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COVID-19 Sparks New Manufacturer Interest in LMDh

ORECA: Additional OEMs now in discussion for LMDh programs in “last weeks”…

Image: IMSA

The level of interest in LMDh has grown since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, according to ORECA, which has held discussions with new prospective manufacturers in the “last weeks.”

The French company, which is one of four approved chassis constructors for the new-for-2022 platform, has remained optimistic on the global ACO-IMSA formula despite the lack of announced commitments from OEMs.

While Acura has signaled its intention of continuing its top class involvement in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship into the new LMDh era, no other manufacturer has yet to officially announce plans.

Porsche, Lexus, Hyundai and Alpine are understood to be among the manufacturers in the most advanced discussions, along with several other undisclosed brands.

ORECA’s Anthony Megevand, who has been involved in discussions with OEMs alongside technical director David Floury and company president Hugues de Chaunac, says he’s still “very confident” in the platform’s long-term success.

“For sure there’s still a strong interest, maybe more in a way,” Megevand told Sportscar365.

“Before COVID, LMDh was a really good platform and everybody was convinced it was a really good thing.

“During COVID, maybe it makes even more sense to do it because OEMs are looking at the financial aspects more closely.

“We have some new OEM interest in the last weeks or months.

“And out of all of the OEMs we had in talks [with] or that were in the room with IMSA, FIA and ACO, there is really only one that is no longer in the room.

“Only one has clearly said they will not come in the next two or three years but you never know.

“I’m still very confident for this class.”

IMSA President John Doonan said at one stage there had been 13 manufacturers involved in steering group meetings, meaning at least a dozen have remained in dialogue.

Megevand says he sees OEMs with various objectives that could be met with the LMDh.

“You have OEMs interested in IMSA, by WEC, some are interested by both,” he said.

“Some want to make a factory effort, some semi-factory, some customer racing. One of the strong aspects of LMDh is that everybody finds different interest.

“There is also good interest for Hypercar, maybe more than I was thinking a few months ago.”

While ORECA has not limited itself to a maximum number of manufacturers it could partner with, Megevand said it’s their goal to do “things well and be successful.”

“It will also depend on when you have the OEMs committing,” he explained.

“If everybody is planning with the same target, it’s different if you have two OEMs coming at this time and another one six months or one year after.

“I think we will see over the coming months.

“What is sure is that when David [Floury] built with his team, he built it in a way that you can work on various projects at the same time.

“For example we worked with Acura on the DPi, Rebellion R13, the LMP2. We are able to go on different projects at the same time with different teams.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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