With the final GRAND-AM season already in the books and the American Le Mans Series finale at Petit Le Mans just around the corner, the sports car racing world continues to await the final technical regulations for next year’s Tudor United SportsCar Championship.
Arguably the biggest unknown is the the much-talked about performance balancing for Daytona Prototypes, ACO-spec LMP2 cars and the DeltaWing, which will comprise of the Prototype category.
According to IMSA’s Vice President of competition and technical regulations, Scot Elkins, who spoke with Sportscar365 last weekend at Lime Rock Park, the process is moving along, with series-sanctioned on-track testing set to begin this month for revised DP cars.
“We’re fairly on target of where we’re at now,” Elkins said in an exclusive interview. “We’ve started making some parts and getting some things going. I spent [last weekend] talking to the [DP] team principals and having some discussions with those guys and giving them an update as to where we are. We’re in a pretty good place right now.”
Spirit of Daytona Racing made the headlines last month after testing new self-built aero updates on its Marsh Racing-bound Corvette DP. Team owner Troy Flis invited both Elkins and IMSA chairman Jim France to the test, with the series’ tech chief able to take away some lessons learned, particularly with the use of underbody tunnels.
A variant of those tunnels will now be used in conjunction with a spec diffuser and dual element rear wing on the aero side. Mechanically, the DPs will likely receive roughly a 30-50 hp increase in power, while also adding traction control. Elkins said those are the only new developments currently planned, but all are subject to testing.
“We’ve defined this past week how the diffuser will work,” Elkins said. “We’ve got the constructors involved as well. It’s critical for us because it’s a spec part, the same part is going to be on every car. So we’ve had to go through that input of how it would work on a Coyote, Dallara and Riley.
“We’ve sat down and have had meetings with all of those guys and phone calls and conversations. Any slight changes would be because of attachment and not because of the structure of the piece. So the downforce levels will be the same.”
Elkins still remains confident of matching their targets, both from a time and financial standpoint. While not confirming the projected costs for the DP’s transformation, Elkins is mindful that it’s important to not rush the entire process.
“Everybody and their brother thinks we should have been done seven months ago,” he said. “That’s OK, I get that. But as we’ve stated before, we’ve got an opportunity to do this and the last thing we want to do is rush it.
“It’s going to be hard enough, even once we get to the point. Anybody that expects us to get this perfect the first time is an incorrect expectation. But still, doing the due diligence and doing the process the way we’ve done it has been the right way to do it.”
Proposed DP upgrades for 2014:
*Diffuser with underbody tunnels
*Dual element rear wing
*Increase in horsepower (appx. 30-50 hp)
*6-speed gearboxes (previously announced)
*Paddle shift systems for all cars (previously announced)