Next week’s planned LMDh regulations announcement between IMSA and the ACO looks set to be delayed by “a little bit” according to IMSA President John Doonan, who stated they still have “a lot of work yet to be done.”
The development comes in the wake of the cancelation of next week’s ‘Super Sebring’ event that was to include closed-door meetings with the sanctioning bodies, manufacturers and constructors prior the planned unveil of the draft set of LMDh regulations on Friday, March 20.
While an agreement for top-class convergence had been announced at Daytona, multiple steering group committee meetings were also planned, including one that took place at IMSA’s headquarters last month following the WEC race at Circuit of The Americas.
When asked by Sportscar365 on the status of the regulations, Doonan said the the technical teams from both IMSA and the ACO have been in “regular contact” along with the four nominated constructors as well as current and prospective manufacturers.
“Those discussions have been ongoing,” Doonan said.
“There was, as we have, some additional planned meetings with that group in person leading up to what was to be our technical regulation announcement next Friday.
“At the moment, based on travel and ability for conference calls, it could be delayed a little bit before we get there.
“But I can assure you the intention is still the same among everybody. It’s to get a draft set of technical regulations around LMDh out as soon as possible. We’re going to continue to have those meetings [but] virtually.
“The intention is still there. There’s been a lot of very positive communication and a lot of professionalism shown in all those groups in those discussions.”
While acknowledging the FIA World Motor Sport Council’s recent approval of the “general principles” of convergence, Doonan did not go into detail when asked if the new guidelines laid out by the FIA will result in any changes to the original plan.
The FIA stated that parameters such as power, aero and weight will be aligned between LMDh and the ACO’s Le Mans Hypercar platform in order ensure both cars will operate in the same performance window.
It would likely result in increased weight and power for LMDh cars.
“Everybody is sharing their expectations on power and weight and aero,” Doonan said. “Obviously the technical team on both sides, the ACO and IMSA, are extremely aware of the aero packages, the power targets, the way the cars make power.
“It’s continuing discussions with everybody’s spirit of trying to accomplish the same thing. No one has drawn the line in the sand. No one is saying, ‘My way or the highway.’
“It’s about making sure, to the best of our abilities, that we can have a top level category, i.e. LMDh, that allows manufacturers to compete head-to-head, certainly like the IMSA WeatherTech Championship provides key races like the Rolex 24 at Daytona, Twelve Hours of Sebring and also the vision, as we announced at the Rolex, to be able to have those same teams compete at Le Mans.
“There’s lots more to discuss. I’m not trying to avoid any specifics but frankly, the discussions are ongoing but I think the spirit of everybody is to try and find a way to have the platform LMDh and to the best of our abilities, LMH, compete together.
“But there’s a lot of work yet to be done.”
LMDh Still on Track for Single Hybrid Supplier
Doonan said plans are still on track for a spec hybrid powertrain that will be common across all LMDh cars, although details are still being finalized.
“The work that the IMSA technical team did leading up to the LMDh announcement on Friday at the Rolex had the process well underway,” he said.
“They certainly, as they always have, welcomes Thierry Bouvet (ACO technical delegate) into those discussions once we announced what we did at the Rolex.
“Thierry was well aware because he sat in some of our technical working groups, of which direction we were headed relative to a single-source hybrid supplier.”
Doonan downplayed that the cancelation of Aston Martin’s LMH project, which was to be road car-based, has impacted the size of the LMDh hybrid system that would now be used should production-based LMH cars no longer be eligible.
“Obviously the decisions of different manufacturers are theirs to make so we’re not in a position to comment on why or how or those type of things,” he said.
“We continue to pursue with the ACO on the decision of a single-source hybrid suppler.
“That decision, along with many other technical aspects of the car: aero performance, ICE power, vehicle weight, all of those things are factored into what will be the final regulations.”