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 captivated with throughout the high class, however one distinction which will shock you on race day would be the sound coming from pit lane.
Sure, the lower-class single-seaters and GT vehicles 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. Instant torque from the electrical motors means all you’ll hear is an intensifying whine till the gasoline engine kicks in partway down the pit straight. Or not.
If you desire a sneak peek of what we’re in for, Racer’s Marshall Pruett simply posted a brief 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 shortly switching to the ICE as soon as the pace restrict is reached, or trundling down the entire thing on electrical energy alone.
An preliminary three-second time restrict had initially been instituted for optimum electrical energy, however IMSA determined to uncap it out of concern for drivers getting held up on their means again to the monitor. On the flip facet, the automated ignition system, tasked with firing up the engine as quickly as a automobile got here down from its jacks, has been banned for 2023.
Every GTP chassis will get the identical power restoration system using parts from Bosch, Xtrac and Williams Advanced 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 facet. It’s actually a brand new realm for IMSA, however one which holds a whole lot of promise, with extra automaker involvement on the high stage than we’ve seen in ages.
Initial 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 vehicles within the class, six had been clocked inside a second of the lead. Next weekend can’t come quickly sufficient.