FIA World Endurance Championship CEO Gerard Neveu says he holds a common vision with IMSA President Scott Atherton of having its two top categories race together in the future, revealing that an active effort is underway between the ACO and IMSA technical departments to seek similar performance targets between Hypercar and DPi 2.0.
While having gone separate ways on its new top-class regulations, Neveu has suggested that the cars from WEC’s Hypercar formula could be mixed in with IMSA’s yet-to-be-finalized DPi 2.0 regulations by as early as the launch of IMSA’s next-generation ruleset in 2022.
The development comes following Atherton’s comments to Sportscar365 last month that he could see the two platforms race in “coexistence” in the future.
“At this moment, clearly, at the steering committee, all the top level management asked to the technical departments from the ACO and IMSA to work on it, investigate it seriously [on] how we can be sure that we have a chance to race DPi 2.0 and Hypercar together,” Neveu told Sportscar365.
“To do that, we have to share in advance all the information regarding the evolution of the respective technical regulations.
“We don’t say that it will be easy or 100 percent sure because they have to make a demonstration that this is possible. But clearly from both sides, the instruction is, ‘Work on it and try to make it happen.'”
While the FIA and ACO have finalized its new-for-2020 Hypercar regulations, which will see both prototype and road-going-based hypercars with optional hybrid systems, IMSA is still in steering group meetings to define its next-gen platform that will debut in 2022.
An evolution of its current LMP2-based formula, with the addition of a spec high-voltage hybrid system, appears to be the favored option for IMSA’s so-called DPi 2.0, although performance figures have not yet been disclosed.
When asked if mixed-platform races could happen by as early as 2022, Neveu voiced his optimism.
“That’s the plan. It has to work when [DPi 2.0] arrives, for sure,” he said.
“If they work together, it’s better than if they work from on their respective side and then they try to rejoin. They have to work together and share all the information they have [to achieve similar performance levels].
“I hope Thierry Bouvet [ACO technical director] and Simon [Hodgson, IMSA VP of Competition] and Vincent [Beaumesnil, ACO sporting director], can share a lot of things together.
“We are sharing the same passion and interests for the sports car [racing world].
“If you say Le Mans, Sebring, Daytona… Those are the names that ring very strongly. Clearly it’s our responsibility to try and manage that.”
Strong Relationship With IMSA is “Crucial” for ACO
Neveu stressed his desire for the ACO to expand their relationship with IMSA, following its long-standing technical partnership and recent successful “Super Sebring” event, which will return in 2020.
“We strongly believe in this partnership between ACO and IMSA and these two major structures,” he said. “I think it makes sense to find some place where we can do many things together.
“We think that a very strong relationship between us is crucial.
“The two top stages in the world for sports car [racing] is the U.S. and Le Mans. We know very well, and Sebring was a perfect demonstration of that, when we have this capacity as managers to set up a parallel program together with common interests, its a bigger value for all the people interested by sports cars.
“Clearly, and I can speak for Pierre Fillon, he is sharing the same point of view. The relationship with IMSA for us is something very important.”
Neveu explained that a steering committee has been established between himself, Atherton, ACO President Pierre Fillon, IMSA chairman Jim France and IMSA CEO Ed Bennett, where they regularly discuss ways of “increasing” the partnership.
“This is a historic relationship and this is probably the future [of sports car racing]. This is what I believe,” Neveu said.
“IMSA manages sports car [racing] very well in North America, no question about that. This is a very good championship with a very good organization.
“I think WEC is doing its part of the job in other parts of the world, and Le Mans is Le Mans. We have to maintain this very close relationship.”