United Autosports has hit out over the disparity in performance from the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring, with Zak Brown stating that LMP2 cars were in “another category” to the DPis on Saturday.
DPi machinery swept the overall podium, led by the No. 22 Tequila Patron ESM Nissan DPi of Pipo Derani, Johannes van Overbeek and Nico Lapierre, which claimed victory in the second round of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season.
ESM’s Nissan DPi, along with all four Cadillac DPi-V.Rs and pair of Team Penske Acura ARX-05s dominated the race, with the Oliver Jarvis in the No. 77 Mazda RT24-P setting the fastest race lap and its sister Mazda DPi remaining in contention until the final hour.
Jarvis’ best lap of 1:49.002 compared to the quickest LMP2 car, the No. 38 Performance Tech Motorsports Oreca 07 Gibson of Pato O’Ward, which was more than 1 second adrift at a 1:50.049.
The nine fastest race times in the class were all DPis.
Brown, who co-owns the Anglo-American squad with Richard Dean, claims they “cannot currently compete” with the more powerful IMSA-spec DPis.
The team’s No. 32 Ligier JS P217 Gibson of Paul Di Resta, Alex Brundle and Phil Hanson finished fifth overall, but largely due to attrition, benefitting from engine-related issues for both Acura DPis and accidents for two of the four Cadillac DPis.
“I’m extremely proud of our team’s performance but it’s abundantly clear that the LMP2 class cars are in another category [compared to DPi],” Brown said.
“LMP2 cars cannot currently compete on development and subsequent pace.
“We are racing with the hope the DPi cars are unreliable. We didn’t have the speed to race them [DPi] here.”
Dean shared similar views post-race, following a near-flawless Sebring debut for the team, which completed an overnight engine change, only its second-ever in LMP2 competition.
“To finish fifth and on the lead lap on the team’s Sebring debut is incredible especially considering the handicap that we are having to cope with concerning the pace of the DPi cars,” he said.
“All three drivers drove fantastically well.
“Phil was magnificent in his maiden Sebring race which was only his eighth race in an LMP2, Paul was also having his first race at Sebring, only his second sports car race, but looks like a seasoned endurance driver, while Alex ‘subbed’ superbly for the team.
“Like the drivers, the team made no mistakes in the pits, every stop was perfect.
“I’m proud of everyone in the team but very, very disappointed in the DPi-LMP2 discrepancies in terms of performance.”
IMSA made a series of pre-event Balance of Performance changes, which impacted every DPi manufacturer, either with weight increases or power reductions, following January’s season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona.
Di Resta, meanwhile called the BoP an “embarrassing waste of time.”
“IMSA must get it sorted if they want teams from Europe to head here,” he said.
United is currently committed to the four-round Tequila Patron North American Endurance Cup, which continues with the Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen in June.