LMDh cars to provide ‘new dynamics’ to racing – Sportscar365

Photo: Acura

Ricky Taylor believes the launch of the LMDh platform will bring a “new dynamic” to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

New for 2023, the formula that will underpin the GTP class should be based on total energy consumption, not just fuel consumption, thanks to the addition of a dedicated hybrid powertrain.

Taylor, who led the testing and development of the new Acura ARX-06, said he’s already seeing dramatic changes in driving procedures.

“I think drivers and teams need to re-examine how they think about a race car,” he told Sportscar365.

“Cars are incredibly complex. Even though it sounds like a spec hybrid and stuff, it’s very complex and very technical. There are many systems and all that.

“For us as drivers, we will have to relearn a lot of things. From the teams’ side, it’s a completely different way of working on a race car.

“It’s interesting how the races are going. Next year will be in a completely different style, and we will not pay attention to fuel.

“You don’t count fuel anymore, you count energy, so how do you save energy. It will be very interesting how much fuel you actually use because you may not need all of it.”

IMSA estimates that the hybrid system, developed in conjunction with Bosch, Williams Advanced Engineering and Xtrac, could result in a 10 percent reduction in fuel consumption compared to the current DPi car.

An MGU that will produce up to 50 kilowatts (67 horsepower), resulting in fuel savings.

“If done right, I think how we communicate this new platform to fans can be really powerful and really interesting as a new dynamic to what we’re doing,” Taylor said.

“It’s already complicated enough, but I think for people who are really into it, for people who are avid, it’s going to be very interesting with everything that goes into the strategy and stuff.”

Taylor completed the Acura LMDh’s first laps on U.S. soil earlier this month during a three-day test at Kansas Motor Speedway that featured day-to-night running.

For Ricky, whose last trip to Roval, Kansas came during the 2013 Grand-Am season in a Corvette DP, the nearly ten-year span has seen significant progress in the top-class prototype cars.

“It was really cool to be back,” he said. “When you think about how much has changed since then… I never would have dreamed that the cars would be at the level they are now.

“It [felt] like a completely different race track, just the way you do everything was completely new from 2013, when it was the Daytona prototypes down to the diffusers and everything.”

While Taylor wouldn’t go into details about the recent tests, he said any early mileage the ORECA-built car gets will help pay dividends during the ARX-06’s race debut at January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.

“Everything is productive,” he said. “Whether things are going well or not, everything is productive because there is something to learn.

“If everything goes flawlessly all the time, you can run into the first problem at Daytona. The team worked very hard.

“In my opinion, it’s amazing how quickly the current DPi is getting old.

“I was standing here [at Road America] When I look at it, I think, “He already looks old” because of how beautiful and improved the new car is.

“It seems like such a simple car now. [The LMDh] it’s a big, big update.”

John Dagis is the founder and editor-in-chief of Sportscar365. Dagis spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com and SPEED Channel and contributed to numerous other motorsports publications around the world. Contact John

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