At the start of 2020, the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) and the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) announced that the trio would work in collaboration to develop and create a joint top class for Endurance racing.
An agreement has now been made between the partners involved on the technical specifications for the new category, meaning LMH prototypes will be able to compete in the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, starting in 2023.
Convergence work was carried out by the ACO, FIA and IMSA to align each group’s technical regulations, with the goal of enabling cars with different technical definitions to compete alongside one another on both sides of the Atlantic, in the FIA World Endurance Championship and the WeatherTech SportsCar Championship. This includes the LMH, or Le Mans Hypercar, first introduced in 2021, and the LMDh, or Le Mans Daytona h, set to be officially introduced in 2023.
During a technical meeting between the three parties and all official manufacturers involved in the LMDh and LMH programs, an agreement was made that seeks to balance the performance of each different type of car, pertaining particularly to the vehicle’s powertrain and the four-wheel drive systems, to enable LMH cars to compete in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
Specifics for four key technical elements were agreed upon by the collaboration and subsequently approved by the WMSC on July 8 this year. These elements included a vehicle’s tire fitment, acceleration profile, braking capability and aerodynamics.
ACO, the FIA and IMSA state that the group’s initial objective of giving constructors the opportunity to enter the same car into the world’s most prestigious Endurance races will be achieved by 2023.
“This major announcement stems from our ambition to forge a common future for Endurance racing,” commented Pierre Fillon, president of the Automobile Club de l’Ouest. “It is wonderful news for teams and fans alike and maps out a bright future for Endurance. The manufacturers dreamed of being able to participate in the greatest endurance races in the world with the same model of a car: this will now be reality.”
“What we achieved as a group a few weeks ago in Paris has the potential to revolutionize prototype sports car racing all over the world,” said John Doonan, IMSA President. “The stage is set for a highly competitive top category that will include many of the world’s greatest automotive manufacturers, showcasing relevant technology in the world’s most prestigious endurance races. Collectively, we have an opportunity to engage with the next generation of endurance sports car racing fans and elevate our sport to the highest levels.”