IMSA will not make any further performance changes to the LMP2 class for the Rolex 24 at Daytona, with data from last weekend’s pre-season test having “validated” the sanctioning body’s stratification projections according to IMSA technical director Matt Kurdock.
Confirmation of the LMP2 cars’ configuration comes following concerns from several drivers by the extent of the reduction, which has been in the range of 50 horsepower and lowered RPM levels that have put the Oreca 07 Gibsons in similar performance range of LMP3 cars at portions of Daytona International Speedway.
LMP2 cars received reduced performance levels for the 2023 WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season as part of IMSA’s class stratification process amid the arrival of the new GTP class.
“We are following what we had put in place, the performance levels we had tested at the December test, validated again at the Roar, and are continuing on into the Rolex with those levels,” Kurdock told Sportscar365.
“We’ve certainly been looking very closely at the stratification between all five classes, trying to squeeze a lot of cars into a very tight time gap and a very tight top speed window.
“Based on what we’ve seen at the Roar, the projections for the LMP2 stratification to LMP3 and to GTP has played out as we thought it would. Our intent is to carry this through Daytona.”
Kurdock, however, said that the current LMP2 performance levels will be re-evaluated ahead of the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring in March, with IMSA set to utilize its sanctioned test at the Florida airfield circuit in mid-February for further evaluation.
“We certainly wouldn’t want to squander that opportunity at Sebring to make sure we have an appropriate balance,” Kurdock said.
“[Daytona] is unique and I think we’re looking forward to getting GTP onto the track at Sebring at the same time as LMP2 and LMP3, just so we understand how well our projections line up to reality.
“It’s our goal to minimize the changes to LMP2. We just want to make sure we’ve got an appropriate gap between the classes that the car operates around.
“The performance of GTP cars at Daytona is aligning to IMSA’s expectations. But the dynamics of a track like Sebring are very different to that at Daytona.
“We want to be measured in our approach to LMP2.”
Kurdock: GTP Pace Dependent on Track
While the Rolex 24 pole-sitting Meyer Shank Racing Acura ARX-06 of Tom Blomqvist came within six-tenths of the DPi track qualifying record, Kurdock indicated that trend may not continue at every track on the WeatherTech Championship calendar.
“The power-to-drag ratio is superior to that of DPi, and at a track like Daytona that’s going to show,” he said.
“But that’s less important when we get to a track like Sebring where weight and downforce become more of a factor.
“We have an opportunity to use the February test to make sure things are appropriate and that way we can enter the 12-hour weekend with some confidence that we have the right settings.”
Kurdock added: “Our schedule has a lot of different circuits, a lot of power-sensitive circuits, mass-sensitive circuits and if people are making that comparison to DPi, we will see that ebb and flow.
“What’s interesting is that going into Indianapolis, a repaved Laguna Seca and Road America, throws some unknowns into the projections that we’ve got at our disposal.
“But I think hopefully what we see is that GTP has developed to the place it needs to be and that LMP2 in its 2023 configuration, that those two platforms are stable to each other in the gap we need in top speed and lap time at the circuits they’re going to share.
“It’s something we’re going to continue to have to keep a close eye on.
“We won’t come out of [the Rolex 24] saying that we have success just because we validated it at one race track.”