IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship LMP2 teams have voiced their support of keeping the current class specification locked in through at least the end of the 2022 season despite adjustments to the global platform in the ACO-run series.
Team principals from both PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports and Era Motorsport are in favor of the current spec, which has seen a slight power reduction at the start of the 2021 season but not adopting the ACO’s full raft of changes that was delivered to FIA World Endurance Championship and European Le Mans Series teams in April.
The platform in Europe has faced a further power cut and weight increase as well as the mandatory use of the low downforce Le Mans aero kit in all WEC races in an effort to increase the stratification to the Le Mans Hypercar class in the globe-trotting series.
Both series also run on a Goodyear control tire compared to Michelin rubber in the WeatherTech Championship.
“IMSA has done a good job in the last few years to get themselves to a spot where they’re staying the course,” Oergel told Sportscar365.
“If you look at the paddock, OK it’s not a 20-car grid of P2 cars but if you look at it’s growth, it’s for one reason and that’s consistency. I commend them for it, to be fair.
“I’m a pretty black-and-white guy. From my standpoint, if you just don’t mess with a lot of things all the time, everything will continue forward.
“If you continue to mess with that — and we’ve seen it — and do things that don’t work out, it just doesn’t help.”
Era team owner/driver Kyle Tilley, who is also racing in the ELMS this year in the category’s modified form, said he’s “100 percent” on board with IMSA’s decision to keep the class as-is.
“To do what they’ve done in ELMS would shoot themselves in their feet completely,” Tilley told Sportscar365.
“I think you’re going to see a lot of ELMS teams come to IMSA next year.
“Why wouldn’t you? The car is more powerful, you’re on a tire that’s personally more enjoyable to drive. Honestly it’s easier for a gentleman driver.
“In Europe right now because of the power restriction, passing a LMP3 car, you’ve got to think about it, whereas here you can squirt past them without any real issue.
“I think the formula that IMSA has right now makes so much sense.”
Tilley said the difference in tires between the two series is also a considerable factor.
“You have to drive the car 180 degrees differently on the Goodyear versus the Michelin,” he said.
“For me, you have to treat the Goodyear with kid gloves, whereas the Michelin still works and hangs on. You can attack the corner entry more and attack the brakes more.”
IMSA President John Doonan said their decision to keep the current specification locked in for the short term is largely due to the stratification achieved between its five current classes.
“We’re pretty pleased with the dynamic between DPi, LMP2, LMP3 and both GT categories,” Doonan told Sportscar365.
“It really centers around separation right now and the way the show looks and feels between the categories.
“We have a couple of regular stakeholders here that want to continue and I think there are teams — especially the folks that came at Daytona — that want to give us another try, if it’s just the endurance races or something like that.”
United Autosports Juggling Three Different LMP2 Specs
While season-long IMSA entrants have shown support in remaining in its current form, United Autosports team co-owner/managing director Richard Dean wished the specification was “consistent” across all series worldwide.
The Anglo-American squad has LMP2 entries in the WEC, ELMS and WeatherTech Championship and is the only team trying to juggle all three variations.
“From our perspective, trying to run what is effectively three different spec LMP2 cars is not what we bought into when we first signed up to the concept of LMP2 of a universal series and category,” Dean told Sportscar365.
“We sort of know how we ended up here but why we’ve ended up in this situation can be a bit confusing for the teams in the paddock and quite certainly the [fans] in the grandstands.
“Juggling three specs of car and being compliant with the regulations and all of the various maps, and what that means to setup… It’s very difficult to start to make small gains in development and progress because you’re constantly switching around.
“It is what it is. But I don’t mind it if the end goal is what we all hope for, that we end up with a reset in 2024 [with new LMP2 regulations] and a period of stability.”