Toyota bracing for LMDh to be delayed until 2023

Toyota says it accepts that the introduction of the LMDh ruleset that will be shared by the FIA World Endurance Championship and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar championship is likely to be delayed.

Toyota bracing for LMDh to be delayed until 2023

The Japanese marque faces being the only major player in the top division when the new Le Mans Hypercar (LMH) regulations replace LMP1 in the WEC next year, facing opposition only from privateer outfits Glickenhaus and ByKolles.

With LMDh initially scheduled to be introduced in 2022, it had been hoped Toyota would only have to go one more season before it could face manufacturer opposition once again with an influx of new arrivals taking advantage of the cheaper rules.

But the onset of the global coronavirus pandemic and the resultant economic crisis has led to suggestions that LMDh may not finally come on stream until 2023, with IMSA boss John Doonan insisting that the decision will be led by the manufacturers. 

No manufacturer has yet committed to building a car to the rules, although Porsche has publicly stated its interest and has commissioned a formal study into doing so.

Asked about the situation, Toyota LMP1 team director Rob Leupen was philosophical about the prospect of LMDh's arrival being delayed by another year.

"It’s a bigger part of this regulation, it keeps getting delayed and delayed," Leupen told Motorsport.com. "We started talking [about the rules] in 2018 and now we’re in 2020. We’re going to race in 2021 with LMDh coming in 2022 or ’23.

#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050: Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima, Brendon Hartley

#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050: Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima, Brendon Hartley

Photo by: Erik Junius

"A final decision is not yet made but apparently it goes to ’23. It is how it is. I don’t think we can change it. Let’s see when IMSA, the FIA and the ACO make final statements.

"From our point of view it would have been nice to welcome those who want to do LMDh in 2022, it’s more competition, but we hear there’s a potential delay [to '23]."

Fillon: WEC doesn't want to postpone LMDh

There are no plans to delay the introduction of the LMDh rules in the WEC, according to the president of the Automobile Club de l'Ouest, Pierre Fillon.

"We do not want to postpone the arrival of LMDh," said Fillon, who also suggested that there could be LMDh cars on the WEC grid as early "as the middle of 2022". 

He admitted that it was in "the hands of the manufacturers", but said that it has been receiving "no bad messages" from the marques with which it is in discussion.

Peugeot has announced a WEC entry in 2022, but has yet to reveal whether it will build a car to the LMH rules, which come into force next year, or in LMDh.

The French marque said back in May that the coronavirus crisis had not deterred it from going ahead with plans to return to sportscar racing's top flight, but remained vague on when exactly its new hybrid-powered contender would make its debut.

It originally targeted being ready for the 2022/23 season, albeit not ruling out an early debut in the closing part of the 2021/22 campaign, before the WEC made the decision to scrap its winter calendar format for 2021 and beyond.

Additional reporting by Gary Watkins

Peugeot 2022 Hypercar

Peugeot 2022 Hypercar

Photo by: Peugeot Sport

shares
comments

Related video

Ferrari "still open" to building Le Mans Hypercar
Previous article

Ferrari "still open" to building Le Mans Hypercar

Next article

WEC moves Bahrain date, creates Sebring 12h clash

WEC moves Bahrain date, creates Sebring 12h clash
Load comments
How Toyota’s sole survivor turned the tables at Spa Prime

How Toyota’s sole survivor turned the tables at Spa

After a chastening opening to the season at Sebring that ended in an enormous accident, Toyota's #7 crew got their World Endurance Championship underway with victory at a treacherously slippery Spa to make up for its sister car's Sebring defeat to Alpine, as Glickenhaus's promising qualifying turned to disaster in the race

WEC
May 9, 2022
How Toyota's WEC dominance was curbed at stormy Sebring Prime

How Toyota's WEC dominance was curbed at stormy Sebring

Toyota’s stranglehold on the FIA World Endurance Championship ended at the 2022 opener at Sebring, but all accusing eyes were on the Balance of Performance system as the key to the shake-up. Here's how it unfolded, to see Alpine celebrating under a stormy sky having blown away the defending champions...

WEC
Mar 21, 2022
Why Penske remains ambitious for its WEC learning year Prime

Why Penske remains ambitious for its WEC learning year

Team Penske is gearing up for its role in running Porsche’s LMDh programme from 2023 by entering this year's World Endurance Championship with an LMP2 car. Although the team is considering 2022 as a season to learn, it is no less serious about winning than ever - which should make the already fiercely competitive class even more so

WEC
Mar 17, 2022
Why Peugeot couldn't afford to take a Le Mans gamble in 2022 Prime

Why Peugeot couldn't afford to take a Le Mans gamble in 2022

Ahead of the much-anticipated arrival of its new 9X8 Hypercar, Peugeot revealed that it would not be entering this year's Le Mans 24 Hours with its incoming machinery. Although development restrictions for homologated cars are partially responsible, the French marque can draw on its own lessons from its history in sportscars

WEC
Feb 28, 2022
Why the GTP name undermines convergence between IMSA and WEC Prime

Why the GTP name undermines convergence between IMSA and WEC

OPINION: The adoption by IMSA of the GTP name for its forthcoming LMDh versus Le Mans Hypercar era in 2023 appeals to fans of nostalgia - but it undermines the commonality achieved by bringing its rulebook into line with the WEC. GTP or Hypercar, both sides should settle on a single name

WEC
Feb 15, 2022
Celebrating the weird and wonderful monsters of sportscar racing Prime

Celebrating the weird and wonderful monsters of sportscar racing

Few disciplines of motorsport offer better possibilities to build a colossus of the track than sportscars. For Autosport's recent Monsters of Motorsport special issue, we picked out some of the finest (and not so fine) that have graced sportscar classics including Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring

Le Mans
Feb 4, 2022
Why F1-snubbed Davidson has no regrets in retirement Prime

Why F1-snubbed Davidson has no regrets in retirement

He may not have won the Le Mans 24 Hours - falling agonisingly short in 2016 - and didn't get the opportunities in Formula 1 his talents merited. But after calling time on his professional career last month, Anthony Davidson says his pride in his performances with Peugeot and Toyota in LMP1 mean more than the results he achieved

WEC
Dec 17, 2021
Why Le Mans didn't decide Toyota's WEC title outcome in 2021 Prime

Why Le Mans didn't decide Toyota's WEC title outcome in 2021

Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez scored a second successive FIA World Endurance Championship title in the #7 Toyota, as its new Le Mans Hypercar went unbeaten. Motorsport.com recaps how each of the four classes in the 2021 season were won and picks out the best LMH and GTE drivers

WEC
Nov 28, 2021