A second wave of manufacturers that were not in the initial technical working group meetings have allegedly shown new interest in the FIA, ACO and IMSA’s top prototype category regulations following the historic convergence agreement.
Sportscar365 understands that at least two Asian-based OEMs have requested information on the recently announced regulations that will allow Le Mans Hypercars to compete alongside the jointly-developed LMDh platform beginning in 2023.
It’s unclear if the additional manufacturers have joined recent technical working group meetings.
Multiple sources have linked Chinese-owned Geely and India’s Tata Motors to those early discussions that could ultimately result in additional manufacturers joining the grid in the medium-term.
Geely sells cars under the Lotus, Lynk & Co, Proton and Volvo brands, while Jaguar Land Rover has been a subsidiary of Tata since 2008.
Both are understood to have been sparked specifically following the convergence agreement and a clear line of technical regulations established and approved in principle by the FIA World Motor Sport Council last month.
While the extent of the early conversations is unclear, it gives the new top class formula even more momentum following numerous commitments in recent months and several announcements still to come.
At least ten manufacturers are set to be represented on the grids by 2023 with the already-announced programs from Audi, Acura, BMW, Ferrari, Glickenhaus, Peugeot, Porsche and Toyota.
Both Cadillac and Lamborghini are poised to confirm its LMDh involvement in the coming months for 2023 and 2024 debuts, respectively, with Alpine expected to unveil plans for a new Hypercar class entry this week at Le Mans and ByKolles still working on its LMH car for next year.
While McLaren and Bentley are still understood to still be possibilities for LMDh projects, both Hyundai and Ford, as well as an initial evaluation from Nissan, appear to be unlikely candidates, at least at this stage.
Sportscar365 understands that NISMO acquired a LMP2 chassis for evaluation purposes earlier this year but has gone quiet in recent months.
Despite its exit from the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship at the end of the 2022 season, Mercedes does not appear to have any interest in joining with either a LMH or LMDh program at this time.