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Manufacturers “Pushing Hard” for Shared Hybrid Tech

BMW, TRD weigh in on possibility of shared LMDh hybrid powertrain with other series…

Photo: BMW

Toyota Racing Development and BMW are among the manufacturers hopeful of seeing the ACO and IMSA implement a shared spec hybrid powertrain with another series in order to help create “economies of scale” for competitors.

Reconfirmed in the convergence of ACO-IMSA top-class racing, the new joint LMDh category will feature a spec KERS-based hybrid powertrain on the rear axle of the global prototype.

While technical details have yet to be confirmed, IMSA placed a tender for the single-supply system last year, with multiple options believed to be under consideration. 

BMW Motorsport director Jens Marquardt says the German manufacturer is “pushing hard” for the newly forged ACO-IMSA platform to align with DTM, which is also planning to implement a spec hybrid system in 2022.

ITR boss Gerhard Berger has previously gone on record with plans for a similar spec hybrid unit, with Cosworth believed to be one of the leading candidates for the single supply contract for the German touring car series.

“We’re pushing hard because obviously between ITR and IMSA, there’s a lot of work going on in the background for this standardized hybrid system,” Marquardt told Sportscar365.

“I hope that also there the cooperation can really lead to something that’s beneficial to everybody, which at the end of the day economy of scale will make everything more affordable and hopefully make it more reliable.

“Everybody wins.”

TRD President and general manager David Wilson, meanwhile, believes that a common system with NASCAR, which also plans to introduce hybrid technology in 2022, would “make a lot of sense.”

“We’ve been openly talking about that wearing the NASCAR hat,” Wilson told Sportscar365.

“I’ve been talking to Jay Frye on the IndyCar side. Everywhere that professional racing is, there’s an ongoing conversation about relative technologies and hybrid.

“Whether it’s NASCAR, IMSA, IndyCar, we’re all struggling with the same challenges: how to implement it in a manner that is affordable, that is safe, and yet is creditable.”

While among the contingent of manufacturers evaluating the new platform, Wilson said he’s not in favor of a so-called ‘token’ hybrid system to be implemented just for marketing purposes.

“Our position, whether it’s NASCAR or looking over the horizon at a prototype, is we want a system that is more than just piddling around the garage or pit lane,” he said.

“We want a push-to-pass, creditable system.

“If there could be some shared technologies, if not a shared system, that will only help bring the cost down because there will be some economies of scale there and some learnings from the series wherein we could help each other, and that’s a good thing.”

Marquardt added: “I’m a big fan of cooperations. At the same time I’m a big fan of regulations and car specs that are different where it needs to be, powertrain, but common where it can be.

“That I fully support and I think IMSA have done a great job in the last years.”

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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