Acura entering LMDh to challenge Porsche and Audi in 2023
Acura will join Porsche and Audi as the third manufacturer to compete for checkered flags the world over in the new Le Mans Daytona hybrid (LMDh) prototype class. According to a report from Sportscar365, the marque plans to make its race debut in 2023.
The new class, which is set to replace the existing Daytona Prototype International (DPi) class at the Rolex 24 at Daytona in January of 2022, is an exciting step that will help consolidate global prototype racing. The category is co-developed by IMSA, the sanctioning body for sports car and prototype racing in the U.S., and the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), the sanctioning body for other global endurance championships including the 24 Hours of Le Mans. A chassis that fits both sets of regulations from the get-go means fans could watch their favorite top-tier car bang fenders on the banks of Daytona in January and blitz the Mulsanne Straight a few months later.
Acura competed in IMSA’s current DPi category from 2018 to 2020, partnering with Penske racing to clinch DPi championships in its first two seasons. Acura will continue with Meyer Shank Racing and Wayne Taylor Racing in IMSA competition for the 2021 season.
Acura’s current chassis, the ARX-05 DPi, employs a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6 engine that shares some parts with your neighborhood Honda Odyssey minivan. French constructor ORECA handled construction of the current chassis, and since ORECA is one of the four constructors ready to make the leap to the LMDh category, we anticipate that Acura will continue the partnership into the new class.
There are more announcements to come, according to Racer. As many as three more LMDh programs are expected to surface in the next few weeks, potentially opening the door Corvette or Ford to join Porsche, Audi, and Acura at the sharp end of the grid. The prospect of a truly global class of prototype competition, with top brands battling on the best tracks in the world, is something all motorsports fans should be thrilled to see on the horizon. In the meantime, we’ll be parked in front of the TV with snacks and beverages this weekend to soak in this year’s Rolex 24 at Daytona.