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IMSA Exploring ePrototype Concept

IMSA exploring all-electric prototype series alongside ETCR ambitions…

Photo: IMSA

IMSA has revealed that it is exploring the possibility of launching an all-electric sports car series for prototypes, having begun an “exploratory mission” on an ePrototype concept.

Revealed during last weekend’s IMSA Green announcement in Detroit, the North American sanctioning body announced a firm commitment to electrified racing, first with the planned rollout of hybrid powertrains in its next-generation DPi platform, along with possibilities in both ETCR and an all-electric prototype project.

According to IMSA President Scott Atherton, ePrototype is an “internal initiative” that’s being explored amid the automotive industry’s ever-changing landscape.

“It’s an exploratory mission right now,” Atherton told e-racing365.

“Ideally, it would be a spec series, so a spec chassis, spec drivetrain, to bring e-racing into IMSA in a way that’s consistent with our current platform.

“The challenge, of course, as is the case in every situation we face, is just finding time on the schedule to add another element to the weekend.”

Further details on the concept have yet to be detailed, although e-racing365 understands that at least one feasibility study has already been undertaken by a vendor.

It’s unclear whether the ePrototypes could race alongside ETCR machinery in a single race.

IMSA previously revealed ambitions of sanctioning a U.S. version of the all-electric touring car series, which is set for an international debut next year by WSC Technology Ltd.

Atherton stressed that it’s still “early days” in the development of both projects.

“We haven’t gotten that far,” he said. “It would make sense to have multi-class racing, again, to be a further reflection of what IMSA’s platforms largely feature.”

A delegation of IMSA representatives are due to visit next month’s New York City E-Prix to gain first-hand experience of electric racing, as well as the operations within the ABB FIA Formula E Championship.

“There’s a lot of fact-finding going on,” Atherton said.

“We’re always looking over the horizon and it was appropriate to make reference to it [during the IMSA Green announcement], for obvious reasons, so people understand that we aren’t sitting back and hitting rinse and repeat. That’s not how we operate.”

Atherton said he’s hoping IMSA could take the lead in EV racing on a “conventional motorsports platform” admitting that Formula E is “it’s own entity” in reference to its dramatically different product and fan experience.

“Given the realities of what’s happening and the pace of evolution [to electrification] that’s happening in the industry right now…

“[Last weekend at Detroit], we had two major OEM meetings, and I’m talking about mainstream OEMs, and they’re all saying the same thing.

“We’ve always wanted to be in a leadership role and that would be another example of that.”

It’s believed ePrototype or ETCR would not be ready any earlier than 2022, with Atherton indicating the finalization of its DPi 2.0 regulations being “priority one” before developing other potential racing platforms.

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of e-racing365. Dagys, who launched the industry-leading Sportscar365 in 2013, spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Nowayman

    June 4, 2019 at 11:56 am

    Rip motoracing

    • Avatar

      Old Trombone

      June 4, 2019 at 8:01 pm

      Nope. Instead, R.I.P. this: pit refueling fires, overheated drivers in Nomex underwear and balaclavas, cockpit temp spikes, burnt feet from red-hot firewalls, fuel-vapor poisoning, carbon-monoxide poisoning for the following Driver’s who are keeping all their vents open to air out their vapor-leaked cockpits, fuel-tank re-welding, short-life exhaust replacement$$$, fluid-line filter replacements after every race-weekend, roll-over crashes with the hung-up driver getting soaked in leaked gas, etc etc etc etc etc etc

      • Avatar

        Keith

        June 5, 2019 at 8:48 am

        Wow dude. We do not do hardly any of that anymore. Fuel cells now, no welding. Floors do not get hot. Drivers have cool suites, and the only time we replace exhaust is if there is a wreck. So you have no idea of what you talk about.

        • Avatar

          Old Trombone

          June 5, 2019 at 11:03 am

          I’m watching IMSA races, so that’s what I’m talking about. 2019 Daytona Mazda fire. 2018 Daytona Lambo fire. Remember Keating’s Viper literally couldn’t be put out in 2014 because the fuel pumps kept running. I’m getting my ideas about what to talk about by watching these things actually occur on TV. I also used my ears to listen to Andy Lally drone on and on about the huge blister he got on his foot from the Camaro firewall in the Challenge series in 2014. Anyone sayin’ “these things don’t happen no more” has no idea….

          • Avatar

            NaBUru38

            June 5, 2019 at 1:12 pm

            DPi and GTLM have mandatory air conditioning systems.

  2. Avatar

    N8

    June 4, 2019 at 12:26 pm

    This sounds a lot like shoving an electrified category under the IMSA banner for the sake of doing so. LMPC cars run races as long as 3 hours, TCR up to 4 hours. A hybrid version of either would make a lot more sense if you’re desperate to tie road/industry relevance to your entry level platforms.

  3. Avatar

    Matt

    June 4, 2019 at 12:33 pm

    No

    • Avatar

      Old Trombone

      June 4, 2019 at 8:18 pm

      Saying “no” only works for nannies. “The British Nanny” is the entertainment for you.

  4. Avatar

    Danny

    June 4, 2019 at 1:35 pm

    No Noise, No smells No me!!! Only been involved with IMSA since 1973!

  5. Avatar

    João Coelho

    June 4, 2019 at 2:17 pm

    Love it!

    • Avatar

      Patrick

      June 6, 2019 at 2:01 pm

      Yeah its about time, Prototypes are suppose to be cutting edge tech, gas engines are the furthest thing from cutting edge lol. Id love to see a e DPI category replace LMP2 in IMSA.

  6. Avatar

    Will

    June 4, 2019 at 2:34 pm

    This sounds absolutely awful.
    Please stop this IMSA.

    The cars get only more and more neutered every year.
    Isn’t it enough that you are slowly killing them as is?

    • Avatar

      Old Trombone

      June 5, 2019 at 11:12 am

      IMSA is killing what? OEM’s are multiplying, privateers are begging for cars, classes are oversubscribed, tracks are begging for rounds, and crowds are bigger than ever, bigger even than the 1985/6 crowds at some tracks. The only thing slowly dying is your comment prowess.

  7. Avatar

    Old Trombone

    June 4, 2019 at 7:52 pm

    Ross Brawn: “Website commenters don’t reflect the views of most fans of the sport…”

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