The LMDh regulations are in “really good shape” according to IMSA President John Doonan, who has indicated that the draft version of the rules won’t likely be released until business resumes in the economic world.
Originally set to be unveiled last month during the ‘Super Sebring’ event with IMSA and the FIA World Endurance Championship, details on the joint ACO-IMSA top class platform have been delayed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
However, work hasn’t stopped on the formula, which is slated to debut in 2022 in both the WEC and WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Speaking with John Hindhaugh in an exclusive interview on Wednesday’s Midweek Motorsport on RS1, Doonan said the IMSA and ACO technical teams have been meeting virtually on a daily basis to put the finishing touches on the regs.
“The pipeline of communication has been fantastic and ongoing and I’m really proud of where we are with communication,” Doonan said.
“With Pierre [Fillon, ACO President], Gerard [Neveu, WEC CEO], Thierry Bouvet on the [ACO] technical side, Ed Bennett [IMSA CEO], Simon [Hodgson, IMSA VP of Competition], myself and Mr. France, we’ve been in ongoing communications about the right thing to do at the right time.
“This is where that progress with sensitivity plays in.
“The technical teams have been meeting on a daily basis. They have calls trying to refine the draft regulations.
“We were certainly ready on that Friday of Sebring [week] but it gives us a window to refine it even more.
“They’re on the phone with the four approved constructors: Multimatic, Dallara, ORECA, Ligier refining aero details.
“The regulations are in really good shape.”
Doonan said they’ve continued to have active engagement from several OEMs, to the level of the manufacturers continuing studies with their engineering staff while working from home.
While not outright confirming a further delay in the release of the regulations, Doonan stressed that the timing has to be right for everyone involved.
“We’d love to get the draft regulations into the hands of the OEMs at the right time knowing that that all their core businesses are facing some challenges,” he said.
“But I’m really excited and proud about the relationship, perhaps better than ever right now, in the way that we’ve been openly discussing this and finding convergence like we talked about at Daytona.
“Obviously, there’s been a long process kicked off by Simon Hodgson and Matt Kurdock [IMSA’s director of technical systems] on our side relative to a hybrid supply, a single-source supplier.
“We obviously have a battery supplier and have other components of the car.
“I think that’s the little bit of dotting the I’s and crossing the T’s to make sure that we’re in good shape there before we get the regulations into the hands of the the OEM partners.
“I give us a decently high grade on what we’ve been able to accomplish in this quiet time. But also everyone wants to be sensitive to not call too much attention to this one when there’s more serious matters going on in the world.”
Doonan: OEMs Still “Very Engaged” Despite Economic Crisis
While cognizant of the economic challenges ahead, Doonan has remained upbeat on the level of interest and engagement still had in the LMDh regs.
“I think based on the participation among the OEMs in the technical working group people are staying very engaged,” he said.
“We have a saying in the walls of One Daytona [IMSA’s headquarters]… that the market will speak.
“We will continue to work with the OEMs, continue to get them the information that they need to make decisions.
“But their core businesses have been dramatically impacted by this, most importantly making sure their employees and staff are safe.
“We need to be smart and people will be able to make the proper decisions once business resumes.
“The engagement and the enthusiasm certainly hasn’t stopped and I’ve been able to cascade calls into all of our OEM partners.
“The timeline [is] difficult to predict but I do know that the enthusiasm for what we announced in Daytona is is still alive and well.”