IMSA has not ruled out making changes to the LMP2 car’s technical specification for the 2023 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, with the sanctioning body currently evaluating the stratification between the spec Gibson-powered prototype class and its new GTP category.
Set to debut in January’s Rolex 24 at Daytona, the LMDh-based class has seen increased top speeds compared to the outgoing DPi machinery, although producing similar lap times, which has led IMSA to re-evaluate the separation for its two fastest classes.
A single LMP2 car from PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports turned laps during last month’s IMSA-sanctioned LMDh test at Michelin Raceway Road Atlanta for performance testing purposes, with multiple LMP2 cars running under “prescribed testing plans” set to take part in December’s test at Daytona International Speedway according to IMSA technical director Matt Kurdock.
“It’s certainly something we’ve been focusing on,” he told Sportscar365. “We were able to look at our peers in WEC and the stratification they’ve had between LMH and LMP2.
“Unfortunately we don’t run under the same configuration of [LMP2] car. They [also] use a different tire manufacturer than we do.
“We felt it was necessary to conduct our own performance testing with LMP2 cars, like we did at Road Atlanta, and it’s also planned for the December test.
“We’re continuing that exploration of the car and if any necessary adjustments need to be made.
“At the same time we’re also building a little bit of a notebook on validating the performance levels of LMDh compared to where the initial simulations were.”
Kurdock said that having data from multiple tracks that will see GTP and LMP2 in action is crucial before considering any potential adjustments to the LMP2 machinery.
“It’s finding that right balance between making sure that we’ve got adequate separation between the two classes at a wide variety of circuits that we race on in IMSA where we will have both [classes],” he said.
“The work is not done on that but we are certainly collecting the necessary information to make the right decisions on that and are thankful for everyone involved between our tire partner, Gibson Technologies on the engine side and the teams who are participating in that testing.
“It’s getting us the information we need to make an informed decision for 2023.”
When asked if IMSA is only considering making potential performance-related changes to the LMP2 class, Kurdock said they have to look at both platforms.
“We haven’t set the initial BoP for the LMDh cars yet,” he said. “When we do that we need to consider the stratification to LMP2 after we finalize if any adjustments are necessary to the LMP2 cars.
“The performance of the LMDh platform, the lap time is achieved in a different way than it was in DPi. We’re sensitive to that.
“But we’re also sensitive to the fact that behind LMP2 there’s also three other classes and there’s only so much we can do before we start having our challenges with getting five classes spread out in our championship.
“When you consider the car counts and circuits we go on, you have to look at the whole picture.
“We’re pleased with what we’ve seen with LMDh so far but we also know that LMP2, in the configuration that IMSA ran in 2022, is a very capable platform and should not be underestimated.
“The less we adjust the better. We need to make sure that the quality of the experience in LMP2 is retained as much as possible and that’s very important to to IMSA as I’m sure it is for our stakeholders. It’s just finding that right balance.”