LMDh - LMH (Hypercar DPi Convergence) main topic

WEC, Blancpain, Le Mans Series, Rolex and special events like the Le Mans 24h
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Re: WEC Hypercar and IMSA DPi 2.0 Main topic

Post by MonteCristo » 8 months ago

Latest post of the previous page:

Well, let's see how this goes.

Could be interesting.
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Post by erwin greven » 8 months ago

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Post by erwin greven » 8 months ago

“Too Early to Say” if Hypercar Will Be Eligible in IMSA

Le Mans Hypercar eligibility in IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship unclear…


It’s “too early to say” whether Le Mans Hypercars will be permitted to race in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship amid the arrival of the new LMDh global prototype platform.

Confirmed on Friday, IMSA and ACO officially signed an agreement that will see a common prototype platform, with a targeted debut in the 2021-22 FIA World Endurance Championship season followed by the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship in 2022.

While LMDh will be eligible in both championships, and Le Mans Hypercars confirmed for its previously announced five-season cycle in the WEC, executives from both sanctioning bodies have been noncommittal on its potential eligibility for the WeatherTech Championship.

“It’s too early to say that,” WEC CEO Gerard Neveu said. “You have to wait for the Sebring announcement regarding the exact [technical] details of the cars.

“Depending on the level of performance, you will know if it’s possible or not.

“The stage is open, and the technical guys are working on the details.

“Frankly, a big part of the job is already achieved. We are not starting from a blank page, but this is in the process now. In a few weeks, we will have the exact details.”

IMSA President John Doonan echoed Neveu’s sentiments, stating that the BoP process “will dictate” whether the ACO’s prototype and production-based Hypercar formula would also be eligible in North America.

“We don’t know yet,” Doonan told Sportscar365. “The BoP process will dictate. Today is about, and the goal is, convergence.

“It’s going to be a BoP challenge regardless of how we look at it. So right now the vision is LMDh is able to run in IMSA, WEC and at Le Mans.”

Neveu stressed that “nothing has changed” on the Hypercar’s eligibility in WEC, which was announced last June and will run through 2026.

Both Toyota and Aston Martin are in the process of building cars to those regulations, which will debut in the 2020-21 WEC season.

“We have extended the stage,” Neveu said. “Now you will have more possibilities to join these top categories, so nothing is changing.

“These people (LM Hypercar manufacturers) have been already informed about LMDh. We spoke with them before and they will communicate themselves.

“The return we have is that they are very happy about the fact that it has provided the chance to have a better grid with more competitors and o make a better story.”

Neveu said he personally hopes measures could be put into place to allow the likes of Toyota and Aston Martin compete in IMSA’s blue-ribboned events such as the Rolex 24 at Daytona and Twelve Hours of Sebring.

“Imagine the Toyota… can you imagine that they would be able to race on this side of the ocean for this biggest event like Sebring or Daytona? Let’s see what’s possible,” he said.

“It’s too early to answer this question. We have to finalize first all the technical definitions, then we will know exactly what is the performance level, what it is possible to do.”

Toyota, Aston Martin React to LMDh News

Both Toyota and Aston Martin have acknowledged Friday’s news although await further details on how the integration process will unfold between the different platforms.

“Aston Martin Racing is pleased to note that the future of sports car racing’s top class has been secured and that the FIA, the ACO and IMSA have been able to work together to find a common path,” a statement from the British manufacturer read.

“We await further details of the new Hypercar/LMDh class with interest and look forward to working closely with all parties to ensure that the Hypercar vision retains its proper position within global sports car competition.”

Toyota, meanwhile, has indicated its desire to continue with bespoke hybrid technology, something LMDh will not feature with a spec hybrid powertrain planned.

“We want the possibility to improve our road-relevant hybrid technology in WEC and we welcome the chance to test our technology against even more manufacturers,”

“We are sure this will create even more excitement for endurance fans in the new Le Mans Hypercar era.”
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Post by erwin greven » 7 months ago

LMDh “Ticks a Lot of Boxes” for Audi

Audi expresses interest in LMDh; would not serve as replacement to DTM…

LMDh “ticks a lot of boxes” for Audi, although customer racing boss Chris Reinke stressed that it’s “too early to say” whether the German manufacturer would actively evaluate such a program.

Announced last month, the new ACO-IMSA joint prototype platform has attracted interest from numerous manufacturers, including several brands within the Volkswagen Group. For Audi, which exited LMP1 competition in 2016, a return to top-level prototype racing would rekindle one of the most successful dynasties in modern-day sports car racing.

Reinke, who headed Audi’s LMP1 program until taking up a job as Head of customer racing in early 2016, said a return would hinge on a number of factors.

“At the moment it’s too early to say,” Reinke told Sportscar365. “We’ll for sure look into it and are interested. “It’s more than just an announcement that these two regulations will merge. I think it was a realization of what we’ve dreamed of, with future technology, is promoted in endurance racing. “What we have seen in the last era at Le Mans, that these days are over. “Future technologies for road cars these days are hard to promote or to develop in endurance racing. “Therefore I think it was a tremendous and important step that regulations have been confirmed that are more budget-driven.”

Reinke said the decision for a mandatory spec hybrid system, which has still yet to be detailed, would be Audi’s “main topic” along with the possibility of the platform working for customer racing.

“Obviously how Audi approaches it, electric drivetrains is the main topic for us,” he said. “We have that in Formula E but in a sprint format. So we still follow to play our DNA in motorsport but not in endurance racing at the moment. “Because of the hybrid aspect, it’s the technology of the here and now. It’s something we cannot position in other categories in our portfolio. “Therefore it is a unique formula that we have accessible at the moment and that makes it interesting. “If there might be a possibility to build a customer racing platform out of it — I do have my doubts at the moment — for sure we’ll have a look into it. “It is intercontinental and includes a hybrid and will be accepted by many brands. “It will include going for very dominant titles: Daytona, Le Mans, overall wins. Therefore it ticks a lot of boxes of interest. “If that is enough to be interesting for Audi, it [remains] to be seen but we won’t leave any niche unexplored.”


LMDh Won’t Be Replacement for DTM

Reinke said that a potential LMDh program for Audi wouldn’t serve as a replacement for DTM, as the German touring car series, which faces an uncertain future due to the withdrawal of R-Motorsport’s Aston Martins, caters to a specific market.

“The strategy of Audi never was that if something gets dropped we need to have to keep the people busy,” Reinke said. “It needs to have a logical scope. “The existence of DTM, that will stop us considering LMDh… It is without influence. “The scope of DTM is to go head-to-head in our home country against our main rivals on the road, which is BMW, before Mercedes and Aston Martin. “That’s the scope there and that would never be the scope for LMDh.”
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Post by erwin greven » 7 months ago

Peugeot WEC Programme At “Full Speed” Despite Rebellion Withdrawal

Rebellion withdrawal does not change Peugeot's programme
See also: this topic

In the wake of Rebellion’s shock announcement that it will be withdrawing from all sporting activities after the 2020 Le Mans 24 Hours, Peugeot Sport has confirmed on social media that its forthcoming 2022 FIA WEC programme is still set to go ahead with partner company TOTAL.

Rebellion Racing announced last year that it was partnering with Peugeot for its WEC programme, with PSA Motorsport head Jean-Marc Finot stating that Rebellion and Peugeot’s roles would be “divided” as part of the formation of a “single entity working out of Versailles-Satory”.

But this morning’s news from the Swiss watch company that it would be pulling out of motorsport after Le Mans this year, revealed that the partnership between it and Peugeot is no more.

“We are currently in the early stages of building up our technical project & we acknowledge Rebellion’s decision that appoints us in a direction to modify the configuration of our operational system by 2022,” the statement reads. “Their decision to withdraw does not change Peugeot’s programme in the FIA WEC.

“We continue working with enthusiasm in a configuration refocused with our partner TOTAL to design a WEC race car that will be a source of pride for Peugeot and that will be perfectly aligned with its energetic transition.”

Peugeot CEO Jean-Philippe Imperato also responded to the news tweeted: “Full speed with TOTAL for our FIA WEC participation in 2022 with an electrified racing car!”
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Post by erwin greven » 7 months ago

Aston Martin set to cancel Hypercar program

A major blow has been dealt to the ACO and FIA World Endurance Championship’s plans with the cancellation of Aston Martin Racing’s Hypercar program utilizing its new Valkyrie road car.

RACER has learned a formal announcement is imminent. Reached Monday, a brand representative declined to comment on the topic.

Termination of the racing project for the 6.5-liter V12-powered machine comes on the heels of a major investment into the financially beleaguered British auto manufacturer led by Canadian Lawrence Stroll, who owns the Racing Point Formula 1 team, and will become Aston Martin’s executive chairman along with aligning the company with his F1 team in 2021.

Factory-based racing programs involving Multimatic, which builds the car on behalf of Aston Martin, and R-Motorsport, which campaigned an Aston Martin DTM entry alongside GT3 programs using the brand’s Vantage model, were expected to enter a total of four cars to open the September 2020-June 2021 FIA WEC season.

Aston Martin’s withdrawal from the new FIA WEC Hypercar class, which is set to debut in September, also places exceptional pressure on the ACO and FIA. It leaves Japanese auto brand Toyota as the only known manufacturer ready to answer the bell and go racing when the Hypercar formula debuts at Silverstone. Small American auto manufacturer Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus intends to have its SCG 007 Hypercar ready to race in 2021, and the German ByKolles outfit, which announced it would build a Hypercar, has yet to demonstrate its words have resulted in the design or creation of something real.

Last week, France’s Peugeot reconfirmed its intention to join the new top class of endurance racing in 2022 after its project partner Rebellion Racing revealed its plans to withdraw from the sport after June’s 24 Hours of Le Mans. Although Peugeot has not officially stated whether it would build a car to the Hypercar rules since regulatory convergence was achieved between the ACO and IMSA, it’s believed the Le Mans-winning company will follow IMSA’s new-for-2022 LMDh regulations.

Nonetheless, barring the surprise appearance of a new Hypercar brand to compete alongside Toyota later this year, the formula will have a single brand in position with two cars to usher in the ACO/WEC’s new post-LMP1 era. Whether the Aston Martin news will force the ACO/WEC to reconsider its class structure in the early days of Hypercar, or opt to retain its current LMP1 structure where Toyota’s hybrid prototypes race for overall honors against non-hybrid privateers, is currently unknown.

The collapse of Aston Martin’s Valkyrie Hypercar racing effect also raises questions on the formula’s viability when convergence takes place to start the 2021-2022 WEC season, and at the onset of IMSA’s 2022 WeatherTech SportsCar championship, where Hypercars and LMDhs are meant to race together in a unified class. With a dearth of Hypercars to fill the grid, and an uptick in the number of LMDh (DPi 2.0) manufacturers anticipated for 2022, sustainability could be a significant concern for those brands which side with Hypercar regulations.

Revealed in January of 2019, Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer said of the Valkyrie, “We have always said that we would one day bring Aston Martin back to Le Mans with the intention of going for the outright win when the time was right — now is that time. David Brown came here in 1959, with a car and a team of drivers capable of winning. We intend to do the same in 2021.

“The Aston Martin Valkyrie is primed for such a challenge and sits perfectly within the ACO’s new Hypercar rule framework. Bringing to bear all of our previous experience and knowledge of competing at the top levels of motorsport, we embark on this most ambitious project with the necessary ingredients for success.”
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Post by Cheeveer » 7 months ago

Never gonna buy an Aston...
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Post by Everso Biggyballies » 7 months ago

erwin greven wrote:
7 months ago
Aston Martin set to cancel Hypercar program

A major blow has been dealt to the ACO and FIA World Endurance Championship’s plans with the cancellation of Aston Martin Racing’s Hypercar program utilizing its new Valkyrie road car.

<snip>

Revealed in January of 2019, Aston Martin CEO Andy Palmer said of the Valkyrie, “We have always said that we would one day bring Aston Martin back to Le Mans with the intention of going for the outright win when the time was right — now is that time. David Brown came here in 1959, with a car and a team of drivers capable of winning. We intend to do the same in 2021.

“The Aston Martin Valkyrie is primed for such a challenge and sits perfectly within the ACO’s new Hypercar rule framework. Bringing to bear all of our previous experience and knowledge of competing at the top levels of motorsport, we embark on this most ambitious project with the necessary ingredients for success.”
Disappointing, particularly after the build up AM themselves gave it in terms of so perfectly suited etc.

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Post by erwin greven » 7 months ago

DAGYS: Aston’s Failed Promise Led to Hypercar, Not Global DPi

John Dagys’ take on Aston’s news and how it impacted landscape of top-class regs…

Aston Martin’s “postponement” of its Valkyrie Le Mans Hypercar program, confirmed on Wednesday morning, has become the latest development in the ongoing saga that has seen more announcements and changes to sets of technical regulations than ever before in a 30-month span of top-level sports car racing.
And if for not one failed promise made eight months ago by a manufacturer, global prototype convergence could have already become a reality.

Turn the clocks back to May 2019, a time when the FIA and ACO had not yet received formal commitments from any manufacturer to its ever-evolving Le Mans Hypercar platform.

Initially announced at Le Mans in 2018, the formula had gone through several overhauls in the months that followed, including the allowance of production-based hypercars, per the specific request of Aston Martin, which had been eyeing up an entry with its Valkyrie.
While Toyota had remained firm on its commitment to LMH, a platform to showcase its hybrid technology, the FIA and ACO needed at least one other manufacturer in order to officially green-light the platform for the 2020-21 FIA World Endurance Championship season.

That manufacturer was Aston Martin, which at Le Mans, had finally committed to its road-based Valkyrie concept, although offered few details on the program, despite backhand knowledge that a deal had just been struck with the production car’s chassis builder, Multimatic, to spearhead the race project.

The last-minute commitment for a second major OEM to LMH resulted in the FIA and ACO not resorting to ‘Plan B’ which WEC CEO Gerard Neveu nondescriptly mentioned during a media roundtable at Sebring three months earlier.

That ‘Plan B’, Sportscar365 understands, would have been the full integration of DPi machinery and doing away with Hypercar altogether.

At least one major manufacturer representative walking away from the ACO’s press conference that Friday was left shocked at the news that a global DPi platform would not be adopted.

The news ultimately led to that manufacturer pulling the plug on a planned DPi 1.0 program that was set to debut in the 2020 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season as a precursor for a commitment to the next-gen global regulations.

In the months after Toyota and Aston’s announcement there was little to no news of any additional LMH entrants, besides planned privateer efforts from Glickenhaus and ByKolles, prior to Peugeot announcing in November plans to enter the WEC’s top class, but only in 2022.

The lack of interest in LMH and continued desire for a common platform with IMSA led to reignited talks between the two sports car racing super powers through the summer, which ultimately culminated with last month’s historic ACO-IMSA joint LMDh platform announcement.

LMDh now joins LMH in what’s set to be a complicated road ahead for the FIA, ACO and IMSA technical departments to balance the three distinctly different platforms (LMH prototype, LMH road car and LMDh) together.

Toyota has since spent tens of millions of Euros developing an LMH on the basis of having factory competition, which it has lacked in the last two WEC seasons, while niche automaker Glickenhaus and LMP1 constructor ByKolles have moved ahead with plans to create their own LMH cars for the top class.

Peugeot, which had initially announced an LMH, is now re-evaluating whether it will go to the more cost-effective LMDh route instead.

Despite an encouraging level of early interest from manufacturers in LMDh, it’s left the state of top-level sports car racing in uncertainty yet again, which could have been completely averted had Aston not committed to Hypercar in June, which it has since backtracked on.

While the official reason for Aston’s “postponement” is due to the uncertainties of the regulations around the formation of LMDh, the real story lies behind the British manufacturer’s financial rescue deal orchestrated by Lawrence Stroll, who will be taking the brand back to Formula 1 as a full factory team in 2021.

The move, which sees Stroll become the company’s executive chairman, has reportedly caused friction within Red Bull Racing, which currently carries Aston Martin sponsorship on its F1 cars, and with sister company Red Bull Advanced Technologies, which spearheads the Valkyrie road car program.

It has all led to an unfortunate scenario for sports car racing fans that will likely now see another season of Toyota running unopposed, at least with no factory competition, in the WEC and with a brand-new car that as of just one month ago, was the only platform to race in the top class at Le Mans.

While the ACO has reaffirmed its commitment to LMH, what will happen if Peugeot ends up going to LMDh, as expected, leaving Toyota as the sole factory entrant yet again?

In a perfect world, every manufacturer would be under a single platform.

The shocking revelation is that we nearly had this eight months ago and, arguably, the sports car racing world would have been in a much more stable state than the fragmentation we face right now.

The views and opinions expressed on this web site are solely those of the original authors and other contributors. These views and opinions do not represent those of Sportscar365.com, John Dagys Media, LLC and/or any/all contributors to this site.
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Post by erwin greven » 7 months ago

PRUETT: With Aston out, what next for Hypercar?

It’s hard to have a party when most of your guests decline the invites, tell you they won’t be able to show up until a year or two after the party begins, or accept the invitation and then cancel at a later date.

The party planners at the ACO and FIA World Endurance Championship were hit with the latter scenario this week when Aston Martin, one of the two manufacturers that was critical to the launch of its upcoming Hypercar formula, announced it will not be turning up to the festivities with its Valkyrie.

At present, only Toyota remains to represent Hypercar in September at the onset of the 2020-2021 WEC season, and based on an update from the brand following Aston Martin’s news, Toyota’s future participation in Hypercar has been called into question.

The British marque engaged in some fictional writing where it blamed the recent prototype rules convergence agreement, made between the ACO and IMSA, as the reason for ‘pausing’ the Valkyrie Hypercar program. Let’s be clear: There is no pause, and convergence had nothing to do with its withdrawal. Finances, and a lack thereof, is why Aston Martin binned its return to prototype racing. To suggest otherwise is nonsensical. A safety net for Aston Martin has since been provided by investors, but the costly Hypercar racing effort was immediately targeted as a priority to axe.

Blaming convergence drew the ire of the ACO and WEC, which led to a predictably passionate response from its leaders, who fired back at the brand – which competes in its GT categories – with a more accurate version of the unfortunate situation.

“For a few months now, we have all been aware of the economic difficulties of Aston Martin, and the subsequent questions raised about its future motorsport programs, namely endurance racing and F1, as well as its strategic path forward,” said ACO president Pierre Fillon, who runs the 24 Hours of Le Mans. “Contextual developments linked to economic and industrial parameters can always occur for a manufacturer during the implementation of projects.”

Put simply, when the Valkyrie Hypercar program was announced in January of 2019, Aston Martin wasn’t on the brink of collapse, then it was, then its Hypercar plans fell silent, then the Hypercar withdrawal that many anticipated was finally confirmed.

There’s a good reason for Aston Martin’s creative explanation for its Hypercar exit: in times of weakness, the last thing a business needs to do is highlight or confirm its troubles in print, and by casting aspersions at the newly-unified prototype convergence plans, the financial difficulties were ignored altogether.

The Aston Martin-inspired anger isn’t centered on the deletion of the Valkyrie program; it’s from the domino effect the decision has caused by destabilizing the Hypercar formula as a whole.

Reasonings aside, the end result is dire for the ACO and WEC, which are just seven months away from their intended start of the Hypercar era. Aston Martin and Toyota were expected to have as many as six total cars – four from Aston – on the grid at Silverstone.

In light of this week’s development, the ACO and WEC would be silly to ignore their unpleasant reality: You can’t start a new formula with one manufacturer and two cars. The WEC’s LMP1 class has limped along since Porsche left after winning Le Mans in 2017, and while a handful of privateer teams have bolstered the class with non-hybrid cars facing Toyota’s fearsome TS050 Hybrid, this has occurred on the downhill side of the once-popular class. Rebooting LMP1 with a brand-new Hypercar formula, with nothing more than a single carryover manufacturer, would make the French sanctioning bodies look weak and misguided.

And depending on how the tea leaves are read, the ACO and WEC could have zero manufacturers to rely on at Silverstone.

Toyota, which has been steadfast in its support for Hypercar, and built a new model that’s been testing in preparation for September’s debut, blinked for the first time. After learning it would go solo and no longer have Valkyries to fight, what was once written in stone for Toyota’s Hypercar program has apparently changed from a guarantee to TBD.

“We are aware of Aston Martin’s announcement and we regret their decision,” a Toyota representative told RACER. “Aston Martin’s circumstances are very different from our own, so we will consider the situation and confirm our position in due course.”

Provided Toyota sticks with Hypercar, the ACO and WEC would have the option to plod forward and introduce the formula later this year. Included in their response to Aston Martin, WEC CEO Gerard Neveu said as much.

“This is not good news for the WEC in the short term, but it doesn’t change our mid- and long-term plans,” he offered. “We still have Toyota and Peugeot plus other entrants who have expressed an interest for Le Mans Hypercar and, with the arrival of LMDh, we will welcome many new manufacturers. Of course, it would be better if Aston Martin was present as well, but it’s important that we have as wide a range of manufacturers as possible and that is the strategic plan we are working on for the future.”

Neveu’s mention of Peugeot, which confirmed plans to make its prototype return in 2022, is an interesting one to consider.

Going back to the early stages of the previous decade, Peugeot announced it would cancel its 908 HDi FAP LMP1 program ahead of new WEC series launch. Toyota signaled its intent to join the WEC, but one year later, and in reaction to Peugeot’s surprising news, the ACO and WEC implored Toyota to move up its start date to give the WEC two manufacturers – competition for Audi’s LMP1 effort – so it could save face.

Toyota, with its TS030 chassis already in development, obliged and rushed it into service a year early to help the ACO and WEC. Funnily enough, the timing is perfect for Peugeot to repay the favor and mash the throttle on getting a Hypercar onto the grid seven months from now to race with Toyota and save Hypercar. The only problem, however, is Peugeot does not have a Hypercar designed or built to expedite. And seven months would not be enough time to start the process, manufacture a prototype, go testing, and produce a few cars by September.

Toyota helped the sanctioning bodies almost a decade ago because it could. Peugeot has words and ambitions, but nothing tangible to offer that would keep the ACO and WEC, and Toyota, from highlighting Hypercar’s failure to properly launch.

Making matters worse in its combined response, the ACO and WEC did not mention Connecticut’s Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus, the one Hypercar manufacturer that is moving forward with a road car-based entry in the wake of Aston Martin cancelling its road-based Valkyrie factory effort. Jim Glickenhaus, whose is preparing to reveal a new engine supplier and renowned wind tunnel secured to develop the aerodynamics of its SCG 007 model, was omitted from the release. It didn’t please the New Yorker.

Like Peugeot and Aston Martin, SCG will not be at Silverstone, but Glickenhaus maintains the 007 is on course to turn its first laps of testing in September ahead of a February 2021 WEC Hypercar race debut at the South African Kyalami circuit.

With Aston Martin out, Toyota reevaluating its Hypercar plans, SCG planning to start testing at the same time Hypercar was meant to take its first green flag, and Peugeot still two years out, it’s hard to see how the ACO and WEC stick to their guns.

Pushing Hypercar back to September of 2021 seems like a more reasonable option that would give SCG time to be ready for a full-season campaign, Peugeot the time to bring its entry forward, and allow Toyota – and the LMP1 privateers – to continue using the cars they race in the WEC today. Grandfathered LMP1s were always going to be permitted during the 2020-2021 season, so there’s no real adjustment required on that front.

And if we read the tea leaves another way, maybe the ACO and WEC should assess the formula’s apparent collapse and take the hint that Hypercar isn’t the correct path to follow.

Although, as I wrote in January, it was clear the ACO/WEC and IMSA needed to pick DPi 2.0 (now known as LMDh) as the single formula to use when they converge, the formula I am—or was—most excited to see was Hypercar. And specifically, the voice-of-God Aston Martin V12 engine singing from inside its amazing space ship on wheels.

No disrespect to Toyota or SCG, but when I thought of Hypercar as a formula and all of the unique offerings it would bring to differentiate itself from DPis and LMP1s, the Valkyrie was that vision. Perfect looks, coupled with perfect sounds, ushering in a new era of endurance racing. And now that’s gone, along with most of my enthusiasm for Hypercar.

A month ago, we were doing happy dances with convergence being signed into existence by the French and American endurance racing organizations. And now, we’ve fallen back to that familiar place where sports car racing’s problems seem to outweigh the positives. Peugeot’s already rumored to be favoring IMSA’s cost-effective LMDh rules over Hypercar. All it takes is for Toyota to transform its plans into an LMDh campaign, and the door closes on Hypercar.

Just as you can’t start a new formula with one manufacturer and two cars, it’s especially challenging when the sums are zero and zero.

Will the ACO and WEC step up and make the tough call on their own, or let their manufacturers do it for them? I don’t envy Fillon and Neveu, or the hard decisions ahead that await France’s custodians of the sport.
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Post by erwin greven » 7 months ago

Toyota Remains Committed to Le Mans Hypercar Program

Toyota to continue development of Le Mans Hypercar despite Aston news…

Toyota has reaffirmed its commitment to the Le Mans Hypercar class in the wake of the postponement of Aston Martin’s planned entry into the top class of the FIA World Endurance Championship.

The Japanese manufacturer issued a statement on Wednesday indicating it would ‘consider and confirm’ its position on the situation, with Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Pascal Vasselon confirming Friday at Circuit of The Americas that its program will continue as planned.

“There is little we can do about Aston Martin so we have to accept the news,” Vasselon said. “For us, at the moment, it doesn’t change anything except that the picture of next season has changed.

“Now we are looking to who will be present on the grid. There is little more we can say.

“Our car, fortunately, most of the parts are in production so there is absolutely no way back.”

Vasselon said a switch to the newly announced joint ACO-IMSA LMDh formula, which is set to debut in the 2021-22 season was “not considered” as it doesn’t correspond to Toyota’s objective in endurance racing.

“We’re racing to develop technology and to prove technology in racing,” he said.

“It’s true that for us it’s not interesting to purchase a LMP2 chassis and an off-the-shelf hybrid system. This is not what we’re looking for. This is not what we’re asked to do.

“We fully understand this approach is the right one for other manufacturers. But for us, definitely not, because our mandate is to develop technology in racing and to prove technology in racing.”

Development of the GR Super Sport-based LMH car has been ongoing, with an on-track debut still slated for July.

Toyota’s continued commitment to LMH as the only major OEM effectively keeps the platform alive, which is expected to see both Toyota and ByKolles Racing on the grid in September’s 2020-21 season-opening round at Silverstone with prototype-based hypercars.

Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus, the third and currently only other planned LMH entrant, is targeting to make a mid-season debut with its SCG 007, which like ByKolles, is also expected to be a prototype-based non-hybrid hypercar.

LMH/LMDh BoP “Cannot Be” Politically Driven

Vasselon said he doesn’t see how Toyota could be disadvantaged as potentially being the only major OEM with a LMH car, once a Balance of Performance system is achieved between the different platforms.

“At the moment we are at crossroads,” Vasselon said. “There are various way forwards. We want to believe there’s several ways forward but there are so many different cases that we cannot have an opinion on every single case.

“We’re just going for the next step, which for us is to finish our car, because whatever Aston does we want to be on the grid in September.

“Then we have the convergence with IMSA and LMH. I’m sure we will be involved at some point in this convergence and we will what we can or cannot do to help this convergence.

Vasselon said the addition of LMDh is “not a big change” to what was previously agreed upon as it effectively expands the top category’s eligibility from two to three different platforms.

“The ACO claims that this Balance of Performance that is planned is the best ever,” he said. “We cannot suspect there will be an in-balance.

“By principle. the Balance of Performance which is coming cannot be politically driven.

“It is presented as a scientific process where there is normally no way to politically drive it.”
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Post by erwin greven » 7 months ago

LMDh “Damaged” Customer Aston LMH Financial Model

Customer Valkyrie LMH cars would have formed “significant part” of project funding…

Image

The introduction of the LMDh platform has “damaged” Aston Martin’s financial conditions around its planned Valkyrie Le Mans Hypercar program according to Aston Martin Racing president David King.

The British manufacturer, which was due to debut the Multimatic-developed V12-powered production-based hypercar in the 2020-21 FIA World Endurance Championship season, halted work on the factory effort “a few weeks ago” when it became apparent customers would likely flock to the joint ACO-IMSA LMDh model instead.

Speaking to assembled media Saturday at Circuit of The Americas, site of this weekend’s WEC race, King explained that the selling of customer Valkyrie LMH cars was a “significant part” of the funding needed for the overall program.

He said “some facts” changed since Aston Martin’s initial commitment to the platform last June.

“We made a genuine commitment last year to bring Valkyrie into WEC,” King said.

“That’s a big thing for any company to commit to a major motorsport program like that; it’s a big investment and there’s always an element of risk in it.

“Of course we had to get a board approval for that last year.

“That board approval is based on an assumption that more sports car brands would come into hypercars and the class would flourish, maybe not in Year 1 but in Year 2 and we’d see a golden era of top-end sports car racing.”

King explained there was a “financial condition” around the approval of the program that would have seen Aston Martin recover some of its investment of the Valkyrie LMH cars by the third season through customer sales.

He wouldn’t say the number of customer race cars that would have needed to be sold.

Sportscar365 understands that R-Motorsport was among the targeted customers, although the Swiss operation recently pulled the plug on its Aston Martin DTM program.

“What we saw since that point, there wasn’t the new entrants, the commitments from other manufacturers that we were all hoping for, into hypercars,” King said.

“I think that meant the ACO and WEC had to pragmatically look at some backup options.

“The IMSA thing has been bubbling for some time and it came to a point where they announced in Daytona the intention for the IMSA convergence with the LMDh cars and that changed things for us.

“We think the market for customer race cars, for us, is damaged by that because a racing Valkyrie is an expensive car.

“It comes from a road car that costs £2.5 million ($3.2 million USD).

“If you are a private team and are set up to race Valkyries to win Le Mans and win WEC, you’re going to be spending many millions to buy your two cars to to get set up, and a very expensive program to run.

“Now those private teams will be able to, based on what we think other competitors will be able to do, will be able to buy premium-branded LMDh cars that are much cheaper to buy and run.

“We don’t think there’s a customer market that was there originally. We don’t know that for sure and we need some time to evaluate it.

“But it changes the conditions on which we got the project approved, so we have to take a pause and decide whether we should carry on with that or look at LMDh or look at staying with GTs.

“I don’t know what the outcome of that is going to be.”

King said the decision was not influenced with Lawrence Stroll’s recent £500 million ($656 million) investment into the company that will see the Racing Point F1 team owner become Aston Martin’s executive chairman.

“It’s got nothing to do with Lawrence Stroll coming in; it’s got nothing to do with the fact that we’ve had a tougher-than-expected financial year,” King said.

“I understand the disappointment it’s caused in the sport but there’s really nothing more behind it.”

King: “We Were About to Build a Car”

While Aston Martin had been silent on the status of the program for months since its initial announcement at Le Mans in June 2019, King said the company and its partners had been working “flat out” on the race car, which was due to hit the track in the spring.

“We’ve worked flat out since we announced in June last year to when we turned the gas off a couple of weeks ago,” he said.

“We were a long way advanced with the car.

“It would have had to run in the next couple of months to meet the start of next season. We were about to build a car.”

King said a deadline has not been established on a decision to potentially resume development for the LMH program or evaluate alternative options, which includes LMDh.

He confirmed Aston Martin will “probably” now be present at the IMSA-ACO steering committee meetings, with the next meeting scheduled for Tuesday in Daytona.
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Post by erwin greven » 7 months ago

Note the reply of James Glickenhaus on Aston Martin:
James Glickenhaus wrote:Boo Hoo. I feel sorry for Those who bought Aston at The IPO price. I feel the Salaries taken by Aston Execs for abominable performance is obscene. They should do the honorable thing, resign and return the money to the company. I Am disgusted by their whining that got the ACO to graciously change the rules to accommodate Astons engine blowing up our Alfa Engines and causing Toyota to have to spend more money changing theirs and then saying Bye Bye. Now they are blaming convergence. Pathetic. They should Look in the Mirror If they really want to see who to blame. Their infantile behavior has pushed us back and cost us money but unlike Aston; Toyota, By Kolles and us will be there next season with great and interesting cars and we will race hard and honorably. Some people piss their pants at the gates of hell while some of us don't back down.
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Post by erwin greven » 4 months ago

fiawec.com wrote:LMDh draft technical regulations released

Establishes solid foundation for convergence and long-term future of global sportscar racing.

The first details of the joint draft technical regulations for Le Mans Daytona “h” (LMDh), which will be eligible for the top category of international sports car racing in both the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, were released last week to interested automotive manufacturers and chassis constructors.

The comprehensive and detailed regulations are the result of many months of collaborative work by the technical departments of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) and the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA), together with more than a dozen automotive manufacturers and the four nominated chassis constructors (Dallara, Ligier, Multimatic and Oreca).

Following a joint press conference at Daytona International Speedway in January announcing plans for convergence, a full detailed public presentation of the technical regulations was originally intended to be held in March at Sebring, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the meantime, the presentation was made to interested automotive manufacturers and chassis constructors last week using WebEx remote group presentation software technology.

The global description of the LMDh platform will correspond to the following points:
  • LMDh is a common car created by ACO-IMSA and able to race in both WEC and IMSA
  • LMDh based on a cost-capped car and will have the same spine (spine = complete car without bodywork, engine, hybrid) as the next generation of Le Mans Prototype 2 (LMP2)
  • Only mainstream automotive manufacturers (associated with one of the four chassis constructors) can homologate a LMDh car
The cars will feature:
  • A manufacturer branded and stylized bodywork
  • A manufacturer branded engine
  • A common single source rear wheel drive hybrid system
  • A minimum homologation period of five (5) years
The basis of the joint regulations to govern the new LMDh category is comprised of the following points:
  • Minimum car weight at 1030 kg
  • 500 kW peak of combined power (sum of power resulting from internal combustion engine (ICE) and hybrid system)
  • One bodywork package with identical aerodynamic performance
  • Single tire supplier (i.e. Michelin)
  • Global BOP to harmonize the overall performance of the LMDh and LMH cars
It is intended that the top category of competition for the WEC, which has the 24 Hours of Le Mans as its cornerstone event, will integrate Le Mans Daytona h with Le Mans Hypercar race cars to ensure convergence leads to similar car performance parameters for both technical rule sets. Meanwhile, IMSA, with the Rolex 24 At Daytona as its premier event, will welcome LMDh cars while being open to LMH participation from mainstream automotive manufacturers once performance at IMSA circuits can be further validated.

The introduction of LMDh race cars continues to be targeted in the 2022 racing season for both the ACO and IMSA. However, this timeline will clearly need to be further validated in partnership with the automotive manufacturers, chassis constructors and key suppliers in light of the COVID-19 pandemic to determine if a delayed introduction becomes necessary.

Final regulations are anticipated to be released on or before the 24 Hours of Le Mans in September 2020.

Pierre Fillon, President of the ACO: "Officially launched in Daytona in January, the ACO-IMSA convergence is now entering an important phase in its implementation. We are unveiling the basic technical details of this new LMDh category which will see the same car being allowed to race in the FIA World Endurance Championship and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, without any modification necessary to the car. The dream of many manufacturers is finally coming true. Le Mans Daytona h and Le Mans Hypercar will embody the top category of endurance racing. This is a historic and decisive moment for the future of our discipline. "

Ed Bennett, IMSA CEO: “We have reached another key milestone with the release of our draft technical regulations for LMDh. There is still more work to be done, but the positive spirit of collaboration between the ACO and IMSA, as well as our four constructors and many interested manufacturers has been fantastic and truly unprecedented. These regulations provide a roadmap for manufacturers and constructors to embark on the design process for new LMDh race cars that will revolutionize the top category of premier sports car racing around the globe.”

Gérard Neveu, CEO of the FIA World Endurance Championship: “Since the coronavirus pandemic, the way in which motorsport will be thought about in the future has undoubtedly been affected. Our strategy for LMDh is to try to find the best answer to manufacturers’ technical and competitive wishes, as well as offering them the greatest global visibility for their brands. The top category of competition will now include low cost, high performing cars which respond to the needs of both our respective championships.”

John Doonan, IMSA President: “As these technical regulations will attest, LMDh is a logical and appropriate next step to follow the successful Daytona Prototype international (DPi) in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. The LMDh will retain many attributes that led to the success of DPi, but the addition of relevant technologies and the convergence of regulations with the ACO opens the door for more manufacturers to participate in the future. We could not be more proud of the instrumental role our IMSA technical team played alongside their counterparts at the ACO to deliver these regulations.”
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Post by DoubleFart » 4 months ago

Who is going to have the money for this stuff now?
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Post by Cheeveer » 4 months ago

Time will tell. I feel like Le Mans (and the WEC) is having a down-spell at the moment...
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