John Doonan believes the convergence of top-class prototype racing between IMSA and the ACO will be remembered as a “legacy moment” within the sports car racing world.
The IMSA President, speaking to members of the media during a LMDh technical briefing last week at Sebring International Raceway, helped provide an update on the timeline for the joint IMSA-ACO platform that will make its official race debut in next year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Both Doonan, FIA World Endurance Championship CEO Frederic Lequien and key technical staff from both organizations praised the collaboration not only between sanctioning bodies but manufacturers, constructors and suppliers through the convergence process.
“The amount of collaboration that has happened since that first very first announcement is something that I think will go down in history as one of the most special moments for our sport,” said Doonan.
“The gentlemen on the technical side have brought on a project that is going to be a legacy moment for our sport of endurance sports car racing.
“When you imagine and know the number of manufacturers that have committed to compete. That’s remarkable.
“When you think of the buildup of a common single-source hybrid system and the folks at Bosch, Xtrac and Williams [Advanced Engineering] that have come together for that, that’s remarkable.
“Then of course when you add in a tire partner like Michelin and add in a convergence of regulations in LMH and LMDh, it’s not an easy task.
“I’m super proud of my teammates at IMSA and our partners at the ACO for what has been achieved.”
Bill Pearson, IMSA’s senior engineer, performance and simulation, said the level of collaboration, particularly in the motorsport industry, is “quite rare” to see rival manufacturers “all wanting to work together.”
“In every step, this has been a collaborative effort,” he said. “Whether it was right at the start with the ACO and IMSA working together to define the regulation set and define the desires of what we wanted to achieve and what the goals were.
“I remember walking into the room the first time we were talking about it and Thierry [Bouvet, ACO competition director] said this was to build a global sports car.
“We’ve achieved that.
“To have worked with the partners to do it right, with Bosch, Williams and Xtrac, it’s fantastic because there’s been no real problems. It’s been collaboration the whole way, people who want to work together.
“It’s about wanting to do the best for the sport. Seeing a need and seeing a way that people can work together for what is going to be a very solid foundation for the future of sports car racing.”