Thursday, March 16, 2023

The FIa’s Hypercar Era truly Begins

Although the $64k Question is will Toyota continue Dominating this Category?


And although I doubt it was planned. Nevertheless, the FIA World Endurance Championship’s (WEC) for which Racer’s Marshall Pruett enjoys playfully calling the “Weckity WEC!” Kicks off it’s inaugural Le Mans Hypercar (LMH) race, the 1,000 Miles of Sebring on St Patty’s Day no less.


As the LMH Class replaces the “Space Age” LMP1 category and is designed to see the convergence of the IMSA’s Le Mans Daytona Hybrid (LMDH( GTP Class compete against the LMH Hypercars, for which we’ll get to finally see our first look of the Porsche 963 and Cadillac V-LMDH racing against the likes of Ferrari, Glickenhaus, Peugeot, Toyota and Vanwall.


And I feel certain I’ve already scribbled ‘bout it Here upon No Fenders, but will try briefly “Walking” thru it once more. Especially since I’m still a ‘lil Fuzzy upon All of the various rules differences.


On the IMSA GTP side, for which the Porsche 963 and Cadillac V-LMDH racecars come from, since Alpine, BMW and Lamborghini, and certainly Acura all won’t compete in the WEC until 2024. The LMP2 derived chassis from four Homologated Manufacturers utilize the single Spec “Hybrid” Energy Recovery System (ERS) supplied by Xtrac, Bosch and Williams Advanced Engineering.


The ERS is capped at a maximum 50Bhp driving the Rear wheels Only, for which I may have previously incorrectly noted. And requires what’s now becoming de riggour in Motorsports, i.e.; Brake-by-Wire technology to the rear wheels. While the front wheels still utilize modern caliber disc Braking


The ACO/WEC LMH Hypercars are custom built racecars that may incorporate the use of Hybrid power to drive their Front wheels, in conjunction with the Rear wheels. For which I recall previously denoting as All Wheel Drive. (AWD)


While All Chassis are capped at a maximum of 1,030 Kilos in “New Money” as ‘Ol Professor (Steve) Matchett was fond of saying. Or for us Yanks’, in “Old” Money 2,270lbs. Along with a maximum combined power output of 670Bhp total from the Internal combustion Engine (ICE) and ERS/Hybrid system.


Chip Ganassi Racing (CGR) will run it’s lone No. 2 Cadillac V-LMDH WEC entry, with it’s same three drivers that raced in this year’s Rolex 24. And it’s normally aspirated 5.5-litre V-8 is the largest displacement engine racing.


While Porsche Penske Motorsports will field a pair of 4.6-litre Twin turbocharged V-8 963’s, the Nos. 5-6, since Toyota already has the Nos. 7-8 assigned to it.


And if I’m reading the “Tea leaves” correctly, Dane Cameron whose “Day Job” is driving the No. 5 WEC entry will be doing Double duty this weekend? Since I know He’s also listed as the Penske’s IMSA GTP #6 Endurance driver. And Ditto for Michael Kristensen.


Since this weekend features another “Super Sebring” weekend with the 1,000 Miles of Sebring on Friday, and the 12 Hours of Sebring Saturday.

Toyota continues with it’s All conquering GR010 AWD 3.5-litre Twin turbo V-6 Hybrid racecar, with it’s Drivers line-ups unchanged.


And then Thars the car that everybody wishes to see, the brand new Ferrari 499P! For which is running the “same,” similar 3.0-litre Twin turbo “Wide-track” V-6 found in it’s 296 GT3 racecars. Yet it’s mated to a Hybrid system driving it’s Front wheels a la the Toyota and Peugeot entries.


The two car 499P entry will be campaigned by AF Corse, and Arse-sumedly sporting Scarlet colours. With the team selecting the Nos. 50-51 in deference to it being 50 years since la Scuderia’s last official Werks’ Sports Car entry in 1973. When Scuderia Ferrari campaigned it’s highly successful 312 PB.


Peugeot debuted it’s radical 9X8 at last year’s Six Hours of Monza, and is the only Sports Car having elected to go without a traditional rear wing. As the 2.6-litre Twin turbo V-6, the smallest displacement lump’ on the grid racecar generates it’s Downforce from it’s Underbody instead.


As Peugeot will run the Nos. 93-94, and presumably will be Toyota’s biggest challenger, since the Ferrari and others will be needing to get over new car teething issues. A la what the Porsch 963 and BMW M Hybrid V-8 models endured at this January’s Rolex 24.


While the Customer Porsche 963 teams JOTA and Proton Competition will miss at least Sebring, since they’re still awaiting the arrival of their $2.9m racecars…


And then there’s the two Rear Wheel Drive (RWD) Only Non-Hybrid LMH single car entries of Vanwall and Scuderia Glickenhaus. As I’d say that the Vanwall will be getting much Attenzione due to it’s “Mystique” and Driver lineup. The team is owned by the Father-Son duo of Romulus and Dr. Colin Kolles and run out of Kolles German Factory in Greding.


After a long, drawn out process, they’ve successfully won the rights to use the famous Vanwall name, known for it’s formula 1 History. And after being denied entry last year, will campaign their No. 4 Vandervell 680, utilizing a “Spec” Gibson 4.5-litre normally aspirated V-8.


IndyCar Fans should know two thirds of the Drivers line-up, that being Esteban Guerrieri and somebody named Jacques Villeneuve! As Guerrieri was an Indy Lights Standout driving for Sam Schmidt Motorsports who finished Runner-up between 2011-12. Whilst Messer Villeneuve needs No introduction…


The team’s third driver is Frenchman Tom dillmann, whose name I must know from His driving at Le Mans for the former ByKolles Racing Organization. While the newest iteration of Dr. Colin Kolles, of Jordan/Midland/Spyker/Force India and later Hispania/HRT Formula 1 Fame will operate under the Floyd Vanwall Racing Team Banner.


Meanwhile Glickenhaus has Downsized to just a single entry this year. Being it’s same SCG 007 modle,powered by a 3.5-litre Twin turbo V-6, for which the only driver listed when scribblin’ this was Romain Dumas.


Both series run on Michelin tyres, but I believe they’re allowed to utilize three different sets of tyre sizes. One for the IMSA GTP runners. One for the Hybrid LMH Cars, and the widest, stickiest rubber compounds for the Non-Hybrid LMH Chassis? And there’s also rules regulating the LMH Hybrid systems deployment, Mega-Jewels Energy recovery, etc.


Which right Now is Clear as Mud on A Rainy Day!