On the Friday before the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, key members of both the ACO and IMSA came together to seal the conversation that has been going on for many years. A shared competition platform called LMDh, a prototype car that can compete in both the 24 hours of Le Mans and at Daytona. A dream has become reality and it’s called LMDh.
WHAT WHILL THIS LOOK LIKE?
The idea for a convergence platform has been talked about for ages and none of the parties ever succeeded in finding a common ground when it comes to top class racing. Currently only GTE/GTLM and LMP2 cars can compete in both the ACO-based FIA World Endurance Championship and the IMSA sanctioned Weathertech Sports Car Championship.
The top class LMP1 and DPis were not allowed. For 2021 and 2022 the rulebook has been shredded with the arrival of the Le Mans Hypercar regulations by the ACO. While IMSA themselves were developing their own set of regulations for a new set of DPi 2.0 rules.
The new category called LMDh will effectively replace the DPi 2.0 format in IMSA and sit alongside the Le Mans Hypercar regulations competing in the same category.
As a result of this convergence, the LMDh car will be:
Based on a new chassis common to both ACO and IMSA, using elements of the Le Mans Hypercar and LMP2 chassis, and built by the four current LMP2 manufacturers: Dallara, Ligier, Multimatic and Oreca. This chassis will also be used for the new generation LMP2.
Its silhouette and design will be modifiable, developed according to the brand or style of the manufacturer which will provide the engine power for the car. The car will use a common hybrid KERS system, on the rear axle.
Pierre Fillon, President of the ACO and Jim France, IMSA Chairman:
Pierre Fillon, President of the ACO, said: “This announcement today is the crucial starting point for a joint endurance racing future, supported by both the ACO and IMSA. The platform represents the convergence achieved by both organisations, which is a great success story for endurance racing. A manufacturer will soon be able to compete in the top category of two championships, the FIA WEC and the WeatherTech Championship. We can’t emphasise enough, as it’s exceptional, how many opportunities this long-term sporting and marketing vision will open up.”
Jim France, IMSA Chairman, added: “When my father, Bill France Sr, brought the first Daytona Continental sports car race here to Daytona International Speedway back in 1962, he wanted to bring together sports car drivers, teams and manufacturers from around the world. With the ACO, IMSA and manufacturers aligned. Today’s announcement proudly takes my father’s vision to the next level.”
AN OVERWHELMING REACTION FROM THE MOTORSPORT INDUSTRY
The reaction from the Motorsport industry has already been overwhelming with a lot of manufacturers, like Porsche, showing reinvigorated interest in prototype racing. The announcement even caused French prototype constructor ORECA to change away from it’s initial Hypercar course along with Peugeot. ORECA president Hugues de Chaunac said:
“From the ORECA side, we’re going to focus completely on the global platform, which means we will not work on a Hypercar project. We cannot do everything,”
Acura Team Penske Owner, Roger Penske, said: “We have been asking for this for a number of years. We can run here [at Daytona], we can run Petit Le Mans and we can run Sebring. Le Mans is one of the things we’ve never won. I have been there twice. We need to go and be able to race there and race to win.”
Mazda Motorsports Director of Motorsports, Nelson Cosgrove: “It’s super exciting for motorsports in general. It gives us a wonderful runway going into the next 10 years to race competitively and globally. So now it’s going to be incredible to see everybody that comes out and wants to be involved.”
Wayne Taylor Racing Team Owner, Wayne Taylor: “The truth is that with all the discussions about IMSA and the ACO, I can’t think of anything more exciting for me, Max and this team to be able to go with Cadillac and try and win the Le Mans 24 Hours. Somehow we’re going to have to get Cadillac and GM focused on this. We’ll figure that out; it would be good to take this group to the 24 Hours of Le Mans and win overall.”
McLaren CEO, Zak Brown: “Major positive news for global sportscar racing from ACO and IMSA today. Great vision and collaboration to create better racing and therefore better entertainment for fans. The dawn of a new era for sportscars.”