Speaking to Motorsport Network in the latest of our exclusive #thinkingforward interviews with the leaders in world motorsport, Fillon declared: “I think we will be able to announce the frame of the regulations in two weeks.”
Details of the LMDh rules, based on the principles of IMSA’s LMP2-based DPi category, had been promised for the week of the ‘Super Sebring’ IMSA/WEC double-header in March. But the cancellation of the WEC 1000-mile race and postponement of the IMSA Sebring 12 Hours as the coronavirus crisis escalated meant key meetings between the ACO and IMSA had to be put off along with the rules announcement.
Since then, the working group that comprises the ACO, IMSA and the FIA World Endurance Championship has been finalising details of the new ruleset, and the WEC’s Gerard Neveu says they are “on the final approach for the LMDh”.
Fillon told Motorsport.com: “We can say that we on schedule – of course, we should have announced the regulations in Sebring. The work has continued since. First of all, the relationship with IMSA is excellent.
“I think we have the technical regulations today, and we’re just finalising small details, and following the crisis we have no choice, we have to succeed with this project. It’s very important for the future of sportscars. For me, it’s vital.”
Neveu said that the technical working group, which includes all the car manufacturers who have expressed an interest in taking part and the four designated chassis makers (Oreca, Ligier, Dallara and Multimatic) has also been busy during the Covid-19-enforced break.
“What you have to know is the working group between IMSA and the ACO is working daily on this project, on the very important things,” he said. “The technical working group with the chassis manufacturers and the manufacturers interested in joining the LMDh platform is still working all the time. These technical regulations, the draft of this one, will be shared with everyone together.
“They are all around the table, they are informed in real time, they continue to work on the evaluation and if they want to be in or not and if they want to join. But the process is more or less done. The position we are in now with LMDh compared with the position we were in Daytona in January have nothing to do [with each other]. Now we are speaking about delivering something. Not announcing that we have decided to do something.
“This is more than decided; this is ready to be delivered. Following also all the different parameters, including the fact we have to find the cheapest price possible to deliver a good race programme and make sure we can have a maximum of manufacturers interested in being part of this programme. Our schedule will be on time.”
Fillon believes that the requirement for reduced costs for major manufacturers – who previously insisted on high-budget, factory programmes building their own chassis at the top level – helped persuade them of the attractiveness of the new platform.
“One year ago, you can’t imagine that the big manufacturers will agree to use another chassis, not its own chassis,” he said. “It was something impossible for them, and today it’s possible. Everything has changed.
“We work step-by-step, so we have to achieve the LMDh [platform], and I think we are on a good way. After that we will try to see what we can share and what we can do together with IMSA. I think there are a lot of possibilities.”