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Doonan Hopeful of Spec Hybrid Decision by Sebring

Spec hybrid powertrain provider for LMDh among technical details still to be confirmed…

Photo: Audi

IMSA President John Doonan says he’s hopeful of determining the spec hybrid powertrain by Sebring when further technical regulations of the new LMDh platform will be revealed.

The global prototype platform, confirmed by the ACO and IMSA on Friday, will feature a to-be-determined KERS system on the rear axle.

IMSA placed a tender for a spec hybrid powertrain last year for its planned DPi 2.0 regulations although had yet to decide on a provider prior to the formalization of the convergence of regulations.

When asked by Sportscar365 if an announcement can come at Sebring, Doonan indicated that that time is of the essence, particularly with the regulations now being moved up to a mid-2021 debut to accommodate the start of the WEC season.

“We’ve got to announce it as soon as possible so that would be ideal,” Doonan said.

“But there’s a lot of work to be done and a huge credit to Simon Hodgson, Thierry Bouvet, Matt Kurdoch and all the guys on the [IMSA and ACO] technical team because they’ve been working around the clock in addition to doing their day jobs to get that sorted out.”

ORECA technical director David Floury said he believes IMSA and the ACO have good options on the table.

Sportscar365 understands that discussions have involved around a potential 100kw system, although it has yet to be confirmed by either sanctioning body.

“I cannot speak for IMSA or ACO as they are the ones leading the tender but my understanding is that they have a very strong candidate and very good proposals on the table,” Floury said.

“I’m not too worried on this side. When you introduce anything new, you have a kind of development period.

“But I’m sure in two or three years time, by Daytona 2022, it should be fine.”

LMDh Budgets Not Yet Determined

Both ACO or IMSA have yet to disclose targeted budgets for the new platform, although it’s understood to be significantly less than the the soon-to-be-launched Le Mans Hypercar regs, which was initially in the €20-30 million range.

“You will have the clear window with the budget when you know the regulations,” WEC CEO Gerard Neveu said.

“But the concept that we had with the technical working groups is to provide something with the right figures regarding the costs.

“It has to be as [affordable] as possible. Never forget that, with this new LMDh platform, what we paid attention to first was the wish of the OEMs.”

ORECA’s Floury added that he personally would like the budgets to be “7-10 times less” than what was seen at the peak of LMP1 hybrid, which was estimated to have been in excess of €200 million.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

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