Hybrids are making inroads into Motorsports and Porsche has approved the building of an LMDh prototype to meet the future regulations. “From 2023, the LMDh cars will make up a new top class in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) and the North American IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship. Both championships are hugely significant for the Stuttgart sports car manufacturer. Porsche very much welcomed the introduction of the new class for hybrid prototypes when it was jointly announced by the organisers at ACO/WEC and IMSA. The racing cars, which tip the scales at around 1,000 kilograms, are powered by a hybrid system with an output of 500 kW (680 hp),” said the Porche release. Porsche’s previous successful hybrid is the Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid.
The LMDh is the successor to the Daytona Prototype International class and the regulations are jointly created by the International Motor Sports Association (IMSA), the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), and the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile.
“The new LMDh category allows us to fight for overall victories with a hybrid system at the Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring classics – without breaking the bank. The project is extremely attractive for Porsche. Endurance racing is part of our brand’s DNA,” says Oliver Blume, CEO at Porsche AG.
The new LMDh category focuses on high cost-efficiency. The cars are based on an upgraded LMP2 chassis, and the spec for the hybrid system including the control electronics is standardised. Chassis from four different manufacturers are available. Each brand is free to select the concept for the combustion engine and the body design within the framework of the regulations.
Michael Steiner, Board Member for Research and Development at Porsche AG, says “In the medium term, Porsche focuses on three different drive concepts: fully electric vehicles, efficient plug-in hybrids and emotional combustion engines. We want to represent this trilogy in both the development of our cutting-edge road cars and in motorsport. We use the all-electric drive to contest the FIA Formula E as part of our works commitment, and the highly efficient and emotional combustion unit in GT racing. Now, the LMDh class closes the gap for us. There, powerful hybrid drives – like the ones that are mounted in many of our brand’s models – go up against each other. If the regulations eventually allowed the use of synthetic fuels, then that would be an even greater incentive for me in terms of sustainability.”
Between 2014 and 2017, Stuttgart based Porsche underlined its expertise in the field of highly efficient, high-performance hybrid drives with the 919 Hybrid. In the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), the LMP1 class prototype achieved a hat trick, winning three times in a row at the Le Mans 24-hour classic. Porsche also clinched the manufacturers’ and drivers’ championship titles three times straight.