The 2023 IMSA WeatherTech Championship kicks off subsequent week with the Rolex 24 at Daytona and, with it, a brand new technology of GTP hybrid prototypes. Between Cadillac, Porsche, Acura and BMW, there’s loads of change to be passionate about inside the high class, however one distinction that will shock you on race day would be the sound coming from pit lane.
Certain, the lower-class single-seaters and GT automobiles nonetheless have their purely internal-combustion powertrains, however when a GTP machine takes off from its stall, it received’t be contributing a lot to the cacophony. Instantaneous torque from the electrical motors means all you’ll hear is an intensifying whine till the fuel engine kicks in partway down the pit straight. Or not.
If you would like a sneak peek of what we’re in for, Racer’s Marshall Pruett simply posted a short video the place you possibly can watch the Cadillac, Acura and BMW in launch type. As Pruett explains, groups are free to make use of no matter mixture of propulsion they like, whether or not that’s taking off on battery energy and rapidly switching to the ICE as soon as the velocity restrict is reached, or trundling down the entire thing on electrical energy alone.
An preliminary three-second time restrict had initially been instituted for max electrical energy, however IMSA determined to uncap it out of concern for drivers getting held up on their approach again to the monitor. On the flip aspect, the automated ignition system, tasked with firing up the engine as quickly as a automotive got here down from its jacks, has been banned for 2023.
Each GTP chassis will get the identical power restoration system using elements from Bosch, Xtrac and Williams Superior Engineering, however they’re tied to completely different engines independently developed by every constructor. The Acura touts a V6, whereas the remaining make use of V8s, and solely Cadillac’s is of course aspirated.
Mandating a spec hybrid unit helps to maintain prices down whereas nonetheless providing producers the chance to flex their muscle and differentiate their machines on the ICE aspect. It’s actually a brand new realm for IMSA, however one which holds a variety of promise, with extra automaker involvement on the high degree than we’ve seen in ages.
Preliminary observe for Daytona was held Friday, with Racer reporting the highest thrice posted by Acura, then Porsche, then Acura once more. Out of the 9 automobiles within the class, six have been clocked inside a second of the lead. Subsequent weekend can’t come quickly sufficient.