After weathering the storm of the post-LMP1 Hybrid boom and bust cycle, and responding with an extensive overhaul of its regulations, the FIA World Endurance Championship enters 2023 poised to reap the benefits. With the new season comes brand new teams and manufacturers, the prospect of more to come in the future, and the promise of another golden era of endurance sports car racing.
The driving force behind this promising new era is the convergence of two different sets of prototype regulations: Le Mans Hypercar (LMH), the LMP1 successor conceived by the FIA and the Automobile Club l’Ouest (ACO), and the new top category of the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA), known as Le Mans Daytona hybrid (LMDh). LMH is an open formula for major auto makers and privateer constructors to build their own chassis, engines and – if they choose – their own hybrid systems. LMDh allows manufacturers to build around customer LMP2 chassis “spines” with their own uniquely-styled bodywork and their own powertrains, all equipped with a control hybrid system.
In theory, the implementation of a ‘Balance of Performance’ system will allow these two similar yet unique prototype platforms to race against one another on equal terms at the biggest endurance races in the world: The Daytona 24 Hours, the Sebring 12 Hours, and of course, the 24 Hours of Le Mans. This freedom of choice has genuinely piqued the interest of major manufacturers to go racing on their own terms. Five manufacturer teams will compete in the top class of the WEC, beginning this Friday with the 1,000 Miles of Sebring.
2: Cadillac V-Series.R – Earl Bamber, Alex Lynn, Richard Westbrook
Cadillac, General Motors’ premium luxury label, enjoyed terrific success during the DPi (Daytona Prototype International) era of IMSA’s premier category of prototype racing from 2017 to 2022. Their new V-Series.R appears to be a worthy successor to the decorated DPi-V.R. Built by Italian constructor Dallara around their LMP2 chassis base, the V-Series.R has a purpose-built, 5.5 litre naturally-aspirated V8 engine coupled to the spec LMDh battery and MGU components. It has an imposing appearance and a thunderously loud engine note typical of a large displacement American muscle car.
Chip Ganassi Racing runs this team under the Cadillac Racing banner, with one full-time entry in WEC, and one in IMSA. New headquarters in Europe will be up and running later this year for their WEC programme. The…
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