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WEC allows LMDh cars to race in Hypercar class in 2022

The new breed of LMDh prototypes due to come on stream next season will be able to compete in this year’s FIA World Endurance Championship on a non-points basis. 

Porsche LMDh

Porsche LMDh

Porsche Motorsport

The move was agreed by Saturday’s FIA World Motor Sport Council in Bahrain “in order to allow a seamless introduction” of the rear-wheel-drive hybrids into the championship alongside cars built to the Le Mans Hypercar rules. 

A manufacturer would be allowed to join Toyota, Glickenhaus, Alpine and Peugeot in the Hypercar class at the end of this year's championship on a race-by-race basis, which would mean the car would not be eligible for points.

No further information was released in the WMSC bulletin, including whether any manufacturer wishing to blood an LMDh in competition this year would be required to fully homologate the car, which means effectively freezing its specification for five years.

It is far from clear whether either of the two LMDh manufacturers - Porsche and Cadillac — with plans to join the WEC next year would be ready to race this year's series before its climax in Bahrain in November. 

Porsche is the only marque with an LMDh up and running so far ahead of the full debut of the new breed of car in the WEC and the IMSA SportsCar Championship in North America. 

Porsche LMDh

Porsche LMDh

Photo by: Porsche Motorsport

Team Penske president Tim Cindric told Autosport last month that it is facing “an uphill battle” to ready a car developed in conjunction with Multimatic Motorsports in Canada in time for Daytona 2023.

His comments followed delays in the start of testing of the Porsche LMDh, which so far hasn’t been given a name or type number. 

Its shakedown was delayed twice and pushed back from before the Christmas break until just after by what Porsche has described as “supply-chain issues”, which are known to be linked to the one-make hybrid system.

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The Cadillac LMDh, which will be based on Dallara’s next-generation LMP2 chassis, isn’t due to begin testing until the summer. 

The other LMDhs due to start racing next year, the BMW and Acura, are only scheduled to race in IMSA in the first year of the category. 

A second delay to the introduction of the new LMP2 category was also agreed by the WMSC. 

The replacement for the current generation of cars introduced in 2017 was initially due in 2023, one year after the introduction of LMDh. 

It was confirmed that LMDh would not come on stream until 2023 as early as September 2020, but the delay of the new P2 cars to 2024 was not confirmed until July last year. 

The new timeline follows what appears to be a reassessment of the needs of the teams and discussions about how to reduce costs. 

The tender process for the supply of the category’s one-make engine has yet to open.

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