New IMSA top class to compete in WEC

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New regulations have been agreed between the Automobile Club de l’Ouest and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship to make the IMSA top tier cars able to compete in the FIA World Endurance Championship.

A discussion that has been on the cards since December sees the new regulation of the IMSA DPi category rebranded as LMDh (understood to stand for Le Mans Daytona hypercar). This regulation shift from the American championship, coming into action as of 2022, will see the cars able to compete with the Le Mans hypercars (LMh) that are coming into WEC for the 2020/21 season.

The sole purpose of this agreement, with IMSA moving their DPi evolution to be more similar to the LMh development in WEC, is to entice more manufacturers into both series. With their cars now able to run not just in WEC and the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but also IMSA and races like the Rolex 24 at Daytona, manufacturers are more likely to invest in developing a car.

IMSA and WEC tried a partnership like this in 2017, when the DPis were first introduced. However, with the DPis only meeting the same standard as the LMP2 cars in WEC, therefore unlikely to be able to challenge for overall wins, the appeal was less so. This has been revised ahead of the LMDh announcement when these cars are going to be able to take on the LMhs in WEC’s top tier.

LMDh cars will work in a similar way to the LMP2 cars in WEC; teams will pick from one of four chassis manufacturers – Ligier, Multimatic, DALLARA, or ORECA. These chassis will debut in IMSA and be brought into WEC as the new LMP2 chassises for 2023. The LMDhs will also all be fitted with rear axel KERS system.

“This announcement today is the essential starting point for a common Endurance, supported by the ACO and IMSA.” Pierre Fillon, President of the ACO, said in the official statement. “This platform testifies to the convergence achieved by our two entities. It is a great success for Endurance. 

“This sporting vision and long-term marketing, it is rare enough to be emphasised, will offer many opportunities. “

Jim France, President of IMSA, added: “When my father Bill France organised the first Endurance Daytona Continental race here at the International Daytona Speedway in 1962, he already wanted to bring together pilots, teams and manufacturers from around the world. Supported by the ACO and IMSA, with the support of the manufacturers, the announcement of this day proudly symbolises my father’s vision with continuity. “

More information about the technical regulations of LMDhs will be announced at the SuperSebring weekend in March, where both IMSA and WEC championships race at Sebring International Speedway. This announcement will also include how fair play will be enforced, introducing a new Balance of Performance system to the LMP1 WEC class for when LMhs and LMDhs are racing together on track.

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