Insight: GTP or Hypercar? Inside the Top Class Naming Conventions
John Dagys delves into the somewhat-complicated names for IMSA and WEC's new car platforms, classes...
IMSA’s announcement last month of the revival of the GTP name brought excitement throughout the paddock at Daytona International Speedway but also added to already somewhat-confusing naming structure for the top prototype class shared between the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship and FIA World Endurance Championship beginning in 2023.
Between LMDh, LMH, GTP and Hypercar, it’s no wonder why fans, PR and manufacturer representatives and even some journalists are struggling to understand the actual branding behind what many are calling the new ‘golden age’ of sports car racing.
I’m hoping this article can help clarify some misunderstandings.
The ACO and IMSA’s convergence agreement includes two distinct car platforms that manufacturers can utilize: Le Mans Daytona hybrid (LMDh) and the already-existing Le Mans Hypercar (LMH).
LMH cars already compete in the WEC’s Hypercar class, which will continue to be called Hypercar in 2023 but will consist of the LMDh and LMH platforms instead of the current LMH and grandfathered LMP1 machinery.
LMDh and selected LMH cars, meanwhile, will also be eligible in IMSA’s new GTP class beginning next year.
GTP, like Hypercar, is simply the name of the class. Cars are either built to LMDh or LMH technical specifications to compete in the top-level category in either series.
It’s a shame ACO and IMSA have not been able to agree on a single class name that would have certainly simplified things, although I can understand both series’ perspectives when it comes to their respective naming conventions.
IMSA President John Doonan said it best. Think of GTP and Hypercar like GT Le Mans was to GTE-Pro. IMSA had a different name to the ACO’s top production-based class since the inception of the WeatherTech Championship yet both categories ran to the same technical (GTE) regulations.
This time, it’s a bit more complicated due to the two different sets of technical regulations (LMDh and LMH) that will converge into the single category.
Let’s hope the naming of sports car racing’s new converged top class of competition will be the only somewhat-confusing aspect of our sport’s future.