As we’re inching closer to the Dawning of Sports
Cars future Generation beginning at next January’s 24 Hours of Daytona…
Presumably one of the many “Story lines” of
this weekend’s upcoming Petit le Mans race will be about it being the Daytona
Prototype International (DPi) category’s Swan Song. For which the current DPI
Prototypes Class have raced since their introduction at the 2017 Rolex 24.
And although it’s early days yet, it’s already
reported that we’ll have an 50% increase of Fulltime Competitors next year with
a total of ten Shiny, New IMSA GTP competitors.
And Yes, if that GTP Moniker sounds familiar to
you, that’s because it’s what IMSA used during it’s “golden years” of Prototype
raceing. When the IMSA Camel GTP series brought us some of the best competition
ever with those iconic Porsche 962’s, TWR Jaguar’s, Electramotive Nissan GTP
ZX-T’s and Dan Gurney’s All American Racers (AAR) Eagle Mk III’s before the
series went Defunct at the end of 1993. With the new IMSA Exxon GT World Sports
Car (WSC) series bringing us the Open-top Prototypes such as the iconic Ferrari
333 SP and Riley & Scott Mk III beginning in 1994.
Ultimately there will be a total of four
Porsche 963’s along with a Noah’s Arc two-by-two Congo line of Acura’s, BMW’s
and Cadillac’s, with a total of four IndyCar Teams competing in Sports Cars
El Capitano’, nee Roger Penske will run the Werks’
Porsche Penske Motorsports squad, with two Porsche 963’s apiece contesting the
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and FIA World Endurance Championship.
Porsche’s first customer for it’s nearly three
million 963 ($2.9m) has already been announced as JDC Miller Motorsports. Whilst
we All wait with Baited Breath over who’ll snag the second and last customer
Although due to the world’s never ending nebulous
Supply chain issues, Don’t expect to see all four Porsche 963’s at Daytona next
January, or who knows when these two Customer cars will come “Online?”
Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR) and Action Express
Racing (AXR) will each campaign a single Cadillac entry Stateside, albeit
Ganassi’s ultimately running two Caddy’s a la Penske’s dual Universe’s, ergo
IMSA and WEC.
While I find it interesting that I’ve “seen”
Nary a Peep over whether or not AXR will be running it’s second car with ‘Ol JJ’,
aka Jimmie Johnson and His All Stars in the #48 at the four Endurance events
Longtime BMW entrant Rahal Letterman Lanigan
Racing will campaign the Werks’ BMW M Hybrid V-8 two car entry under the banner
of BMW Team RLL, which see’s the German manufacturers return to top flight
Sports Car Prototype racing since it’s V12 LMR last raced in 2000! While Belgium’s
WRT, a perennial WEC LMP2 Frontrunner will run the BMW M Hybrid V-8 in the WEC
beginning in 2024.
And Meyer Shank Racing and Wayne Taylor Racing
will once again campaign a single Acura ARX-06 Grand Touring Prototype (GTP)
The four manufacturers Chassis are All FIA
World Endurance Championship LMP2 Based Designs, albeit each manufacturer is
allowed to imput unique Styling Designs Ques into their individualchassis for Brand
The Acura ARX-06’s chassis supplier is Oreca
and presumably utilizeds it’s current 3.5-litre V-6 Twin Turbo engine.
Actually it was just divulged during the Acura
ARX-06’s public unveiling at The Quail outing during Monterey’s prestigious
Vintage Car weekend, the new Acura deploys a 2.4-litre 90-degrees V-6 Twin
Turbo unit that will rev to the maximum 10,000RPM limit! And is said to also
incorporate Brake by wire technology.
The BMW M Hybrid V-8’s chassis is built by
Dallara and utilizes a “Clean Sheet” 4.0-litre Twin Turbo v-8 derived from it’s
previous DTM engines.
Cadillac’s GTP Project is also built by Dallara
and is the only competitor utilizing a normally aspirated engine. Although the
5.5-litre V-8 is a brand new engine with DOHC Architecture. Along with what’s All
the Rage now, ergo Flat Plane Crank technology, presumably?
And lastly, Porsche’s 963 is built by Multimatic
and sports a 4.6-litre Twin Turbo V-8.
And it seems like the regulations are still
quite fluid, or that there’s just not a whole lot of up to date information
available? Since I thought that the maximum Horsepower was relegated to 680bhp?
But John Oreovicz IMSA Hybrid 101 article from April claims that Horsepower will
be between 643 and 697bhp, with the Spec Hybrid system developing a peak of
50bhp, for which I thought was being regulated to 40bhp? Or may be I’m
Cornfuzing my numbers with the WEC’s impending regulations?
Although the BMW M Hybrid V-8 claims to produce 477KW
or 640bhp with it’s “ICE,” ergo Internal Combustion Engine Only. And 500KW or
671bhp with ICE and Hybrid combined. So Messer Oreovicz’s info is presumably
more correct than mine? Since Acura also claims the 500KW figure for it’s ARX-06…
Yet Marshall Pruett’s August 29 Racer article
notes that the Acura’s “AR24E” 2.4-litre Twin Turbo V-6 Endurance motor is
meant to have much in common with it’s upcoming IndyCar Hybrid 2.4-liter motor.
And that Acura’s targeting 640bhp output with a Maximum of 680bhp with Motor
and Hybrid systems combined. So I now feel that my “numbers” are more correct
vs. Messer Oreovicz’s. Whilst I’ll save my comments upon the possible Monoblock
Acura lump’ for another day…
But at least we know that All competitors will
be utilizing the Single Spec Hybrid system produced by Xtrac, Bosch and
Williams Advance Engineering. As Xtrac provides the new Gearbox which has to
mate to the four different engine configurations. While bosch is responsible for
the Motor Generator Unit (MGU) and Electronics inside the Gearbox. And Williams
Advance Engineering provides the Battery Pack, All of which drives just the
rear wheels. Whilst I’ll save the other major differences between the IMSA’s
GTP and FIA/ACO’s Le Mans Hypercar (LMH) Rules convergence for a later, rainy day…
Although it’s worth noting that following Petit le Mans, IMSA will Hold a three day test between October 2-5 for the purpose of having All four competitors Ontrack together for the first time! Which I’d Arse-sume is partially in order to gather Data for the forthcoming Dreadded BoP (Balance of Performance) implementation beginning with next year’s 24 Hours of Daytona…