The much-awaited Le Mans Hypercar class is going to get some company from a new class that will be able to race worldwide. On Friday, America's International Motor Sports Association (IMSA) and the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), which sanctions the 24 Hours of Le Mans, announced the new Le Mans Daytona hybrid class (LMDh) that will sit alongside the Le Mans Hypercar class to form the top level of endurance racing worldwide.
“The big winner today is endurance racing as the door is now opened to many additional competitors to compete at the highest level on both sides of the Atlantic with the same car," said Gérard Neveu, CEO of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). "The two sanctioning bodies should be congratulated for their vision and spirit of collaboration. Le Mans Hypercars and the new LMDh cars racing together at Le Mans or Daytona will be an incredibly exciting prospect for endurance fans across the world.”
LMDh is essentially an evolution of the current DPi class, which is evolving to DPi 2.0 for 2022 with the addition of mild-hybrid technology. The cars in the LMDh class will feature chassis built by one of four manufacturers (Dallara, Ligier, Multimatic, and Oreca), a KERS hybrid system, an engine from a participating automaker, and a common silhouette design that can be modified by the automaker. Both sanctioning bodies said they were inspired by the rules from both the DPi and Hypercar classes to create the new class.
The move means the current DPi competitors—Acura, Cadillac, and Mazda—could compete alongside Hypercar class entrants from Aston Martin, Peugeot, Toyota, Scuderia Cameron Glickenhaus, and possibly Koenigsegg and Gordon Murray Design.
The LMDh cars will be able to compete in the WEC series starting in September 2021, and in the IMSA WeatherTech series beginning in January 2022. A balance of performance rules will be instituted to level the playing field for the Hypercars and LMDh cars. While the LMDh cars will be able to compete with the Hypercars overseas, there is no mention of the Hypercars having access to the IMSA series on these shores.
More information on the new class is sure to come as we near September 2021. We look forward to watching more teams and automakers compete at the highest level of endurance racing.