Era Motorsport team owner Kyle Tilley said he’s “looking forward” to working with M-Sport in a second LMP2 entry for the remainder of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season.
The Indianapolis-based team will supply an Oreca 07 Gibson and equipment to the legendary British operation that will make its prototype debut beginning with next month’s Sahlen’s Six Hours of The Glen.
Races at Road America and the season-ending Motul Petit Le Mans at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta are also planned, with the driver lineup yet to be announced.
“The M-Sport program will make its debut in LMP2 for Watkins Glen,” Tilley told Sportscar365. “We’re looking forward to that and getting those guys sorted with the P2.
“From our standpoint, they’re going to engineer the car themselves completely.
“The car will be in ORECA-based spec when it gets handed over with all of our IP out of it.
“They’ll be fine. They’re a smart group and will figure it out pretty quickly.”
Era’s relationship with the Malcolm Wilson-owned squad, which operated Bentley’s factory GT3 operation, came through Tilley’s exploits in rallying.
Tilley competes in the American Rally Association with a M-Sport-built Ford Fiesta Rally2 car. He said he first met Malcolm and Matthew Wilson through his rally program.
“The M-Sport deal goes much further because it goes across into my rally stuff, which I do for fun. It all ties in pretty nicely,” Tilley explained.
“Our goal with the program has always been to run two P2 cars. Especially for next year, I’m excited to see what we can do and hopefully have two cars on the grid at Daytona.
“We tried this year but it wasn’t to be. So it’s nice to finally get the second car out.”
While having held discussions with LMDh manufacturers, Tilley said Era is likely to remain in LMP2 for the time being, while not ruling out a customer LMP3 effort in the future and expansion to the GTD ranks in 2024.
The potential GTD effort would coincide with the debut of Ford’s Mustang GT3, which will feature a M-Sport-built Coyote V8 engine.
“It really depends on what they do with P2 and if there’s a P2 replacement or everything goes to LMDh and Hypercar,” Tilley said.
“We are keeping abreast of all of the latest developments. P2 works very well in IMSA as the Pro-Am class. The car is fun to drive; it’s quick. Everybody who gets in it loves driving it.
“I just hope it doesn’t go to [GTP] and LMP3 [only]. That void is pretty big.
“We’d run a P3 car as a secondary customer car but we wouldn’t run a P3 as a primary. We would then have to look at other options.
“We’re also looking at some GT stuff for 2024, as to whether that’s an option. We’ll see. There’s a lot going on but we’ll be around for a little bit.”
Era Has “Unfinished Business” in ELMS
Tilley has hinted Era could return to European Le Mans Series competition in the future although stressed the team’s priority will remain in the WeatherTech Championship.
The team worked in partnership with IDEC Sport in the ELMS last year, which ended in a curtailed season due to a renewed focus on IMSA.
“Last year we did Asian Le Mans Series, European Le Mans Series and IMSA. It felt like we were in a constant state of jet lag,” Tilley said.
“I’d like to go back to the ELMS. I feel like we have some unfinished business. We really only just figured out the Goodyear tire and what it wanted relative to the Michelin, when the series kind of came to an end.
“We’ll see what the future holds. But we’re looking forward to staying in IMSA. It’s nice to run the car on the full aero and power and on Michelins.”