A new era for North American motorsport began today at Daytona International Speedway.
A two-day test session sanctioned by IMSA officially launches the Grand Touring Prototype (GTP) class, featuring hybrid-powered prototype race cars. Nine cars representing four manufacturers – Acura, BMW, Cadillac and Porsche – were on track today and Wednesday. Another manufacturer, Lamborghini, will join the fray in 2024, with the potential for even more to come.
Wayne Taylor Racing unofficially topped the time charts in the opening two sessions of the day at Daytona International Speedway, with the No. 10 Acura ARX-06 of Ricky Taylor, Filipe Albuquerque and Louis Deletraz setting a benchmark 1:36.103 lap time in the four-hour afternoon session.
The No. 10 Acura’s time was 0.074 seconds quicker than the No. 60 Meyer Shank Racing Acura
“The official launch of GTP has arrived and we could not be prouder,” said IMSA President John Doonan. “With nine of the most technologically advanced and sustainable race cars in North America hitting the track today in Daytona and even more on the way, the market has spoken loudly. IMSA’s cost-effective, entertainment-driven platform is resonating with the automotive industry as a vital marketing tool.”
But why have these manufacturers committed to the platform? Because it’s high-tech, cost-effective and relevant to their electrification and sustainability initiatives.
The GTP prototypes on Daytona International Speedway’s high banks today are the most sustainable race cars competing in North America. Every car will use a single-source hybrid powertrain developed by IMSA and its partners at the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO) and suppliers Bosch, Williams Advanced Engineering and Xtrac.
This hybrid powertrain system will be coupled with internal combustion engines using a VP Racing Fuels blend that will increase from 60 percent sustainable content initially. Eventually, the fuel used will be 100 percent sustainable, greatly reducing or eliminating greenhouse gas emissions.
In addition, IMSA’s official tire partner, Michelin, has identified motorsports as an area that will lead the company’s sustainability efforts through the use of new materials and technologies. Michelin Group is committed to 100 percent sustainability by 2050 and demonstrated its ongoing efforts to the industry during the 2022 Rolex 24 At Daytona event with its all-sustainable “Regen Lab,” showcasing a racing tire with 46 percent sustainable materials.
New regulations for GTP will require the double-stinting of racing tires – which currently contain more than 25 percent sustainable materials – thereby greatly reducing the sets of tires used over the course of the season.
IMSA’s leadership position in sustainability has long been recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Department of Energy (DOE) and the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) International. The motorsports sanctioning body’s partnership with these agencies enters its 15th year in 2023.
This partnership led to the development and use of “Green Racing” protocols and recognized IMSA as a motorsports pioneer through the use of renewable fuels such as cellulosic E85, zero-sulfur clean diesel and Isobutanol. Looking toward the future, IMSA and its partners will continue to innovate and introduce new protocols and sustainability initiatives.
“IMSA has greatly benefited from the participation and activation of our 18 automotive partners and many other corporate partners,” Doonan said. “Our strength has been our ability to understand what is important to our partners and develop a platform that enables them to meet their objectives. The number one objective for most – if not all – of them is sustainability, and we will work together with them and our partners at the EPA, DOE and SAE International to continue and expand our leadership position in this critical area.”
The 2023 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship – featuring the competition debut of the GTP class – kicks off with the 61st Rolex 24 At Daytona on Jan. 28-29.