Monday, September 26, 2022

IMSA GTP: Can Yuhs Taste it?

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.


IMSA GTP Competitors

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 next year.


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. (WEC)


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 963 entry.


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 next year?


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) entry apiece.


Chassis Specifications

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 Distinction.


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…