Both Performance Tech Motorsports and Starworks Motorsport are taking a race-by-race approach to the LMP2 season, amid the current financial and health uncertainties surrounding the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S.
The class, which makes it return to the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship this weekend at Sebring after a nearly six-month hiatus, features all five teams that took part in January’s season-opening Rolex 24 at Daytona.
However, both Kyle Masson of Performance Tech and longtime Starworks driver Ryan Dalziel have admitted that their teams’ participation for the full six-round season has not yet been confirmed.
Both teams are Florida-based, which is currently one of the major COVID-19 hotspots in the U.S.
In addition to this weekend’s Sebring sprint race, the LMP2 class is due be part of the IMSA races at Road America, WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca as well as the remaining Michelin Endurance Cup rounds.
“For what it seems right now I think we’re on a race-to-race basis because I’m not too sure how we’re planning with the whole COVID thing evolving,” said Masson.
“Florida’s a hotspot right now and and we’re really lucky that we get to have this race happen this weekend.
“I don’t know what the team’s commitments are going be going forward. I’m going try and be as involved as I can be but I think we all just need to figure it out.
“Anything can happen going forward in 2020.”
Dalziel revealed that Starworks’ participation for Sebring was “on the fence” until last week once their Bronze-rated co-driver John Farano formally committed to the race.
The Toronto native was initially confirmed only for the Endurance Cup rounds this year.
“I think everybody at this point is race-by-race until they know what’s happening,” Dalziel said.
“A couple days ago we were thinking if Sebring was going to go ahead.
“I’d love to say yes confirmed [for the full season]. I think it’s confirmed as long as we don’t have a third natural disaster this year.”
Despite the uncertainty, Dalziel predicts a hard-fought battle for championship, which kicks off this weekend, as points from the Rolex 24 did not count towards the season-long LMP2 schedule.
“DragonSpeed is always going to be the target,” he said. “I think they were the best team at Daytona and they were the most prepared.
“In the race, honestly, we had them covered until we had our motor failure.
“John Farano stepped up massively at the start of the race and got his drive time done and we were in good shape.
“DragonSpeed’s lineup will be strong. Kyle [Masson] is always quick. PR1 are always the underdogs; they go under the radar and they always seem to find a way when it’s needed.
“It’s a small field but it will make a good field. There’s good teams with good crews behind them with experience. ”
Dalziel: COVID-19 Killed LMP2’s Potential Growth in 2020
The Florida-based Scot believes the pandemic has essentially eliminated the chances of seeing any additional teams contest LMP2 this year, although remains optimistic for 2021..
Sportscar365 understands at least two current LMP2 squads in the FIA World Endurance Championship are working on WeatherTech Championship programs for next year, in addition to several European Le Mans Series operations.
“I think the way the rules went this year opened up a lot of opportunities for LMP2 to grow,” Dalziel said.
“I think you would have seen a lot of growth had it not been for COVID. There were a lot of teams that opted not to do Daytona, since it was not part of the overall points.
“Five cars is not terrible right now in the U.S.; I think there’s a lot more cars out there and I know there’s a lot of people at least talking to Starworks and John Farano about moving from ELMS to IMSA.
“ELMS has been the crowd-taker for us for a number of years and now that we’re actually on par with what’s going on in Europe financially, I think it opens a lot of doors.
“Having the [mandatory] Bronze driver to me was an absolute no-brainer. This is an amateur class and you need to have proper amateurs in it.
“There’s a lot more to come. Hopefully as the season goes on and we can get to all of the races and get some momentum and get into 2021.”