Audi\u2019s 24 Hours of Le Mans Return Is Set for 2023
Thirteen-time Le Mans winner Audi says it has “largely completed” the concept work on its 2023 Le Mans race car and says it is being developed with the automaker with the most Le Mans wins, Porsche. Audi’s most-recent Le Mans win was in 2014 and the automaker got out of endurance racing at the end of the 2016 season.
Audi and Porsche have committed to the LMDh class. Starting in 2023 LMDh (Le Mans Daytona hybrid) is going to be the top class of both the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and the World Endurance Championship. The joint class was announced in January, 2020, and the rules are identical for both series. Automakers can develop their own engines but a spec hybrid system is required.
Automakers must also use one of four spec chassis from either Dallara, Ligier, Multimatic or ORECA. Porsche was the first automaker to sign up and in addition to Audi, Acura, Ferrari, Toyota and Peugeot are on board so far.
Audi Sport boss Julius Seebach said the cooperation with Porsche is “a great strength of the Volkswagen Group” on the road car side. “We are now transferring this proven model to motorsport.”
Audi says it has chosen the chassis it plans to use and also says it has settled on an engine concept, although it didn’t give details. Audi says LMDh rules have strict aerodynamic limits, but Audi Sport is working with the road-car design team on the car’s shape.
Audi Sport also said it plans to offer its new car to customer teams “right from the start” and said it already has interest from IMSA customers.
“Being able to fight for overall victories and championship titles with an Audi at the Le Mans 24 Hours, at the Daytona 24 Hours, in the World Endurance Championship (WEC) and in the IMSA series is an attractive prospect for many teams,” Audi said.
The plan now is to have the first prototype running early next year and to complete its roll-out in the first quarter, with an intensive test program run the rest of 2022.
Audi’s LMDh sports prototype is being created along side an SUV for the Dakar Rally. “Of course, the Dakar team is under greater time pressure, because there are only just under eight months left until our first participation in the Dakar Rally in January 2022,” said Andreas Roos, responsible for all factory motorsport commitments at Audi Sport. An Audi source told Autoweek the SUV might be a fuel cell car.
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