As part of Friday evening’s “State of the Series” address at Road America, IMSA president Scott Atherton confirmed new items related to the timeline and formation of its next-generation Daytona Prototype international formula that will debut at the Rolex 24 At Daytona in January of 2022.
With the recent completion of the DPi 2.0 feasibility study, the next phase of the process involves wind tunnel testing that will run through the third quarter of 2019. Compared to the current models, the new DPis will feature more styling freedom, giving manufacturers greater latitude to incorporate road-car design cues into the custom bodywork. The wind tunnel and computational fluid dynamic testing is designed to benchmark the range of areas where the new freedoms will be allowed, and how they might impact performance.
In concert with IMSA’s third-quarter aero work, the series’ technical department will seek vendors to supply the new spec kinetic energy recovery system (KERS) coming with DPi 2.0. With current and potential DPi manufacturers voicing their preference for either high- or low-output KERS units, IMSA’s decision on which path to take will shape the tender it creates and, potentially, how many auto brands decide to move forward with hybrid DPis.
On the internal combustion engine (ICE) side of the hybrid equation, IMSA will maintain the diversity found today where small-displacement turbocharged four-cylinder motors compete against larger twin-turbo V6s and even larger naturally-aspirated V8s. Although it is currently undefined, IMSA intends to welcome alternative fuels in DPi 2.0, but it’s unclear how far the door will be opened beyond the use of gasoline/ethanol blends.
Once the aero and KERS solutions are in place, teams and manufacturers will get their first look at the final regulations in the first quarter of 2020. Initial track testing for the DPi 2.0s is expected to take place in the first quarter of 2021.
Among the few major details awaiting confirmation, IMSA has suggested it will continue using Dallara (Cadillac), Ligier (Nissan), Multimatic (Mazda), and ORECA (Acura) as the four approved DPi chassis providers, but it’s unclear whether new vendors will be added to the list for auto manufacturers to choose from.