Audi has completed the “concept stage” of its LMDh prototype and plans to send it out on track for the first time in early 2022 for a race debut in the 2023 Rolex 24 at Daytona.
The 13-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner issued an LMDh program update on Thursday including information on the car’s development timeline and plans to have both “professional customer teams” and factory entries running it “right from the start”.
LMDh project leader Andreas Roos said that Audi has agreed a supplier for the LMP2 chassis on which it will develop its hybrid prototype that will be eligible for the FIA World Endurance Championship and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
The manufacturer made no mention of a chassis provider in its update on Thursday. It is believed that Multimatic has been chosen as the chosen partner company.
“We have selected a chassis partner and decided on an engine concept,” said Roos.
“Together with our colleagues from Audi Design, we are currently defining the look which will excite our fans. Our goal is for the first prototype to be on its wheels early next year and to complete its rollout in the first quarter.
“With the LMDh project, we are continuing the philosophy of our early years in sports prototypes.
“The Audi R8 was not only the most successful prototype of its time from 2000 to 2006, with 63 victories in 80 races, but it was also very successful in the hands of our customers and easy for the teams to handle.
“This is also the premise with the electrification of our new sports prototype.
“Our goal is to also put the car in the hands of professional customer teams right from the start, in parallel to factory entries. We are currently evaluating internally how this will work in detail.”
The Managing Director of Audi Sport GmbH and head of Audi’s motorsport department, Julius Seebach, highlighted a “transferring” of the collaboration between Audi and Porsche’s road car departments into the new LMDh prototype regulations.
Whilst Audi has declared the first three months of 2022 as the target for its LMDh rollout, Porsche is hoping to tick that box by the end of this year.
“The new LMDh category fits perfectly with our new setup in motorsport,” said Seebach.
“The regulations allow us to field fascinating race cars in prestigious races worldwide. In addition, we are making use of synergies inside the Volkswagen Group with our partner strategy.
“A great strength of the Volkswagen Group is the collaboration of the brands in the development of road cars.
“We are now transferring this proven model to motorsport. Nevertheless, the new sports prototype will be just as much a genuine Audi as the Audi RS e-tron GT that was launched recently and has also been developed on a platform shared with Porsche.”
Roos added that Audi is developing its LMDh challenger “in parallel” with its upcoming Dakar Rally off-road car.
“Of course, the Dakar team is under greater time pressure, because there are only just under eight months left until our first participation in the Dakar Rally in January 2022,” he said.
“But, we also want to be perfectly sorted for our comeback at Le Mans. That’s why we are running both projects in parallel with the highest priority.”