ACO President Pierre Fillon has voiced his displeasure on the evolution of IMSA’s DPi platform, admitting the manufacturer-based prototype formula is not what they had originally envisioned.
Speaking to assembled media Friday at Paul Ricard, site of this week’s FIA WEC Prologue test, Fillon said a decision has yet to be made on the DPi’s eligibility for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
“At this time, we are still in discussion,” Fillon said. “For sure, there is some points to discuss. We disagree with one important point and we’re discussing on this point.
“For sure, we are far [away] from what was at the beginning of the project. The project is to have a common prototype [that’s] able to race in America, Asia and everywhere.
“It was our aim in the beginning. We understand the philosophy of IMSA is a bit different now because they need to have some manufacturers in their championship.
“At the end of the day, the prototype is not what we expected in the beginning.
“We respect IMSA has to make a decision now on this point. We’ll see if DPi will come to Le Mans or not.”
IMSA’s DPi cars, outfitted with the standard LMP2 bodywork, was originally announced as being eligible for Le Mans in LMP2, via ACO’s Balance of Performance process.
However, Fillon said that may no longer the case, due to the number of changes IMSA has proposed for the platform, including a move away from the LMP2-spec Cosworth ECU, which would help control engine BoP.
Fillon stressed achieving a proper BoP for its class at Le Mans is critical.
“Today P2 works very well,” he said. “Our first [goal] is to not break that. If there is a risk to break this good balance, we will not do that.
“We want to keep the philosophy of P2, for sure in WEC, and in Le Mans.
“The important thing is to make a good a BoP. Because it’s not the same engine. For sure, a DPi coming to Le Mans would have to have the same [standard] bodywork, but not the same engine.
“If you want to balance this engine with our [worldwide-spec] Gibson engine, you have to know the data. If you don’t have the same ECU, you can’t do that.”
While DPi cars may not be eligible in the LMP2 class, Fillon hinted that they could potentially be placed in LMP1 Privateer, as a non-hybrid prototype.
“The question is what is the best place for DPi? Is it for P2… or? We have to find a solution.”
Speaking to Sportscar365 at last weekend’s Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, IMSA’s director of racing platforms Mark Raffauf said their needs are different from that of the ACO.
“I’m sure there’s things we’ve done that were probably have been more out of the box,” Raffauf told Sportscar365.
“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.
“[Styling cues like] 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.”
Raffauf said the DPi regulations have already been finalized, with its constructors manual having been released to manufacturers this week.