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DPi, LMP2 Split Confirmed for 2019

DPi, LMP2 will be separate categories in WeatherTech SportsCar Championship next year…

Photo: Jake Galstad/IMSA

The IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship will return to a four-class format, with confirmation of separate DPi and LMP2 classes in 2019.

IMSA President Scott Atherton made the announcement Friday evening in the sanctioning body’s annual ‘State of the Series’ address at Road America, which also included confirmation of next year’s schedule.

Under the new format, DPis will become the new premier class, with the global-spec LMP2 cars to fall under a new Pro-Am enforced class.

Additionally, Atherton indicated that DPis will be restored to its initial performance levels, after having faced repeated slowdowns to the top-performing LMP2 car, which had been the class performance baseline.

DPis will now be subject to a class-specific Balance of Performance process managed by the IMSA technical committee, similar to the GT Le Mans and GT Daytona classes.

As initially reported by Sportscar365, a class separation had been under discussion since the launch of the joint DPi-LMP2 regulations last year.

The majority of teams with LMP2 cars had been in favor with the proposed change.

LMP2, which will run to the same technical regulations seen in the FIA World Endurance Championship and European Le Mans Series, will require at least one Bronze or Silver-rated driver per lineup.

However, in a change for both LMP2 and GTD next year, maximum drive times for Gold and Platinum-rated drivers will be limited.

The criteria for the Jim Trueman Award, meanwhile, has also been adjusted, the highest-placed Silver/Bronze driver in the LMP2 championship winning the award and invite to the following year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Previously, points were awarded based on finishing position and drive time. 

The same criteria will also apply to the Bob Akin Award in GTD, with ties broken in favor of the driver with the highest season-long cumulative drive time.

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

40 Comments

40 Comments

  1. TheBigMrJackson

    August 3, 2018 at 8:12 pm

    Now we see how many P2 racers stay in the series with their cost having been sent skyward by the new rules and now they’ll get bupkis worth of exposure. My guess is they’ll all be off to the ELMS real quickly.

    • Slicks in the wet

      August 3, 2018 at 10:03 pm

      Well. So be it.

      At least IMSA will have far less restricted, faster, and more interesting cars at the sharp end of the stick then.

    • Mike S.

      August 3, 2018 at 10:37 pm

      Weren’t they going to be off to ELMS if they didn’t split? It’s a bad decision either way I think this is the best decision. I think that car counts will vary greatly though. Where are these new manufacturer DPi’s??? I always hear it but maybe IMSA knows something. If nothing new comes in in the next few years it may be stagnant but time will tell. A lot of change the last several years. I think they should of stayed pat for 1 more year with Micehelin coming in. They balanced the apples and oranges pretty well for what they are. Never will be even. But like others have said I do think manufacturers were putting a gun to IMSA’s head to be premiere platform as well as P2 teams to have their own class. IMSA wasn’t in a good way here either way.

      • Old Trombone

        August 4, 2018 at 11:09 am

        I’m thinking that not-being-beaten-by a spec car will be MORE attractive to new OEM’s, not less.

  2. Steven

    August 3, 2018 at 8:21 pm

    Let the money wars begin in DPi. Acura and GM will surely bully out Mazda and Nissan.

    • Mike S.

      August 3, 2018 at 10:26 pm

      They already are. When has Mazda or Nissan shown any hope of consistently taking them on. Mazda and Nissan don’t have the pedigree as it is. They both have flashes of being fast but never ever have they shown any consistency the last several years. The GM and Acuras are pretty consistently fast and on pace with way fewer mistakes or failures in engines or components like Nissan and Mazda have. I guess it won’t take much to bully those too out is what I am saying at this point.

      • Old Trombone

        August 4, 2018 at 11:13 am

        So all Geoff Brabham’s wins in Nissans are “lacking pedigree”…

        Sooooo, when a manufacturer wins, they better make sure their Mommy and Daddy were the correct horses, right? Did Nissan use test tubes (gasp!)? Of course, GM’s parents were racially pure and loved each other very very much…

  3. JoeF

    August 3, 2018 at 8:26 pm

    Well say goodbye to any euro teams entering the endurance races now. I just hope ESM finds funding and something new breaks on the DPi front The top class is gonna see serious decrease for the 24.

    • Mike S

      August 3, 2018 at 10:40 pm

      ESM should go back to GTLM like they did in chromed Ferrari’s in ALMS but that will never happen. Too expensive and GTD isn’t much better.

      • kv

        August 4, 2018 at 11:56 am

        THE 4.2TT LTA needs to be fast tracked for racing,before GM gets its doors blown off !

    • Old Trombone

      August 4, 2018 at 11:18 am

      Zak McBrownren said Right here on SC365 “we’ll need a DPi anyway, we’re already making enquiries”.

      The new DPi class needs a “claiming rule” rule, where cars literally must be for sale at the end of each race at a price set by the sanctioner

  4. n8b

    August 3, 2018 at 9:45 pm

    Wonder if the caddies will go back to the 6.2L, seems like the 5.5L isn’t quite as good from a reliability and torque standpoint

    • Old Trombone

      August 4, 2018 at 11:21 am

      I wonder if the 5.5 is being run as a prototype for testing it for the new C8. As if prototype racing was being used to prototype future road product.

  5. TF110

    August 3, 2018 at 9:51 pm

    Should align DPi with lmp1-non hybrid. That way teams like Rebellion who get bored in the break can run Daytona and maybe have double duty at Sebring.

    • stuart

      August 3, 2018 at 10:44 pm

      That would be nice but…

    • Steven

      August 4, 2018 at 7:19 am

      Same problem once again, trying to combine 2 different regulations into one just isn’t gonna work.

  6. Keith

    August 3, 2018 at 10:08 pm

    I think GM cried because they got beat by a p2 car.

    • el_gordo

      August 4, 2018 at 1:21 am

      I’d cry if I spent millions on a racecar and show up at the track to have it BOP’d down to go cart speeds myself.

      • Steven

        August 4, 2018 at 7:13 am

        yet lap times are faster than 2017.

    • Old Trombone

      August 4, 2018 at 11:28 am

      I’d cry if I never knew the reasons behind anything ever….

      Whhhaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh … I want more BoP (Ballads on Piano) !!!

    • karlos

      August 12, 2018 at 8:01 pm

      You are correct sir, follow the money…

  7. Jenner

    August 3, 2018 at 10:42 pm

    So we’re now back to having a PC/P2 class again.

    Can’t wait to hear all the bitching and moaning and calls to get rid of the P2/PC class next season b/c they bring out too many yellows, get in the way of Dips, that these club racers should be in PWC…..etc.

    • TF110

      August 3, 2018 at 10:54 pm

      Don’t they already do that anyway? It should be ok unless the pace is increased significantly but I doubt that they’ll be much more than a couple seconds faster per lap than now.

    • jason

      August 3, 2018 at 11:31 pm

      May not be that many of them #54 CORE Oreca, #38 Perf Tech Oreca, #52 PR1 Ligier and that is it. Who knows if the later 2 can stay in business in 2019. I feel JDC Miller will find a trick up their sleeve to get a DPI going. Maybe Hyundai or a customer Acura program.

  8. Pay Driver

    August 3, 2018 at 10:56 pm

    Major yawn in the enduro events next year. The usual suspects and nothing else. No one’s gonna come over and spend a bunch to run for the second class at Daytona or Sebring.

    • Mo

      August 4, 2018 at 9:09 am

      Actually, WEC P2s will be in Sebring for their race on Friday. Why not also race with IMSA in the Sebring 12 hour on Saturday?

  9. speedy

    August 3, 2018 at 11:16 pm

    No, P2 wanted to be top dog.

  10. JG

    August 3, 2018 at 11:20 pm

    Best news I’ve heard all year, no more dumbed-down racing. I just hope Joest sticks it out with Mazda and gets that car fast and reliable; new engine hopefully. Rotary would be best but that’s wishful thinking.

    • jason

      August 3, 2018 at 11:34 pm

      It might not persuade a WEC or ELMS LMP2 team to race now. The only euro guest entries for Daytona will be in the GT ranks. Fine by me. Would love to see Aston Martin, AF Corse, WRT, Rowe, Strakka, Black Falcon among others try their hand at the 36 hours of Florida

    • Pay Driver

      August 4, 2018 at 12:36 am

      lol. They dropped out of Road to Indy because they have to invest in more fire extinguishers in a sped-up DPi class.

  11. UltraGary

    August 3, 2018 at 11:34 pm

    1st time here, and I just have to say: Holy crap is this site full of whiners & complainers!

    • Northstar

      August 4, 2018 at 7:55 am

      It’s the Internet, everyone’s an armchair expert.

    • Old Trombone

      August 4, 2018 at 11:32 am

      Try the FE pages on the Red headed American racer mag site….

      It’s as if FE was the personal invention of the deep web pizza babies. Those commenters were the major reason I discovered e-racing365, and through them I came here. Since then I’ve seen comments over at R’cer die off.

      • Old Trombone

        August 4, 2018 at 12:34 pm

        To clarify … (looks down nose over glasses and snorts):

        I meant I discovered e-r365 and sp365 because the haters on the other place forced me to look elsewhere. In no way did the haters point to here. 365 and these commenters here are a joy to read and far more intelligent than me, or the folk who hated FE over there.

  12. speedy

    August 3, 2018 at 11:46 pm

    LTA TT V8 4.2-liter Cadillac.

  13. nice

    August 4, 2018 at 12:03 am

    $penske vs gm$

    a few field fillers that will pull out

    and PC 2.0

  14. Marc

    August 4, 2018 at 2:07 am

    I feel like this now greatly exposes the series to car count issues if 1-2 DPis pull out and P2 teams left due to not being able to compete for overall… I hope IMSA talked to DPi manufacturers about them supplying cars to any interested parties.

    • Mike S

      August 4, 2018 at 6:11 am

      Exactly lets just enjoy this season because by 2020 it will be drastically different. What if ESM leaves and a couple P2’s yeah no loss but that isn’t diversified field. Can’t wait to see uncorked DPi’s with unreliable DPi’s in Mazda and Nissan really will grenade trying to keep up. Just comets down the straights.

    • Steven

      August 4, 2018 at 7:18 am

      Only GM offers customer cars. Acura, Nissan, and Mazda are exclusive contracts to one team only. Though my guess is Nissan is gone next year. ESM basically paid Nissan to lease the engines and brand their name, along with the manufacture fee. The Renault group is more focused on F1 and the small Nissan GT-R GT3 program.

  15. GridS2Plaza

    August 4, 2018 at 8:14 am

    I guess IMSA was too envious of WEC’s tiny car counts in the top class. Now IMSA can be like WEC with 4 or 5 cars competing for overall honors.

    What a joke. Might as well add LMP3 cars to the mix in the major races as filler.

    No one can seem to come up with a legitimate top class that is going to attract enough cars to fill a legitimate grid.

    ELMS still comes out looking like the most entertaining series. At least the P2 class car count there is credible. Keep it simple stupid.

    If DPi manufacturer’s don’t start offering cars to privateers this is doomed to failure. Besides Cadillac.

    ALMS P class 2.0

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