A mixture of decrease prices, notably when in comparison with the LMP1 period of the FIA World Endurance Championship, and the possibility to race the identical automobile in two main sequence have confirmed key elements in luring producers again to the highest class of the WEC (merely recognized now as ‘Hypercar’) and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (the place the equal class is named ‘GTP’).
Earlier than we proceed to the checklist of marques, it is price reiterating the variations between LMDh and LMH laws.
LMDh is actually a successor to the profitable DPi platform IMSA launched in 2017. As was the case beforehand, producers should base their new designs upon a next-generation LMP2 chassis, of which there are 4 licensed constructors: Oreca, Dallara, Ligier and Multimatic.
Engine selection stays free inside the scope of laws, however all automobiles should now be fitted with a spec hybrid system constructed collectively by Bosch (inverter), Williams Superior Engineering (motor) and Xtrac (gearbox).
LMH, alternatively, presents much more freedom to producers, permitting them to construct a automobile from scratch – albeit inside a sure efficiency window – that matches the design language of their model. A hybrid system, which will be designed and constructed by the producer itself, is non-compulsory.
Vehicles constructed to both of the 2 units of laws can compete in each WEC and IMSA from 2023, together with their respective flagship races, the Le Mans 24 Hours and Rolex 24 at Daytona. LMH automobiles made their debut again in 2021 whereas the primary LMDh automobiles are anticipated to race on either side of the Atlantic from subsequent yr, starting with the Daytona enduro.
Checklist of producers racing in WEC and IMSA 2023 with an LMDh or LMH:
|Producer||Automotive kind||WEC (Hypercar class)||IMSA (GTP class)|
|ByKolles / Vanwall||LMH (non-hybrid)||Unconfirmed||No|
|Lamborghini||LMDh||Sure (2024)||Sure (2024)|
#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010 Hybrid of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez
Picture by: Marc Fleury
Toyota has been an ever-present fixture within the WEC because the sequence’ rebirth a decade in the past and can proceed competing within the championship subsequent yr with a pair of automobiles within the Hypercar class. Nevertheless, the Japanese producer might determine to homologate an all-new mannequin for the 2023 season, having felt a late regulatory change compromised the event of its present automobile.
To date, the GR010 Hybrid has been the dominant pressure in WEC, scoring a whole sweep of victories in its first yr of competitors in 2021, together with a 1-2 end on the Le Mans 24 Hours. The Japanese marque has confronted a more durable problem from its rivals this yr, however it’s a main contender within the title hunt following race wins at Spa, Le Mans and Fuji.
Regardless of being the largest automobile producer by annual gross sales within the US, Toyota at present has no plans to race in IMSA subsequent yr below its personal model or through its luxurious automobile subsidiary Lexus.
Engine: The Toyota GR010 Hybrid is powered by a 3.5-litre twin-turbo V6 engine, which is considerably greater in displacement than the two.4-litre six-cylinder unit that was used within the TS050 LMP1 automobile. A bespoke hybrid motor is connected to the inner combustion engine.
2023 plans unconfirmed
#709 Glickenhaus Racing Glickenhaus 007 LMH Hypercar of Ryan Briscoe, Richard Westbrook, Franck Mailleux
Picture by: JEP / Motorsport Pictures
Glickenhaus has outlined an intention to compete within the WEC subsequent yr with its non-hybrid 007 LMH automobile, however it’s unclear if it will likely be current for all seven rounds of the championship. Nevertheless, it might determine to discipline an additional automobile at Le Mans, because it did this yr, boosting the entry for the Hypercar class.
After a shaky debut in 2021, the American boutique producer has managed to show the 007 LMH right into a dependable automobile that may bother the frontrunners, and has completed on the rostrum within the three of the 4 races it has contested in 2022. Solely reliability points prevented it from persevering with that streak at Monza, the place it was arguably at its strongest and in with a real shot at a maiden win.
Glickenhaus has lengthy harboured aspirations to race in IMSA, however its efforts are prone to be stymied by a rule that requires producers to promote a minimum of 2,500 automobiles in a yr to enter. Staff proprietor Jim Glickenhaus has repeatedly spoken towards the rule, which he believes violates US antitrust legal guidelines by discriminating towards producers primarily based on their dimension and scale, however it stays unclear if the squad will get permission to race in IMSA subsequent season – both as a manufacturing unit entry or by way of a buyer.
Engine: The Glickenhaus 007 LMH is powered by a 3.5-litre V8 twin-turbo engine developed by Pipo Motors. It has elected to not run a hybrid system on the automobile.
#94 Peugeot Totalenergies Peugeot 9X8 of Loic Duval, Gustavo Menezes, James Rossiter
Picture by: Paolo Belletti
Peugeot will race within the WEC subsequent yr with two 9X8 automobiles constructed to LMH laws. It is going to mark the French producer’s return to Le Mans for the primary time since 2011, when it raced with the 908 LMP1 automobile.
The Peugeot 9X8 made its debut at Monza in July however was beset by each poor reliability and a scarcity of tempo, with extra issues showing on the Fuji race in September. Nevertheless, the automobile is predicted to get be extra aggressive in Bahrain for this yr’s season finale, earlier than its first full marketing campaign in 2023.
Peugeot had beforehand expressed a want to take the 9X8 to the US, however no information has been forthcoming in latest months on this entrance. With Peugeot absent from the American market, an IMSA programme would contain rebadging the automobile to one of many multitude of different manufacturers that at the moment are a part of the Stellantis automotive group.
Engine: The Peugeot 9X8 runs on a 2.6-litre twin turbo V6 engine developed in-house by Stellantis and is mated to a bespoke hybrid unit.
Confirmed drivers: Nico Muller
Picture by: Davide Cavazza
Having primarily concentrated its efforts on a GT programme for the final decade or so, Ferrari will transfer as much as WEC’s Hypercar class subsequent yr with a two-car entry. The Italian producer additionally expressed curiosity in taking its hypercar to North America final yr, however an IMSA entry – if it ever materialises – gained’t be till a minimum of 2024. Lengthy-time GT companion AF Corse will deal with the operational facet of the workforce as a part of their tie-up.
Ferrari’s hypercar is constructed to LMH laws like these of Toyota and Peugeot because it wished to have management over sure design points. Whereas the LMDh method is touted to be a less expensive path to endurance racing, the revered Italian model has made it clear that it needs to supply a automobile that’s “whole Ferrari” and carries the marque’s DNA.
The as-unnamed hypercar has accomplished practically 5000km of working throughout three checks.
Ferrari’s hypercar is critical because it marks its return to the highest class of Le Mans for the primary time in 50 years. The Italian producer has gained the French endurance outright a complete of 9 instances, which places it solely behind Porsche and Audi within the checklist of producers with most general wins. Nevertheless, the final of its victories was achieved again in 1965 with the 250 LM. Ferrari is benefiting from F1’s new price cap to compete in grand prix racing and Le Mans concurrently, because it did throughout the Nineteen Fifties and 60s.
Engine: Ferrari hasn’t revealed the technical particulars of its as-unnamed LMH automobile, however it does characteristic a hybrid system developed in-house.
Drivers: Ferrari hasn’t introduced the line-up for its 2023 WEC programme, however it plans to choose drivers from its present manufacturing unit roster.
WEC and IMSA
Porsche 963 LMDh
Picture by: Morgese / Gandolfi
Porsche will return to the highest echelon of endurance racing subsequent yr with a manufacturing unit programme run in collaboration with Staff Penske. It is going to run two 963 LMDh automobiles every in WEC and IMSA in 2023 below the Porsche Penske Motorsport banner. That is Porsche’s first prototype programme because the all-conquering 919 Hybrid was retired on the finish of the 2017 WEC season.
Porsche has gained a headstart over its rivals, having shaken down the 963 as early as January this yr. Since then, it has undergone an intensive testing programme on either side of the Atlantic, together with a two-car check at Monza in August.
On high of the manufacturing unit entries, Porsche may have two buyer automobiles every in each WEC and IMSA. LMP2 frontrunner JOTA will run a single instance of the 963 within the WEC whereas over in IMSA, present Cadillac workforce JDC-Miller has been introduced as Porsche’s first LMDh buyer. Lengthy-time Porsche GT squad Proton Competitors seems to be prone to run the remaining buyer automobiles, one in WEC and one in IMSA.
Nevertheless, it seems to be unlikely that the shopper 963s will probably be prepared for the beginning of the season.
Chassis companion and engine: Multimatic has been appointed as Porsche’s improvement companion and the automobile is predicated on the Canadian agency’s next-generation LMP2 chassis. The Porsche 963 makes use of an engine primarily based on the 4.6-litre twin-turbo V8 unit that powered the marque’s 918 highway automobile.
Confirmed drivers: Andre Lotterer, Kevin Estre, Michael Christensen, Laurens Vanthoor, Matt Campbell, Matthieu Jaminet, Felipe Nasr, Dane Cameron
WEC and IMSA
Picture by: Cadillac Communications
Cadillac will proceed its top-line sportscar programme into the brand new LMDh period in 2023. On high of IMSA, the place it already has a powerful presence within the DPi class, the Basic Motors-owned model may also broaden to the WEC subsequent yr. This can mark Cadillac’s return to Le Mans because the ill-fated Northstar LMP automobile final raced at Circuit de la Sarthe in 2002.
Chip Ganassi Racing and Motion Categorical Racing stay Cadillac’s companion groups of selection and can each be current in IMSA subsequent yr. One of many squads, doubtless Ganassi, may also enter a single factory-backed automobile in WEC in 2023. A multi-car entry is predicted from Cadillac at Le Mans.
Testing for the Cadillac V-LMDh automobile is in full swing in North America forward of its deliberate debut on the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January 2023.
Chassis and engine: As is the case with the present Cadillac DPi-V.R, the next-gen prototype from the American luxurious model will probably be primarily based on a Dallara LMP2 chassis. The marque has constructed an all-new 5.5-litre V8 engine to energy the automobile, however it’s unclear if the motor is naturally-aspirated or turbocharged.
Confirmed drivers: Alexander Sims, Pipo Derani, Sebastien Bourdais, Renger van der Zande
Picture by: Acura
Acura will compete in IMSA subsequent season with the all-new ARX-06 LMDh automobile. Meyer Shank Racing and Wayne Taylor Racing will stay as Acura’s manufacturing unit squads, fielding one automobile every within the GTP class.
Acura accomplished its first full-test with the ARX-06 at Le Castellet in July and has scheduled loads extra working within the coming months, together with “24-hour simulations”, to organize the automobile for its race debut.
As of now, Acura and its father or mother firm Honda haven’t any plans to race within the WEC or Le Mans in 2023.
Chassis companion and engine: Acura has partnered with Oreca once more to construct the successor to the title-winning ARX-05. A brand-new 2.4-litre twin-turbo engine powers the automobile, its displacement notably smaller than the three.5-litre unit that powers the present Acura DPi.
Confirmed drivers: Tom Blomqvist, Ricky Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque
WEC (from 2024) and IMSA
BMW M Hybrid V8
Picture by: BMW AG
BMW will transfer as much as the highest class of IMSA in 2023 with a Rahal Letterman Lanigan-run manufacturing unit LMDh programme. Testing for the BMW M Hybrid V8 is already underway, with the ultimate livery revealed in September.
The German marque may also compete within the WEC from 2024 on what would be the twenty fifth anniversary of its victory at Le Mans with the V12 LMR. Its WEC programme will probably be run along side Belgian squad WRT, which is splitting with present GT racing companion Audi after the 2022 season.
BMW will enter two automobiles in IMSA’s GTP class subsequent yr however it hasn’t revealed if it is going to provide the M Hybrid V8 to buyer groups.
Chassis companion and engine: Like Cadillac, BMW has partnered with Dallara to construct the chassis of its LMP2-based LMDh contender. The engine is predicated on the four-litre naturally aspirated engine that BMW used within the DTM between 2017-18, and it now runs direct injection.
Confirmed drivers: Connor De Phillippi, Philipp Eng, Augusto Farfus, Nick Yelloly, Colton Herta (enduros solely)
ByKolles / Vanwall
2023 plans unconfirmed
Tom Dillmann, Vanwall Vandervell LMH
Picture by: Vanwall Group
ByKolles plans to enter a sole Vanwall Vandervell non-hybrid LMH automobile within the WEC subsequent yr, pending approval from the sequence. The German squad was planning to rejoin the class this yr, however its request for the entry was turned down by sequence organisers.
Since then, ByKolles has accomplished numerous checks with its Vanwall-badged automobile, finishing practically 2000km of working at Most and the Lausitzring. The workforce is assured that it has constructed a speedy and dependable automobile that’s miles higher than the ill-fated CLM P1/01 that couldn’t log a single labeled end at Le Mans throughout its lengthy tenure within the LMP1 class.
ByKolles plans to promote a road-going model of the automobile sooner or later, and has already revealed the primary pictures of this on social media. The workforce has by no means publicly expressed a want to race in IMSA.
Engine: Like the ultimate iteration of the CLM P1/01, the Vanwall Vandervell LMH is powered by the trusty Gibson naturally-aspirated V8 that can be present in Alpine’s grandfathered LMP1 automobile and the whole LMP2 grid. There isn’t a hybrid system.
WEC and IMSA (each from 2024)
Lamborghini will compete within the pinnacle of sportscar racing for the primary time from 2024 when it enters each the WEC and IMSA. As a substitute of working a full-fledged manufacturing unit workforce, Lamborghini will present intensive assist to prospects in a way not dissimilar to its present programmes in GT3 racing.
It stays unclear when Lamborghini’s LMDh automobile will probably be prepared for testing, however the producer has already introduced Mirko Bortolotti and Andrea Caldarelli as the primary two drivers for the mission – and the 2 are anticipated to guide the event of the automobile.
Chassis and engine: Lamborghini has partnered with Ligier to construct an LMDh automobile primarily based on the French constructor’s next-gen LMP2 machine. Lamborghini is growing an all-new twin turbo V8 engine to energy the automobile, however the engine capability has not but been revealed.
WEC solely (from 2024)
#36 Alpine Elf Staff Alpine A480 – Gibson of Andre Negrao, Nicolas Lapierre, Matthieu Vaxiviere
Picture by: Paul Foster
Alpine has introduced a two-car LMDh assault on the WEC’s Hypercar class starting 2024.
The Renault-owned model returned to the highest class in 2021 with a rebadged model of the Oreca-built Rise up R-13 LMP1 automobile as a part of a particular dispensation, and continues to race within the championship this yr. Nevertheless, the so-called ‘grandfathered’ LMP1 automobiles is not going to be allowed from 2023 and Alpine seems to be set to drop all the way down to the LMP2 class subsequent yr whereas getting ready for its LMDh programme.
Renault/Alpine was an everyday at Le Mans in Nineteen Sixties and Seventies and took outright victory within the 1978 version of the occasion.
Signatech will probably be Alpine’s workforce of selection because it chases a primary victory at Le Mans in over 40 years.
Chassis and engine: Technical details about Alpine’s LMDh automobile hasn’t been revealed, apart from it will likely be primarily based on the successor to the Oreca 07 LMP2 automobile.