IMSA president John Doonan has told MotorsportWeek.com that the new IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship class, GTP, is the “ultimate expression of the brand and performance, but in a responsible manner in terms of the environment.”
In an interview with MotorsportWeek.com, Doonan said that, in GTP, “We have renewable fuel, hybrid power and thanks to our partnership with Michelin we have reduced tire allocations and consumption. Ultimate expression of the brand and performance but in a responsible manner in terms of the environment.”
The hybrid element in the new-for-2023 class in IMSA’s headline championship is an MGU-K unit, recovering energy from the brakes that would otherwise have been lost as heat and converting it to electrical energy, powering an electric motor positioned on the rear axle.
This motor can generate 50kW of continuous electrical power or 180kW of peak power, complimenting the internal combustion engine in the car. That is a relatively small amount of power, considering the overall power output from both the engine and electric motor is limited to 671hp.
In addition, the hybrid part of the power unit for GTP cars is a spec unit — meaning it is supplied by an external supplier and cannot be developed by the manufacturers. This removes any chance of research and development into the MGU and the subsequent ‘trickle down’ to each brand’s road going vehicles.
IMSA’s renewable fuel, meanwhile, is cellulosic fuel derived from non-food stock, meaning it doesn’t impact food supply chains. This fuel is converted from vegetation not suitable for human consumption, turning it into ethanol to power the cars, releasing far less greenhouse gasses into the environment.
Next year’s GTP cars from Acura, Cadillac, Porsche and BMW will, then, be powered by this biofuel and will, according to Doonan, be more environmentally friendly compared to the DPi cars which preceded them.
We’ll first see the GTP class in racing action at the Rolex 24 at Daytona in late January, the traditional opening round of the IMSA WeatherTech Sportscar Championship.