World Motorsport Council held a meeting last weekend, and there were two important subjects on the agenda regarding the FIA World Endurance Championship, European Le Mans Series, Asian Le Mans Series, plus the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
The first decision was only regarding the FIA WEC in 2022, where LMDh cars will be allowed in this year’s World Championship rounds. The original introduction of LMDh was scheduled for 2022, but due to the COVID-19 situation, it was all postponed for a year, so all the suppliers were able to get the various parts delivered. We have only seen Porsche test their new car, while the other LMDh manufacturers are a bit shyer about showing pictures.
The changes are so one or more teams can test the cars, later this year. The entry will be on a race-by-race basis, so the LMDh cars won’t be able to score points in 2022, but will still be able to fight for the trophies during the race weekends. That will potentially give the teams valuable information prior to the Daytona 24 Hours in January 2023, which is the official big debut for the new category. Furthermore, there will be some data collected by the ACO and IMSA, for the BOP process.
It was also announced that the new LMP2 specification has been delayed until 2025. None of the four chassis manufacturers, ORECA, Ligier, Dallara, plus Multimatic has been handed the final LMP2 specs for the new cars, nor which motor they will run. But it is however the new cars, which will form the basis of the LMDh models.
But if LMDh turns out to be the big success that everybody is hoping for – well, then the four chassis manufacturers will be plenty busy for 2022, 2023 and 2024, to build all these new cars, and their potential customers, if they want to sell the cars to privateers.
So there might not be the need for a new LMP2 category, if everybody moves to LMH and LMDh anyway.
The current LMP2 specification was introduced in 2017, with them being the base of the DPi cars as well in the IMSA series. The Americans decided, that they wanted a hybrid system for the cars, so the new LMDh spec was invented. There was an announcement in 2020, that there would be a collaboration, so LMDh cars would be able to race alongside LMH, which is the “home build” cars in FIA WEC. We have seen Toyota Gazoo Racing and Glickenhaus with race-ready cars, which has run in 2021. Peugeot TotalEnergies are currently testing their car for introduction later this year, and Ferrari will join by 2023 with their own LMH car.
The FIA WEC will have LMH and LMDh cars running under the Hypercar banner, while IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship has chosen to name the combined category for GTP.