As part of a converging process with the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, the FIA World Endurance Championship will permit the LMDh-powered Hypercars to take on LMH machines in the class.
LMDh is a low-cost entry to the top of sportscar racing. Each car has an LMP2 chassis, and runs a hybrid system which can be supplied by third parties at a fixed cost.
It is an appealing proposition for independent teams who want to race at Le Mans 24 Hours. Porsche already sold four 963s to WEC customers and IMSA customers for its first year in the LMDh program.
However, so far, no manufacturer has been able to agree to provide an LMH vehicle. This car must have a custom chassis and powertrain in accordance with regulations that permit greater technical freedom than LMDh.
Toyota states that it does not plan to release the title-winning GR010 Hybrid to customers at this time, however they believe an independent group will find racing LMH cars very different from LMDh.
Pascal Vasselon, technical director of the Japanese marque, said that it is possible to have a customer group run an LMH vehicle such as the Toyota, Ferrari, or Peugeot.
“If you ask me [if] It’s not our current strategy. It’s possible. LMH could have customer teams.
LMH programmes are “not as expensive” than LMDh programs
Toyota believes that LMH is more expensive than LMDh. This is based on the number of tests performed by Acura, Porsche, BMW, and Cadillac.
Vasting was asked if LMH cars would cost more than LMDh. Vasting replied: “Not much. LMDh cars have been a little more costly than anticipated. It shouldn’t be any different.
“At that moment, you can see the intensity of the testing. [some manufacturers]It’s not a small amount of money, but it is certainly a large one.
It doesn’t matter if you are testing with LMDh, LMH or both.
#7 Porsche Penske Motorsport, Porsche 963, GTP: Mathieu Jaminet, Michael Christensen, Nick Tandy
Richard Dole/Motorsport Images
Porsche has been able to return to endurance racing with the LMDh regulations. The German manufacturer is now planning to join Team Penske in parallel programs in WEC, IMSA and IMSA starting in 2023.
Porsche will provide customer cars for JOTA (WEC), JDC-Miller(IMSA), and Proton Competition, (WEC and IMSA), in the initial year of the LMDh Project. However, those vehicles won’t arrive until April.
Porsche launched the 963 LMDh in January. Since then, it has spent significant resources testing the car both in North America and Europe. This is the first race program of its kind since the 2017 WEC season.
However, the German manufacturer refutes Toyota’s claim about how much it costs to operate an LMDh vehicle versus one that uses LMH.
When asked if LMDh had been more costly than initially thought, Thomas Laudenbach, Porsche’s chief of motorsport, replied Motorsport.com that “No. I would not say so.” Not in general.
An LMDh allows you to have limited freedom, but still has enough freedom that you are able to show off your skills. It’s an excellent compromise between the cost of building your car and freedom.
It is a great idea to keep the Balance of Performance in operation, keeping the boundary conditions and rules in mind. We are transparent with the sanctioning authority.
It has not been more costly than originally anticipated, but I would say “No.”
- Porsche: Porsche Hypercar Hypercar “tech war” not a concern for 963 opportunities
- Cadillac: The code required to drive an LMDh vehicle is difficult
- BMW: Porsche did not gain any advantage during IMSA hybrid testing