A full-time factory McLaren effort for IMSA and the WEC under the new LMDh regulations is being considered by the team’s CEO Zak Brown.
This year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona brought the announcement of plans for WEC and IMSA’s top-tier prototype regulations to converge into a single LMDh class, allowing manufacturers to run the same car in both championships in future. While some details have yet to be finalized and an introduction date is uncertain given the COVID-19 pandemic, Brown said the ability to run at all the major sports car races with the same car makes puts LMDh at the top of McLaren’s list when it comes to potential future categories.
“It is something that we’re looking at,” Brown told RACER. “I think in an ideal world, that would be our motorsport portfolio – Formula 1, IndyCar and sports cars – because they all serve different purposes and they’re all complimentary of each other.
“I’m a big fan of what WEC and IMSA are doing together. But with these decisions, just like IndyCar, it took us some time to get that put together and we had some stops and starts. We had some good days and definitely some bad days, if not my worst day in racing. [ED: When the team was bumped from last year’s Indianapolis 500]. But you’ve got to get back on the horse and go. If I can put together a front-running, financially sustainable plan, then I think we would enter sports cars.”
However Brown admitted that he wants to see how McLaren’s return to IndyCar goes, as well as further F1 progress, before seriously committing to a sports car project.
“Right now with what’s going on, we’ve got to take a ‘one step at a time’ approach,” he said. “We felt we’ve got our Formula 1 heading in the right direction, now we’ve just entered IndyCar, and we’ve been waiting to see what happens with the rules on sports cars.
“It looks like it’s going to land in the right place. I’m unsure if it’s going to be for 2022 or 2023, but I think once we pull through this and I feel Formula 1 is continuing to go in the right direction under Andreas (Seidl)’s leadership, IndyCar is going the right direction, then I might get brave and start working on the next business plan.”
Brown already has links to prototype racing through his co-ownership of United Autosports, which competes in LMP2 and LMP3.