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Visit Florida Racing Eyeing Switch to DPi in 2018

Visit Florida Racing targeting switch to DPi car next year…

Photo: John Dagys

Visit Florida Racing team owner Troy Flis is targeting a switch to DPi machinery next year, admitting that the Cadillac DPi-V.R could be its one-and-only option should it go the manufacturer route in the short-term.

The former Corvette DP squad, which currently campaigns the only Riley Mk. 30 Gibson in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, has struggled with its LMP2 contender in the first half of the season, despite a podium finish, based on reliability, in the Rolex 24 at Daytona.

Flis said one of the driving forces to the DPi platform is the disparity in performance to the LMP2 cars, which he said has put the global-spec prototypes at a disadvantage under most circumstances.

“It will be tough to race for an overall championship with a LMP2 car in my opinion,” Flis told Sportscar365 prior to Sunday’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen. “We saw that the first race of the season.

“We were hoping that maybe IMSA would be able to do some BoP and get that in control but it doesn’t look like it’s gotten there yet.

“When we ran DPs we were 1 second off the pace everywhere [to the P2s] everywhere we went but we raced better, like these cars.

“Now these cars are 1 second faster than us and they race better. How are we going to compete?”

Another issue developing are the differences between the four global-spec LMP2 cars, which has seen an early advantage go to the Oreca 07 Gibson, with no Balance of Performance written in the ACO regulations.

Per IMSA’s rules, the top-performing LMP2, meanwhile, serves as the performance baseline for the Prototype class, which has seen the DPis adjusted to that level, but the other under-achieving LMP2 cars, such as the Riley, unchanged.

Additionally, IMSA has permitted DPi manufacturers to roll out with updates, while still under draft homologation, which has resulted in performance and reliability developments to the Riley-chassied Mazda RT24-Ps, but not eligible for the LMP2-spec Riley.

“With the rules we can’t do much to our cars,” Flis said. “It’s not like the DP where we can go back and work on it a little bit and change some things around. These cars you have to run to the rulebook.

“The DPi… you can build a car and change the car to get that competitiveness back you need.”

The disparity has led to a collation of teams to push for the formation of a seperate DPi and LMP2 classes, and while under discussion, IMSA President Scott Atherton said it would unlikely be for next year.

Despite having had talks with prospective DPi manufacturers, Flis said his best short-term solution could be with Cadillac, which is currently the only manufacturer to make its engine and bodywork package available to customers.

He said it “wouldn’t be a huge hurdle” other than the costs involved in making the switch from its current Riley chassis to the Dallara P217, which serves as the base of the Cadillac DPi.

“I still have a great relationship with [GM] and it’s something we could back that route,” Flis said.

“We’d have to switch everything but the cars seem to be pretty well developed with the support that’s out there.

“With Dallara and [GM] you know you have a pretty competitive package. They’ve proven that time and time again.”

Flis said a decision on its 2018 plans would have to be made pretty soon.

“Now, I think come [Mosport], I think we’d be at the point where you’d have to make a decision for next year on what’s going to happen,” he said.

“I think that’s going to be the turning point if you’re taking your toys and going home or if you’re going to get involved and get a partner to get on board with you.”

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

62 Comments

62 Comments

  1. Sol Shine

    July 3, 2017 at 10:15 am

    Well it’s obvious Nascar, er, IMSA, favors their buddies at GM before actually creating a level playing field. Wouldn’t look good if a ‘Murican series was getting won by those nasty Euro cars now would it? Or if Generous Motors wasn’t winning every race. As usual, they’ve turned the headline class into a one sided joke not worthy of interest at all.

    • Jake

      July 3, 2017 at 10:44 am

      Do you actually believe the garbage that you type? Ligier and ESM easily had the fastest cars on pace alone yesterday. Even JDC’s Oreca when Simpson was driving was fast. Had they not stuck with the worn rubber they probably would have put up a better fight. Simpson was also a bit more cautios fighting traffic.

      Mazda and VFR’s problem is that Riley is out of its element in modern prototype design. Its not IMSA’s problem that they dont bop them to catch up to Oreca, thats the FIA rules.

    • Andy Flinn

      July 3, 2017 at 11:36 am

      Sol, try actually WATCHING the races and qualifying. At least the last 45 minutes Sunday.

    • DrunkAtLeMans

      July 3, 2017 at 1:00 pm

      Sol the only thing that is obvious is that you haven’t been following the series this year.

    • TF110

      July 3, 2017 at 1:25 pm

      One race with P2’s competing up front doesn’t make them equal. Plus, that’s after all the negative bop being done to the Caddy’s just so the other cars have a chance. And they still lose. It’s obvious Cadillac’s Dallara is a much better car/package. Also, the p2’s are probably developed with dunlop and michelin tires. The Caddy was testing around the same time as the new P2’s were, but running on Continentals. They know the tires and car better than any other team (especially WTR).

      • Andy Flinn

        July 3, 2017 at 4:41 pm

        TF110, I don’t know if you watched the race on Sunday but the Cadillac pitted and took NEW tires the JDC Miller Oreca/Gibson did not. Maybe that explains how the #85 passed the #5 on the restart but could not hold off the #5 in traffic.

        • Steven

          July 3, 2017 at 5:21 pm

          The 85 caught the traffic at the worst time. the 85 and 5 were side by side in the esses, The GTD car had to block somebody because there was no room at that part of the track to move over. It was a 50/50 crap shot that favored the #5.

          • Andy Flinn

            July 3, 2017 at 7:05 pm

            Steven, don’t forget that Barbosa has raced and won at Watkins Glen several times before. That could have helped. I’m not sure but I think he has more experience than Steven Simpson at the track.

    • kv

      July 3, 2017 at 4:12 pm

      Troy FLIS realises the expesnse LEMANS HAS SET HIS PROGRAM BACK IN IMSA GM has spare chassis to run,and the Caddy package is good to go ! THE GIBSON engine is not the way to go ,and no developement is allowed !

  2. Tim

    July 3, 2017 at 10:30 am

    I dono the Oreca is doing just fine and in most cases the Ligier is fine also. Both the Ligier and Riley need a boost of some kind from the ACO. We all seen that even the Dallara which the Cadillac is based off is behind the Oreca.

  3. Mo

    July 3, 2017 at 10:37 am

    The prototype class was not a joke yesterday. The Nissan, Oreca, Ligier, and Cadillac all led. The 55 Mazda was on the podium. I guess you didn’t catch the race yesterday Sol Shine.

  4. Mike

    July 3, 2017 at 10:46 am

    Except the 85’s continued competitiveness (even with an Am), and the 52 being racy whenever Pla gets in prove Fli’s statement wrong.

    What Troy is really saying here is: “Now that my Visit Florida money is going away, please give me manufacturer money.”

    • Andy Flinn

      July 3, 2017 at 11:41 am

      Mike, you’re right. If not for the fueling issues, the #52 Ligier would have been positioned and fighting for the win, too.

    • shimnomtber87

      July 3, 2017 at 11:17 pm

      Yep. Pla was the superior driver. Look at the lap times

  5. Mike D

    July 3, 2017 at 10:53 am

    The issue with LMP2 cars is in traffic. I overheard Ricky Taylor (at Lime Rock PWC round) say that the Gibson’s power is all on the top end – he had just tested Keating’s car at NOLA MP.

    On an open track, they will be similar in pace. It’s when you have a twisty circuit such as Long Beach or Detroit, or lots of traffic – like at the end of the race yesterday – that the 6.2L stump grinder in the Cadillac becomes more of an advantage.

    I think IMSA has done a decent job with BoP, and the calls for separating the classes are premature, unless suddenly the car counts warrant it.

    • Mike

      July 3, 2017 at 11:07 am

      That’s always been the problem though — look at last year when the Mazdas had the BoP in their favor… even at the Glen when Pigot was running away at the front with the 55, as soon as pit cycles or traffic occurred, all of the advantage would go away compared to the DP engine.

      IMSA is aware of that and has tried to compensate for the low-end torque with the various changes this season, and they’re getting better.

    • Andres

      July 3, 2017 at 6:13 pm

      Well, taking away more than 100hp away from the Cadillac, that seems fair, socialist racing for all, just punish a car that has thousands of miles of developing and is a better combination for this series

      • Josh

        September 3, 2017 at 10:24 pm

        Yeah, that’s what they did with the Ford GT. Unfortunately, in the process, everyone else did catch up after the fact and now Ford GT’s BOP has cost them no a bit of competitiveness.

  6. Rocket J. Squirrel

    July 3, 2017 at 10:54 am

    Last year, with the same package as WTR & Action Express, they got their rears handed to them on a regular basis. So now we’re supposed to believe their struggles are because they’re in a P2 rather than DPi? Especially when a true Pro-Am P2 damned near won the thing yesterday? I’m not doubting that the Riley isn’t the best chassis option out there right now, but it seems to me that some aspect of the team is at least as much of the problem as the chassis.

    • Andy Flinn

      July 3, 2017 at 11:48 am

      Rocket, bad luck and crashes have stung the VFR team this year. Belle Isle was bad luck. The coming together with the #52 Ligier at Watkins Glen not so much.

  7. Mark Twain

    July 3, 2017 at 11:14 am

    I think it’s more of the fact that they bought the wrong P2 car and the fact that they wreck out most races… not to mention the fact that these are all new cars for 2017, you have to put in work in order to get success.

  8. BarnOwlLover

    July 3, 2017 at 11:21 am

    Big issue is that the Riley isn’t that good, we all know that. But the Mazda can at least have some changes made, while the Riley can’t unless the ACO make a change first. Since everyone in Europe has a Gibson powered LMP2 car and the Ligier and Dallara has been competitive outside of LM (where Oreca put most of their eggs into that basket), and there’s no Riley in Europe, there’s no incentive on the ACO’s part to make a BOP change in the WEC or LMS.

    This isn’t helped by issues that’s lead Multimatic to take the lead in development of the Mazda DPI and Riley Mk 30. However, stuff that’s hoped to improve the Mazda is of little used to the Riley because of ACO and IMSA homologation.

    Basically, the Riley is junk compared to other ACO spec LMP2s, let alone DPIs, and VFR IMO is right in looking to improve, even if it means getting a new car next year.

    • Steven

      July 3, 2017 at 5:15 pm

      Each chassis manufacturer is allowed one EVO update for the car from what I was told. The problem was the ACO picking the Riley in the first place instead of the Zytek or BR.

      • Matt

        July 3, 2017 at 5:34 pm

        They get one evolution for the entire 4 year homoligation is the issue. Cant jump the gun just yet unfortunately

      • Amaury Diaz

        July 4, 2017 at 1:29 pm

        Zytek got the engine deal so that is why they couldn’t make a car also.

  9. Ouch

    July 3, 2017 at 11:49 am

    Man, how bad has Riley screwed the pooch here? No one is going to want to buy that car for the remaining three years.

  10. Juninho

    July 3, 2017 at 12:00 pm

    Imsa LMS in 2018

    P1 (DPI)
    P2
    GTE-Pro
    Pro-Am (GT3)

    • Guest

      July 3, 2017 at 1:36 pm

      Not enough pro-am P2 cars yet for their own class. P2 and DPi shouldn’t be separated, but pro-pro (DPi or P2) and pro-am (only P2).

    • John

      July 3, 2017 at 4:26 pm

      Not gonna happen.

      Atherton has downplayed the comments he made here and disputed that they were in any way meaningful, according to a story on another site.

      I don’t think Dagys let his biases slip into his writing like some do, so my conclusion is that Atherton is being disingenuous and now trying to distance himself from his own words.

  11. Jenner

    July 3, 2017 at 1:32 pm

    Ha! This is what I said back when NASCAR decided on going with the DIP concept. With more engine and chassis types, BOP will b a freaking nightmare.

    Only choice now is for everyone to switch the Cadillac/Dallara package if they want to compete for wins on most or all types of circuits.

    Welcome to SPEC racing in 2018.

    And also, your DIP Cadillac still is inelgible to race at Le Mans, EVER.

    • 2112

      July 3, 2017 at 2:51 pm

      Yah…

      Don’t want those ‘Murican V8’s threatening the euro LMP1’s with an overall win, huh?

      Imagine if a Caddy running IMSA spec had, indeed, ran at Le Mans. Wonder if the Porshe would have been able to come back against it from that far back…

      At least IMSA tries to do more than make everyone wear grey jumpers and get the same hair cuts.

      • AF

        July 3, 2017 at 4:56 pm

        Nobody in Europe wants to see a car with a thirty-year-old engine in the back of a properly engineered chassis, seems such a waste. If the Caddy was running IMSA spec, including the tires at Le Mans it would have been behind the P2 cars, simple. Wait until the WEC has been to COTA to see the tire disparity.

        • Andy Flinn

          July 3, 2017 at 5:06 pm

          AF, are you joking?

          Old technology?

          The Corvette almost scored it’s ninth GTE Pro victory in 18 years of racing at Le Mans.

          If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.

      • Andy Flinn

        July 3, 2017 at 5:02 pm

        2112, the Caddy DPi would have embarrassed all of the prototypes at Le Mans this year.

        • Steven

          July 3, 2017 at 5:25 pm

          Not really, but keep dreaming anyway. The Dallara at Lemans was not even close to the pace of the Oreca run teams. Also the LMP1 Porsche was lapping the LMP2’s every hour.

          • Jordan

            July 3, 2017 at 5:48 pm

            Fact: Caddy has NEVER won a race racing Le Mans Prototypes.

          • Andres

            July 3, 2017 at 6:23 pm

            Fact, if a Cadillac gone to race Lemans, it should had raced in P1 privateer, then put Michelins or Dunlops and go unrestricted engine we all know has more power than the Gibson crap and is more reliable even being designed 30 or more years ago, but hey, unrestricted Cadillac or Nissan DPIs have way more power than the combustion engine alone in any of the P1 hybrid cars, and obviously better acceleration in that situation, so there you have, why ACO banned DPI in Lemans

          • Andy Flinn

            July 3, 2017 at 7:10 pm

            Steven, unlike the Caddy DPi, the Dallaras, like the Orecas, Ligiers and Rileys, all have a spec (Gibson) engine.

          • Jordan

            July 3, 2017 at 10:10 pm

            @ Andres

            I don’t think so.

            “Short of standing next to the starting line for an NHRA Top Fuel match, witnessing Porsche’s 919 Hybrid teleport from corner to corner
            is the best thing to sheer accelerative violence in motor racing.”

            – Marshall Pruett

          • Andres

            July 4, 2017 at 11:40 am

            Jordan, hybrid power in P1 is available for six secs a lap, then its gone and they only have half of the 1000HP combined power, that means only 500HP or less from the petrol engine, then it comes the Cadillac having 100HP or more than the LMP1’s petrol engines, give them the extra downforce they need, and a weight reduction down to 850KG like the hybrid cars and Michelins, then we will see how much can do that car against a Dallara/Cadillac built for less than third the price of a hybrid LMP1

    • Andy Flinn

      July 3, 2017 at 5:00 pm

      Jenner, dude, did you even watch the race Sunday?

      Caddy DPi versus Oreca/spec Gibson after five plus hours for the win is infinitely superior to Oreca/spec Gibson, Oreca/spec Gibson and Oreca/spec Gibson for the WEC LMP2 podium.

      Also, you’re knocking DPi AND spec racing (LMP2 engines)? Pick ONE. You can’t have it both ways.

      • Jenner

        July 3, 2017 at 8:56 pm

        P2 is a cost capped pro-am class, always has been.

        P1 is a factory supported class, always has been.

        Why is NASCAR shoving their ideology down the throats of of the ACO? Cadillac, Nissan, and Mazda are factory efforts. They need to be racing against Porsche and Toyota just like Audi and Peugeot had to.

        I like P1, manufactures use this class as their test bed for future technologies. It’s “run what u brung”racing. If you’re slow, step it up.

        I also like P2 the way it is. Cost capped, close racing for pro’s and am’s. GT racing is awesome, just gotta keep your eye on “Team Sandbag”. YouTube Nicki Thiim Vlog’s, so funny.

        Andres, Why IMSA banned P1 from Daytona?

        • Jenner

          July 3, 2017 at 9:12 pm

          Andy, I did not watch the race. I was on the lake with family this wk end. And I didn’t DVR the race b/c every time I do, FS1 and FS2 always finds a way to screw up the recording.

          Back in the ALMS days, I could always go to ESPN3 and watch qualifying and the race anytime I wanted to either hrs or a day or 2 later. It’s Mon and the race is no where to be found. Not on IMSA.com, not on YouTube.

          Luckily Sportscar365 keeps me in touch with the Sportscars world better that any other website around.

          • Andres

            July 4, 2017 at 7:07 pm

            Did I need to say that back in 2013 in LMP1 the one and only full season entry was Muscle Milk team? and in P2 there was no full season driver line-ups, they changed that for every race? it makes no sense at all, in conclussion, that was not even a ban or prohibition, only a switch to the lower LMP class cause there were more cars running in it, and not only one full season entry like LMP1, and guess what, neither Audi, nor any other LMP1 constructor wanted to go race in daytona, is not a race they wanted to be in

        • Andres

          July 4, 2017 at 11:44 am

          Tell me where the hell i said IMSA banned LMP1’s, that is a complete nonsense, LMP1 teams dont want race in Daytona, but several IMSA prototype teams want to race Lemans, they have a car able to do so, just need to be allowed to enter LMP1 private by the ACO/FIA

          • Jenner

            July 4, 2017 at 1:57 pm

            Sorry Andres, didn’t know you were new to the American Sportscar scene.

            NASCAR banned the P1 class in Imsa right after the “merge”. They then called themselves the United Sportscar Championship. This happened a few years ago. Before than, IMSA P1, P2 prototypes got invited to the greatest sportscar race in the world, Le Mans. Now only GTLM cars get invites.

            DIP specifications fit outside the Le Mans rulebook, so those teams get to watch the race on tv with us all day, night long.

            Go to wikipedia for more info and history on IMSA, ALMS, GTP, Can AM, it’s very informative.

            Have a Happy and safe 4th of July

        • Andy Flinn

          July 4, 2017 at 11:51 pm

          Jenner, Peugeot has technically never been a competitor in the WEC. They quit LMP1 prototypes on the eve of the 2012 championship because it was too expensive. They haven’t raced in the WEC or at Le Mans since.

          NASCAR isn’t “shoving their ideology down the throats of the ACO.” After saying they would work with IMSA on the DPi concept, the ACO pulled a 180 and banned the DPis at Le Mans and elsewhere. The ACO was worried that DPis in LMP2 would draw manufacturer interest away from LMP1. Despite the fact that LMP1-H is dying, we can’t have that.

          Also, LMP1 is banned at Daytona for the same reason LMP1s don’t race ANYWHERE outside the WEC. The class is simply not viable because the cars are too complicated (witness Le Mans 2017) and too expensive (witness an absent Peugeot).

          • Andy Flinn

            July 5, 2017 at 12:00 am

            Jenner, so it’s IMSA’s fault that DPi teams don’t receive invites (like GTLM teams) from the ACO to race at Le Mans because the ACO decided to ban DPis from racing at Le Mans?

            That makes no sense to me.

            The ACO was supposed to be working with IMSA on the DPi concept.

  12. Slow Riley

    July 3, 2017 at 1:43 pm

    The Riley is a wet turd. Big surprise. Maybe they should have purchased a P2 from a company that knows what they’re doing in relation to a modern prototype.

  13. John

    July 3, 2017 at 4:31 pm

    First things first. 2018 is next year.

    Considering VFR’s sponsorship contract expires today, are they going to be able to finish out this season?

  14. JCCharles

    July 3, 2017 at 5:18 pm

    Riley Motorsport is getting it’s money from Mercedes-Benz to race their GT3 car as a semi-factory team. That leaves them no time to devote to Riley’s OWN car, the LMP2! MultiMatic didn’t develop the car, Riley did. While VFR may have a Riley man on the pit wall, if it’s not Bob or Bill, it’s not the man you want!Troy is right to want to get back to GM. I’m sure he was expecting a Riley there to help!

  15. Anonymous

    July 3, 2017 at 5:26 pm

    There will need to be some changes made to the LMP2 spec for next season.
    I love seeing the LMP2’s taking it to LMP1 at Le-Mans this year (Ok LMP1 ran into all sorts of reliability problems, but…)

    1. The Oreca is the best all-round LMP2 chassis
    2. The Dallara is the quickest in a straight line though! Rubens Barichello said that over the Le-Mans Weekend (I know you don’t win endurance on speed alone)
    3. The Ligier is ok, solid and fairly reliable, but not on par with the Oreca.
    4. The Riley desperately needs an update and FAST!!! When ACO said they wanted one of the 4 LMP2 manufacturers to be American I got very worried, the last “American” manufacturer were the Acura ARX-01 Cars. And they were “Technically” built by Honda.

    • Amaury Diaz

      July 4, 2017 at 1:42 pm

      Acura’s/HPD LMP’S were done by Wirth and they are British. HPD built them in California.

  16. Matt

    July 3, 2017 at 5:40 pm

    The good folks over in Markham will bring it back from the de7ad soon enough

  17. Jordan

    July 3, 2017 at 5:55 pm

    Andy Flinn is a fan of Visit Florida Racing, because they leech off the Florida taxpayers just like he does.

    • Andy Flinn

      July 3, 2017 at 7:26 pm

      LOL!

      Jordan “outed” me. I’ve been a Florida language arts teacher for the past 12 years.

      You should thank your teachers, Jordan. They’re the reason you know how to read.

      (Actually, Jordan don’t thank your history/civics teacher. He/she should have done a better job teaching you about socialism.)

  18. Matt

    July 3, 2017 at 8:54 pm

    Why not switch to a dallara p217?

  19. Colonel Angus

    July 3, 2017 at 10:31 pm

    Troy will be able to finish out the year without VF because he’s in Jim France’s pocket. Unfortunately for for Troy he’s in the pocket that doesn’t spend money on winning formula’s (AXR). However, he’s still probably grateful just to be out there because without Jimbo’s money he’d probably be running SCCA. Nothing against Troy, he just needs to get a backer that won’t tie his hands together. Great family and very passionate racers.

    • Andy Flinn

      July 5, 2017 at 12:13 am

      Colonel, obviously with Visit Florida backing Troy Flis is not and has not been in Jim France’s pocket.

      Also, are you talking about the same AXR that won the 2016 IMSA prototype championship with Whelen backing? (Again, not Jim France’s pocket.)

      And yes why would Troy Flis be insulted by your comments. You just called him an amateur.

      • Colonel Angus

        July 6, 2017 at 10:56 am

        I think you have your head in the sand Andy. You don’t think AXR is not also part of the France family? Again head in the sand. Troy is not an amateur but if it weren’t for Jim, they wouldn’t have made it further than SCCA. Don’t be so blind.

        • IMSA's Ass Slave Andy Flinn

          July 6, 2017 at 1:26 pm

          I have never had an original thought in my life.

          Tell me what to think today, IMSA!

  20. Sir Skidsalot

    July 5, 2017 at 1:47 am

    They need to limit displacement and make the Cadi run at under 6 liters. The low end torque vs. other N/A engines will never be there, even if they have twice as many valves. Turbos don’t have the same problem, with the right boost mapping and wheels.

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