Are more privateers headed to IMSA GTP?

J.A.
By J.A. Ackley
May 17, 2023 | Acura, BMW, Cadillac, Porsche, IMSA, IMSA GTP, Acura ARX-06, Porsche 963

Photograph Courtesy Porsche Cars North America

This past weekend, JDC-Miller MotorSports represented the first privateer to enter the ranks of the new IMSA GTP class. Will more privateers follow? We asked representatives from the four active brands–Acura, BMW, Cadillac and Porsche–if more customer cars are on their way.

[Why the first IMSA GTP privateer is an important milestone]

Acura

Currently, there are no plans for a customer GTP chassis, despite a Rolex 24 victory.

Right now, in my opinion, this is a works-level car,” said HPD President David Salters of the ARX-06. “In the future, it could possibly transition to customer stuff, but I personally think that’s some years away. And we need to keep evaluating that. There are some very good so-called customer teams, but even we struggle to run this car at times! So, at the moment no. It could change in the future, but right now we’ve got to make sure we do a good job and do our best job for Acura.”

BMW

Likewise, no plans for customer cars from BMW.

At least through 2024, I would say there would not be plans for teams other than BMW M Team RLL to race the BMW M Hybrid V8 in IMSA,” said BMW representative Oleg Satanovsky. “Racing has not been immune from the global supply chain issues affecting the automotive industry. In this challenging environment, BMW plans to enter WEC racing in Europe next year with the M Hybrid V8 so all possible efforts and parts are being focused on the continued development of the two cars running in IMSA and preparing the new cars for WEC.”

Cadillac

Does a win at Laguna Seca equate to customer chassis soon? Not so fast.

GM sports car racing program manager Laura Klauser has indicated that there are no plans for Cadillac V-Series.R customer cars in IMSA GTP for 2024,” Cadillac track representative Dave Lewandowski said. “Corvette is in the midst of working with potential teams for customer GT3 cars for ’24.”

Porsche

With one privateer team running a Porsche 963, will more soon follow? Proton Competition has been heavily rumored as the next team in line to receive a car.

We have heard all the same rumors … many conversations have been held over the last year and there remains a great deal of interest from several teams, but, at this time, no further customer teams have signed a contract with PMNA,” said Tom Moore, representative for Porsche Cars North America.

Others?

Does that mean the GTP field stands as it is? Not exactly. Lamborghini is actively working on their GTP program. The class has other manufacturers considering it as well. Wayne Taylor Racing with Andretti Autosport recently announced it will run a second Acura ARX-06 in 2024.

By this time next year, you might see more growth for a class that’s certainly sparked renewed interest in the Prototypes.

Join Free Join our community to easily find more Acura, BMW, Cadillac, Porsche, IMSA, IMSA GTP, Acura ARX-06 and Porsche 963 news.
Comments
Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
5/17/23 12:12 p.m.

Well, most of them didn't not say no, so I take that as a win.

J.A. Ackley
J.A. Ackley Senior Editor
5/17/23 12:18 p.m.

In reply to Colin Wood :

It wouldn't surprise me if some watch how Porsche does. It's fairly unconventional (not unheard of, though) for a manufacturer to offer a customer car in the same year of its debut.

There also seems to be some supply-chain troubles still for parts. That doesn't help either. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/17/23 1:15 p.m.

Maybe this is a case of history repeating itself. I’m trying to recall what other OEs besides Porsche offered successful GTP customer programs. 

wvumtnbkr
wvumtnbkr GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
5/17/23 1:36 p.m.

Audi had customer cars back in the ALMS days.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/17/23 2:07 p.m.

So, a related thought. Back in the day, aside from Porsche, GTP was dominated by the factories, meaning Nissan and Toyota, with independents (and other factory efforts) filling the ranks. 

But the privateers also had a home in Camel Lights and the GT classes. Some cars came from customer programs while many were home grown.

The days of home-built pro cars has largely ended, but could be returning to something similar: Factories at the top tier yet everyone else still having a place to race? 

jb229
jb229 Reader
5/17/23 9:09 p.m.
David S. Wallens said:

Maybe this is a case of history repeating itself. I’m trying to recall what other OEs besides Porsche offered successful GTP customer programs. 

Given their performance thus far, barring a massive performance jump, letting Porsche be the only ones who have customers seems like Acura and Cadillac would be leaving money on the table.

David S. Wallens said:

So, a related thought. Back in the day, aside from Porsche, GTP was dominated by the factories, meaning Nissan and Toyota, with independents (and other factory efforts) filling the ranks. 

But the privateers also had a home in Camel Lights and the GT classes. Some cars came from customer programs while many were home grown.

The days of home-built pro cars has largely ended, but could be returning to something similar: Factories at the top tier yet everyone else still having a place to race? 

Porsche has repeatedly stated that their GTP/LMDh program only makes financial sense if they sell customer cars, like they did back in the day.  Cadillac seems likely to do it as well with the WEC and IMSA efforts, but they're spooling up their first global GT3 program with the Corvette program so it seems reasonable that they'd wait.

Acura remains the odd one out, their unwillingness to go against Toyota in WEC means they're going to be financing a large racing project without taking advantage of the potential global reach.

Otherwise GT3 is the 'everyone else' tier, surely.  Pick your car, sign on the dotted line and go racing.  Manufacturers provide full parts support for the season.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/18/23 11:48 a.m.

In reply to jb229 :

The fact that Acura is primarily a North American brand could be their reason for avoiding the WEC. Rebadge the race car as a Honda?

You'll need to log in to post.

Our Preferred Partners
uRkvNyjWnBew2eTUmZYYzOu8Bh1GJLCBkqsvB2IEOeBG6aPPLLWECmXg6sVO9r1H