Ganassi considering LMDh, outright Le Mans victory

Chip Ganassi Racing has ambitions to return to the Le Mans 24 Hours and bid for outright victory when the new LMDh category comes on stream. 

Ganassi considering LMDh, outright Le Mans victory
Listen to this article

The winner of the GTE Pro class with Ford at the French enduro in 2016 has revealed its Le Mans aspirations ahead of its first race back in endurance racing with Cadillac at the Rolex 24 Hours at Daytona, the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season-opener this weekend. 

Ganassi managing director Mike Hull told Autosport: "We consider Le Mans to be one of the biggest motorsport events in the world and we would love to be back there at some point with LMDh. 

"Right now we are at the very bottom rung of being able to do that, but we want to be in a position to be able to do it when the time comes to be counted.

"We'd love to go to Le Mans with the chance to be able to win overall, but in the meantime we are going to work really hard to do our best in the IMSA series."

Ganassi has returned to the top flight of North American sportsar racing after four seasons in which it represented Ford in GT Le Mans in 2016-19 and then a year's sabbatical in 2020.  It is running a Cadillac DPi-V.R Daytona Prototype international in a full IMSA campaign for Kevin Magnussen and Renger van der Zande, and this pair is joined for the Rolex 24 by Ganassi’s six-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon, who has four Daytona wins to his credit already – three overall and one in GTLM. 

Hull described LMDh as "globally important" because it will allow the LMP2-based hybrids that will race in IMSA from 2023 to compete at Le Mans and the World Endurance Championship.

"The fact that the Automobile Club de l'Ouest [the Le Mans organizer and WEC promoter] and IMSA are working on having a package of rules that will allow the convergence of racing is the most important aspect of what is happening," he explained.

"We want to be in prototype racing in anticipation that we can be part of what is going to happen in 2023."

It remains unclear whether Ganassi will be able to do that with Cadillac or another General Motors brand. GM has yet to commit to continuing in IMSA's premier class beyond the life of the DPi category at the end of 2022, although it has been a participant in the LMDh rule-making process. 

Laura Wontrop Klauser, GM sportscar program manager, said: "We have been attending and participating in the IMSA LMDh manufacturer meetings. 

"The LMDh concept as presented by the ACO and IMSA is appealing. Internally, we are evaluating if the program makes sense from a marketing standpoint in relation to where the road car future is headed for the brand."

The Indianapolis-based Ganassi organization expanded into sportscar racing in the Grand-Am series in 2004. It scored a total of six outright Daytona victories with Riley Daytona Prototypes powered by Lexus, BMW and Ford engines.

The team also notched up back-to-back class wins at the 24 Hours in 2017-18 during its four-year involvement in the Ford GT program, which also took it to Le Mans in each of those years.

A Chip Ganassi Racing-run Ford GT conquered the GTE Pro class at Le Mans in 2016, with Joey Hand, Dirk Müller and local hero Sebastien Bourdais at the wheel.

A Chip Ganassi Racing-run Ford GT conquered the GTE Pro class at Le Mans in 2016, with Joey Hand, Dirk Müller and local hero Sebastien Bourdais at the wheel.

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

shares
comments

Related video

Rolex 24: Duval leads Magnussen in final Rolex 24 practice
Previous article

Rolex 24: Duval leads Magnussen in final Rolex 24 practice

Next article

Remembering the 1990 Daytona 24 - Jaguar domination

Remembering the 1990 Daytona 24 - Jaguar domination
Load comments
The British pair at the heart of Lexus's sportscar push Prime

The British pair at the heart of Lexus's sportscar push

Have you heard the one about two British guys driving for a Japanese manufacturer in America’s top sportscar series? Time to sit down and talk with Jack Hawksworth and Ben Barnicoat about racing across the pond… and your accent being mistaken for Australian!

IMSA
Mar 16, 2022
Why Peugeot couldn't afford to take a Le Mans gamble in 2022 Prime

Why Peugeot couldn't afford to take a Le Mans gamble in 2022

Ahead of the much-anticipated arrival of its new 9X8 Hypercar, Peugeot revealed that it would not be entering this year's Le Mans 24 Hours with its incoming machinery. Although development restrictions for homologated cars are partially responsible, the French marque can draw on its own lessons from its history in sportscars

WEC
Feb 28, 2022
Why the GTP name undermines convergence between IMSA and WEC Prime

Why the GTP name undermines convergence between IMSA and WEC

OPINION: The adoption by IMSA of the GTP name for its forthcoming LMDh versus Le Mans Hypercar era in 2023 appeals to fans of nostalgia - but it undermines the commonality achieved by bringing its rulebook into line with the WEC. GTP or Hypercar, both sides should settle on a single name

WEC
Feb 15, 2022
Celebrating the weird and wonderful monsters of sportscar racing Prime

Celebrating the weird and wonderful monsters of sportscar racing

Few disciplines of motorsport offer better possibilities to build a colossus of the track than sportscars. For Autosport's recent Monsters of Motorsport special issue, we picked out some of the finest (and not so fine) that have graced sportscar classics including Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring

Le Mans
Feb 4, 2022
How Castroneves and Meyer Shank conquered another US classic Prime

How Castroneves and Meyer Shank conquered another US classic

Helio Castroneves continued his fine start to life with Meyer Shank Racing that netted the 2021 Indianapolis 500 victory by prevailing in last weekend's Daytona 24 Hours together with teammates Tom Blomqvist, Oliver Jarvis and Simon Pagenaud. As Cadillac fell by the wayside, the Brazilian veteran won out in an all-Acura duel to the finish

IMSA
Feb 1, 2022
How Derani's long road to title success exorcised painful memories Prime

How Derani's long road to title success exorcised painful memories

It took Pipo Derani no time at all to establish himself as a winner in IMSA, winning the Daytona 24 Hours and Sebring 12 Hours on his first two starts in 2016. But it took until the final corner of the 2021 season before he could become its champion, the culmination of a journey that he believes has made him a better driver.

IMSA
Jan 16, 2022
The significance of the next step in WEC/IMSA convergence Prime

The significance of the next step in WEC/IMSA convergence

Following the latest convergence connection permitting Le Mans Hypercars from the FIA World Endurance Championship to compete against LMDh entries in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship from 2023, it could open up enticing options not only to manufacturers but also for the calendar and race formats

WEC
Jul 13, 2021
Why a Mazda IMSA Prototype title would bring bitter joy Prime

Why a Mazda IMSA Prototype title would bring bitter joy

Can Mazda win this year’s IMSA Prototype championship? Undoubtedly. But it will be the culmination of an achingly hard struggle, after which the brand has decided to quit. David Malsher-Lopez tells the story of a bizarre blend of heartache and positivity.

IMSA
Apr 6, 2021