMSA is set to make to the platform.
While DPi cars will utilize the same tub, suspension, gearbox, floor, splitter, diffuser, rear wing and shark fin as designed and homologated by the global LMP2 constructors, Raffauf said IMSA will have freedom to change any other aspects of the car’s appearance.
A series of meetings between the ACO and IMSA took place at Daytona in January, where the ACO is understood to have expressed their concerns that the DPi formula has drifted too far away from the original concept.
“I’m sure there’s things we’ve done that were probably have been more out of the box,” Raffauf said.
“Some of the things [the ACO] might have expected that we would have done we already did in GRAND-AM and determined that didn’t work.
“Headlights and taillights are not enough. It’s not enough to excite the fan; it didn’t excite the brand.
“The goal with our cars is that when it goes by on the race track, you’re going to know what it is. That’s pretty much not consistent with their philosophy of this car.”
Just how elaborate the DPi bodywork will be remains to be seen, at least in the public eye, but Raffauf said there will be a minimum level each manufacturer will have to create.
“It’s hard to define,” he said. “The only answer that really works is that we have the final say and process of what we’re going to accept or not accept.”
IMSA has moved ahead with the DPi regulations, releasing its constructors manual, while still waiting on the final 2017 LMP2 regulations to be ratified by the FIA World Motor Sport Council, which is now expected to come in June.
Raffauf said the final details of the LMP2 regs that are currently being worked out now will be added to the DPi rulebook once complete.
He also stressed the importance of maintaining a base car between both platforms.
“The common car exists throughout,” Raffauf said. “You can take one of theirs and make it into one of ours and you can take one of ours and make it into one of theirs, and then there’s a version of it that’s universal.
“I don’t know, in my life, where there was anything more universal than that than maybe a Porsche 962 or a 333 SP.
“I think we get that and I think they get that more of our marketing and level of exposure needs are completely different and require a different animal.
“But the commonality is as strong as I’ve ever seen in the last 40 years.”