Existing powerplants from DPi machinery are likely to become eligible in LMDh, thanks to a “compromise” in performance targets between the new joint ACO-IMSA formula and the Le Mans Hypercar platform.
Announced on Thursday, the draft set of LMDh technical regulations sees a combined power output of 670 horsepower (500 kw) between the internal combustion engine and hybrid system.
IMSA President John Doonan confirmed to Sportscar365 that the targeted ICE output is 630 horsepower (470 kw), which keeps existing DPi engines within a similar performance window to the current top class of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
The hybrid power output for LMDh, meanwhile, has been earmarked for 30 kw (40 hp).
“We are now all consistent on power output with Hypercar, which I think allows better opportunity for balancing,” Doonan told Sportscar365.
“It was all input from manufacturers that are either currently involved in DPi or interested manufacturers that really got us to a number where everyone felt comfortable with from a reliability standpoint or a cost standpoint.
“An entirely new engine development program may not need to be launched to be able to utilize the existing resources.”
While having targeted for the possibility of a carryover in engine development, Doonan said the decision is ultimately up to the technical teams to finalize eligibility.
“I think that’s everybody’s hope, was to make sure if a particular manufacturer had an asset of an engine program that they wanted to carry on with, and made sense from their brand standpoint, that we wanted to give them every opportunity to do that,” he said.
One of the changes in the powertrain, however, is the expected utilization of a single-supply gearbox for all LMDh cars.
Acura, Cadillac and Mazda have all been non-committal on their future in LMDh when asked by Sportscar365, although it’s understood the three current DPi manufacturers have been involved in the technical working group meetings to shape the regulations.
Doonan said that the current economic environment, amid the coronavirus pandemic, had also played a role in the decision-making process to focus on cost control.
“Without a doubt the whole strategy of DPi 1.0, call it for lack of a better term, was to allow manufacturers to compete at the top level for the overall win in a very cost effective manner,” he said.
“In working with the constructors, suppliers, the auto manufacturers, we continue to look at ways to make strategies and mandate to be cost effective even more true.
“We’re looking at every element of the the regulations to make sure that we can allow people to come in and be here for a strong amount of time.
“When you look at the homologation period, you know that puts people in a really good position to spread the costs over a significant amount of time.”
ACO, IMSA in “Final Stages” of Determining Hybrid Supplier
While having determined the power output, Doonan said they have yet to select the supplier for the spec hybrid system.
“We’re working with the suppliers and hope to have some of those items finalized in the coming weeks and months,” he said.
“We’re in the final stages there and making sure that everybody’s on the same page with supply chains and timing of supply chains, costs and all the things you would imagine that are critical factors and trying to to execute this.”
No Mandate for Customer LMDh Cars
Doonan said he expects customer sales of LMDh cars to come “organically” rather than the sanctioning bodies putting in a mandate that each OEM must make available their packages to privateer teams.
“Several manufacturers, including Cadillac, have shown that model can work and I think there’s a lot of folks that have been around the table that are keen to have a customer program which is really exciting,” he said.