DPi manufacturers react to ACO/WEC rule proposals

Image by Michael Levitt/LAT

DPi manufacturers react to ACO/WEC rule proposals

IMSA

DPi manufacturers react to ACO/WEC rule proposals

All four auto manufacturers directly involved with IMSA’s Daytona Prototype international formula have weighed in with feedback on the proposed 2020 universal prototype concept unveiled last week in France.

Designed by the French ACO and FIA World Endurance Championship sanctioning bodies as a comparatively low-cost alternative to the $100 million-plus annual budgets required to compete in today’s LMP1-Hybrid class, the $30 million-per-year 2020 ‘hypercar’ formula is meant to replace LMP1 altogether. At present, the projected financials behind the ACO/FIA hypercar construct is far beyond anything the average IMSA DPi manufacturer or privateer LMP2 team is prepared to support.

With a fair amount of time in hand before the new formula is meant to arrive, IMSA president Scott Atherton told RACER it will continue to work with the ACO/FIA to seek the means to make the 2020 hypercar formula an affordable option for WeatherTech SportsCar Championship entrants. If, however, a significant funding gap remains once the concept is finalized, Atherton confirmed IMSA is prepared to step away from the hypercar concept and continue on its own with the DPi/LMP2 model.

The DPi-inspired hypercar styling approach had multiple fans, and the use of an off-the-shelf hybrid system — another part of the the 2020 plans, was also touched upon by some DPi manufacturers and Atherton in their reactions.

Image by Jake Galstad/LAT

To start, General Motors motorsports competition director Mark Kent offered a corporate-minded response to the 2020 concept.

“As the reigning IMSA Prototype Manufacturers and Driver’s Champion and the winner of this year’s races at Daytona, Long Beach and Detroit, Cadillac is enjoying tremendous success in Prototype racing with the Cadillac DPi-V.R.” he said. “Friday’s announcement by the ACO defined their vision for the future of Prototype racing. Yet, there is still work to be done before the regulations are finalized.

“Once finalized, we will assess if participation in this newly defined Prototype category would provide us a cost-effective platform to transfer technology from the racetrack to the showroom and to showcase the performance, efficiency and reliability of our products.”

Image by Leland Hill/LAT

Honda Performance Development vice president Steve Eriksen provided the Acura ARX-05 DPi manufacturer’s perspective.

“Probably the best way to summarize it is there’s a number of things that are appealing about what they’ve come up with, and a few points that are concerning,” he said. “I like the idea of a front-axle energy-recovery hybrid system. I think that’s a nice tie in, particularly to Acura’s production car direction. Our NSX features super-handling all-wheel-drive with a front-axle hybrid system. And the styling that reinforces your brand characteristics, as we know in DPi, that’s an appealing aspect for us.”

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