ORECA technical director David Floury is hopeful that the new generation global prototype regulations will allow teams to easily upgrade their LMP2 cars to LMDh machinery.
Announced last weekend, the joint ACO-IMSA top class formula will be based on new chassis regulations that will also form the basis of the next-generation LMP2 ruleset, which is due in 2022.
The ACO confirmed that it has planned a ten-year lifespan for the cost-capped prototypes, which will continue to be exclusively built by ORECA, Ligier Automotive, Dallara and Multimatic.
While having been technically feasible with current-generation LMP2 and DPis, no IMSA teams have been able to take advantage of the flexibility of upgrading chassis due to exclusivity clauses with the ORECA-built Acura ARX-05.
“With a P2 you can probably consider upgrading it at some point and convert it into a LMDh because it will share the same platform,” Floury said.
“That’s something we haven’t seen in DPi but it could have happened in DPi.
“We had a lot of interest from teams like CORE and JDC [Miller Motorsports] to convert their car into an Acura DPi.
“Contractually it was not possible to have this chance so they went to other DPi manufacturers.
“This will be possible for P2 teams in the future going into LMDh.”
While budgets for LMDh have yet to be disclosed, Floury said he imagines it not being that much more expensive than the current-gen DPi model, excluding the costs associated with the spec hybrid system.
He indicated that price point could make it an affordable option for privateer teams wanting to step up the prototype ladder.
“It’s affordable if you compare this budget to a current LMP1 private budget, which was not the case with a Hypercar program,” Floury said.
Floury said it’s “too early to say” whether ORECA will be able to provide its existing customers with an upgrade kit to take the Oreca 07 Gibson to the new-generation LMP2 specification.
The French constructor offered a package that transformed its Oreca 05 to the current LMP2 specifications, which debuted in 2017.
“We’ve obviously always been looking at making it affordable for the customer, which was our approach between the 05 to the 07,” Floury said.
“If there is an opportunity we will consider but at the moment we don’t have the regulations set so I cannot say yes for sure.”
The current LMP2 regulations run through the 2021-22 FIA World Endurance Championship and 2022 European Le Mans Series seasons, with the platform having recently been extended by one year.
Details Still to Come on New LMP2 Regulations
Floury stressed that details on the new LMP2 ruleset have not yet been determined, but is hoping the technical departments will be taking the lessons learned from the first generation, which has largely transformed into an ORECA-only class.
“I think the best thing is that everyone discusses it as a group and what they feel is best for the category,” he said.
“When the rules were set for the current P2 regulations it was clear for us that only the two best chassis would stay in business. We knew we had to perform.
“I think we need to discuss together and define what we want for the future.”