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 smitten by inside the prime class, however one distinction that will shock you on race day would be the sound coming from pit lane.
Positive, 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 gained’t be contributing a lot to the cacophony. Immediate 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’d like 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 kind. 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 method again to the monitor. On the flip facet, 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 totally 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 keep costs down while still offering manufacturers the opportunity to flex their muscle and differentiate their machines on the ICE side. It’s certainly a new realm for IMSA, but one that holds a lot of promise, with more automaker involvement at the top level than we’ve seen in ages.
Initial practice for Daytona was held Friday, with Racer reporting the highest 3 times posted by Acura, then Porsche, then Acura once more. Out of the 9 vehicles within the class, six have been clocked inside a second of the lead. Subsequent weekend can’t come quickly sufficient.