Friday July 9, 2021 by Julie Bouchard
In early 2020, the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO – organizer of the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the WEC), the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) and the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) announced their intention to working hand in hand to create a new flagship category of prototypes for endurance racing. Thus was born the draft regulation of LMH (Le Mans Hypercar) and LMDh (Le Mans & Daytona hypercar).
The three parties have now reached an agreement on the technical specifications of the new category. This agreement means that LMH prototypes will be able to participate in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship from 2023. Toyota, Peugeot and Glickenhaus are the first manufacturers to enter LMHs this season in WEC. Ferrari will join them in 2023 while Acura, Audi, BMW and Porsche are already confirmed in LMDH.
So that everyone, entered in LMH or LMDH, starts on an equal footing, the convergence between the technical regulations of the two categories was approved yesterday by the World Motor Sport Council and this will allow cars with technical definitions different to compete on both sides of the Atlantic, in the World Endurance Championship (WC) as in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
This decision of the World Council follows a recent technical meeting bringing together the ACO, the FIA, the IMSA and all the manufacturers officially involved in the LMDh and LMH programs. The parties reached an agreement to balance the performance of these different types of cars (including the powertrain and four-wheel drive configuration).
The specifics of four key technical elements – tire fitting, acceleration system, braking capacity and aerodynamics – were converged and approved by the ACO, FIA and IMSA before being approved by the World Council.
This means, among other things, that on 4WD (LMH) cars, the deployment of the activation speed of the acceleration will determine the Balance of Performance (BoP). Depending on the type of track, there will be two speeds of activation of the BoP (dry / wet related to the tire mounted on the car). For LMDhs, control software will limit the contribution of the electrical distribution to the traction control capacity.
The final technical regulations will be jointly developed by the ACO, FIA and IMSA. In addition, the eligibility of an LMH type car in IMSA will also require an individual commercial agreement between each manufacturer and the IMSA.
The initial goal shared by the ACO, FIA and IMSA is to give manufacturers the opportunity to enter the same car in the most prestigious Endurance races in the world from 2023, the year of entry into force of the LMDh class.
For Pierre Fillon, President of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest: “This major announcement stems from our ambition to forge a common future for Endurance. We worked together to achieve this historic agreement and I want to thank all stakeholders. This is great news for the teams as well as for the fans and it shows a bright future for Endurance. The manufacturers dreamed of being able to participate in the greatest endurance races in the world with the same model of car; it will now be a reality ”.
John Doonan, IMSA President, concluded: “What we achieved as a group a few weeks ago in Paris has the potential to revolutionize prototype sports car racing around the world. Some of the biggest car manufacturers will be present with relevant technology at the most prestigious endurance races in the world. Collectively, we have the opportunity to engage with the next generation of endurance sports car racing fans and elevate our sport to the highest level. I could not be more proud of the spirit of collaboration that has prevailed between our representatives from IMSA and their colleagues from ACO and FIA, and all of our automotive partners ”.