LMP2 cars competing in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship are set to be allowed to run alternative settings and components outside of the FIA/ACO homologation, in an effort to put the global-spec cars on equal footing with DPi machinery in the new-look Prototype class.
IMSA’s Director of Racing Platforms Mark Raffauf has revealed that certain provisions will be made, mainly with gear ratios, engine maps and traction control settings, which are heavily restricted in the new-for-2017 global regulations.
It comes after initial feedback from competitors in testing, including at this week’s IMSA-sanctioned test at Daytona.
“We need the cars to function equally in this environment,” Raffauf told Sportscar365. “DPis are not a problem. Everybody who’s doing it has done it [before] and knows what they need.
“P2 guys… it’s a new beast, a new thing. They really don’t have anything that they can change. And we need that change to occur.”
Under LMP2 regulations, only a single engine map and traction control setting, plus a standard gear stack, will be homologated for cars from all four constructors, which Raffauf said is not suitable for the circuit characteristics and environment in North America.
He said they plan to allow LMP2 teams some of the same freedoms that have been granted to DPi competitors, although stressing that it will remain a “global” car, which will still serve as the performance baseline in the new-look Prototype class.
“One engine map, and one TC control for four cars and three different tires [globally]… There’s nobody in this paddock that doesn’t know that won’t work,” Raffauf said.
“We can’t push this program to privateers or even people who have the money, like a Rebellion, who want to come without having some viable chance for them to be competitive.
“They can’t be competitive on a variety of our circuits with a [standard homologated LMP2 car].”
In addition, Raffauf said he envisions other minor event-specific variations to be implemented, such as a revised steering rack for Long Beach to handle the hairpin corner.
He said LMP2 cars will still run ACO-homologated shocks and brakes, while DPi manufacturers will be allowed to change to different suppliers, although all cars from each manufacturer must run the same brand.
A situation developed at this week’s test at Daytona which saw the Wayne Taylor Racing Cadillac DPi-V.R run the Dallara-homologated Brembo brakes, with Action Express on AP brakes.
In addition, both DPis and LMP2 cars are required to run IMSA’s all-new Bosch data logger system, which Raffauf said is “two to three steps” ahead of the unit they implemented for GTLM and GTD teams this year.
The LMP2 variations for 2017, however, are not as extreme as previous-generation P2-based cars in the WeatherTech Championship, which utilized non-ACO homologated engines, shocks and other core components.
Raffauf said the homologation of DPi machinery will come in early January, with the final paperwork for LMP2 constructors due to the FIA this week.