Acura, Audi, BMW, Ferrari, Peugeot and Toyota can all compete in 2023 - that's how it works.
In 2021, there is a real building in the world of sports car racing. After years of incompatible technical regulations, the three organizations responsible for endurance racing in the United States, France and elsewhere around the world have found common ground. Soon, a car that can compete for the overall win at Le Mans qualifies to do the same at Sebring or Daytona, and vice versa.
This convergence has been to generate interest and attract new content, and it does just that: Acura, Audi, BMW, Ferrari, Glickenhaus, Peugeot and Toyota have all agreed to approval requests. Cadillac, Hyundai and Lamborghini are also expected to be included. This level of producer involvement hasn't been seen since the glorious days of Group C, and it's fair to say the increase in the field of competitors has fans excited ahead. But sports car racing - which often involves several classes of cars racing at the same time - is nothing if not very complicated. Good news, but stay tuned.
Be prepared for acronyms: IMSA, ACO, FIA, WTF
First of all, there are three different organizations involved in regulation and decision-making. In the United States, the International Motorsports Association (IMSA) is responsible for sports car racing and the Weathertech SportsCar Championship which includes special events such as the Rolex 24 at Daytona, the 12 Hours of Sebring and Petit Le Mans. Among other things. Then the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA), which is responsible for world motor racing and global competitions such as the World Endurance Race.
In the 2000s, IMSA and ACO used very similar technical regulations. . But in 2014, IMSA merged with another group in the US, and this new partnership should come with a base for combining new vehicles. Unfortunately, what they agreed on left no room for the fastest Le Mans models (called LMP1s).
The powerful LMP1 cars at Le Mans and WEC are finally some of the most advanced ever. The LMP1 soon became the LMP1h - "h" hybrid. A complex set of rules called the "performance equation" was established so that different technical methods could theoretically compete on equal terms. In the resulting race, we saw motor rotors, supercapacitors, lithium-ion batteries, petrol and diesel engines, and rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.
For a few short years, fans have learned about some of the most epic races between Audi, Toyota and Porsche. But the German manufacturers had a budget the size of Formula 1, which became unstable, especially after the diesel portal. Until 2018, Toyota only survived and competed with non-hybrid private LMP1 cars. Through a growing disadvantage, an integrative office (ACO) has tried to make things fair for individuals with much lower budgets, but such regulations have not always been successful.
Simultaneously in the US: In 2017, IMSA introduced the new DPi class (Daytona Prototype). The second group started with the fastest ACO (called LMP2), but where the LMP2 was for private teams and amateur drivers, the DPi was for OEMs and factory teams. Thus, IMSA allowed DPi applicants to choose their own engine and develop their own electronics (both of which are LMP2 specifications). The new DPi guidelines also give manufacturers more freedom to make racing models look more like real road cars. p>
Of course, technical regulations don't last forever. IMSA, ACO, and the FIA all knew that eventually getting more manufacturers into top-tier sports cars would require a few things. Initially, because nearly every company moved to electrify the passenger car fleet, laws had to allow some kind of hybridization. After that, the cars should look more like road cars. Finally, the costs must be reasonable.
LMH, LMDh - All this is a supercar for me
Enter the Hypercar. ACO took the ball first and announced that he wanted to win the racing versions of road supercars like the Aston Martin Valkyrie. The idea of removing license plates, crating them, and racing (even if it was already practical about 50 years ago) is a romantic one.
Therefore, ACO created the Le Mans Hypercar (LMH) group to achieve this. The LMH gives applicants a lot of technical freedom (although less than the LMP1h). These cars are heavier and less powerful than the LMP1 and have a lower traction ratio of 4:1. The first LMHs entered the track this year, including a pair of Toyota GR010 hybrids, a pair of Glickenhaus 007 supercars and an Alpine LMP1 that arrived with grandfather. As we recently reported, Peugeot is set to launch a 9X8 hybrid next year, and Ferrari has confirmed that it will enter the LMH in 2023 with a hybrid.
However, IMSA had some requirements of its own, which meant that it could not use LMH for its superior class. But DPi has been so successful, so in 2023, IMSA will convert it into a new class called LMDh. Like the DPi, it starts by choosing a stabilizer from among the four approved "thorns" - a carbon fiber chassis manufactured by Dallara, Ligier, Multimatic and Oreca. Like the DPi, each OEM is independent in its engine and electronics selection and appears more than the DPi in design, albeit with the same 4:1 tensile strength ratio as the LMH.
There are many components that will be the same in every vehicle to reduce costs. It includes a hybrid system that uses a Bosch electric motor and Xtrac sequential gearbox, as well as a lithium-ion intake battery from Williams Advanced Engineering. A total of 670 hp (500 kW) is sent to the rear wheels - the electric motor is allowed to produce 268 hp (200 kW) but can only produce 67 hp (50 kW). Proponents of unrestricted tech development might turn their noses up with components, and it certainly complicates any story an OEM wants to tell about moving technology from racetracks to road vehicles. But the good thing is the price - a complete integration system will cost around $355,000 (300,000 euros) and the chassis around $408,000 (345,000 euros). Add the cost of the internal combustion engine and a few other parts, and the price of a complete LMDh would still be under $1.5 million. Announcements
This is definitely attractive to OEMs like Audi. "The new supercars are fully compatible with our new chassis in electric scooters and the roadmap," an Audi Sport spokesperson told Ars via email. “The LMDH Motor Regulations specifically allow us to showcase attractive race cars in world-renowned races while the rules are in place to maximize cost efficiency.” (Audi and Porsche work together on the LMDh program with the same engine and multi-purpose chassis but with a different look, which could lead to the 2024 Lamborghini.)
The fact that US LMDh certified championships is also included in some OEM decisions. “We know which engine we're going to put in, we know which manufacturer we're going to be working with, and then the software comes first with the IMSA Championship, because we want to get it to our greatest potential. It's the US market (he thinks he chose the BMW Dallara to be our greatest) Mike Wark, president of BMW Motorsport, said. Chassis maker). "You'll see that in Formula E: there's a lot of spec, but there's some open areas as well. We learned a lot there. “So yes, there are a lot of specs, but I think that is the only way to control costs. And with the Hypercar [LMH], there's an additional cost, which is really hard to pass up at the moment. So, for us, LMDH was a preferred route not only because of its cost-effectiveness, but also because of the US market.
What is LMDH and why are we so excited for Sports Car Racing 2023?
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