When TUDOR United SportsCar Championship DP teams roll into Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for next month’s Continental Tire Grand Prix of Monterey, they could be faced with a slight reduction in horsepower, in what’s poised to be the latest tweak to the much-talked about Prototype Balance of Performance.
“We’ve been doing a little bit of analysis work and having some calls with manufacturers here early this week to discuss what we can and can’t do to get ourselves ready for Laguna. Based on what we’re seeing so far, we’re going to have a slight tweak to the power levels of the DPs,” IMSA’s Scot Elkins told Sportscar365.
“We’re not completely done yet. We still have to finish up some things tonight and tomorrow but that’s kind of the direction we’re headed, something that’s very, very small, not something that’s massive and not a big change because that’s not what we need right now.”
With the BoP having not changed since the second round of the season at Sebring, Elkins and the rest of the IMSA technical team have targeted making only minor adjustments to the Prototype class cars, primarily with weight and air restrictor tweaks, in order to not incur any additional costs for teams and promote stability.
“Long term-wise, we want to minimize what we do,” Elkins said. “We had a manufacturer’s meeting at Long Beach. I used the phrase that we’re going into ‘maintenance mode.’
“We’ve done the big projects, we’ve done the big things, we’ve done all of the big changes we needed to do. Now it’s just time to have some minor tweaks and just maintain ourselves and let things settle down and let people race.”
While DP-based cars won the opening three races, Elkins admitted there’s not much more they can do to the P2 cars without going outside of the ACO regulations.
A 5 percent increase in horsepower were given to the cost-capped prototypes at the start of the season, and any further boost in power would require hardware changes to the production-based engines, Elkins said.
As a result, P2 cars are expected to remain in the same configuration for the Mazda Raceway round.
“I think we’ve gotten the lap times pretty darn close,” Elkins said. “They’re within our window we use for Adjustment of Performance. But I think the race-ability between the DP and the P2 is something we need to work on. It seems like most of that is coming from a pretty solid top speed advantage the DP has.
“A lot of the P2 drivers I’ve spoken to have said it’s been very close, they just can’t get close to [the DPs] on a straightaway. So we need to help it a little bit.
“Depending how you calculate it, the P2 is still two or three tenths off in terms of lap time. I think this small change will help close that up and hopefully it will help race a lot better.”
Elkins said he anticipates a competition bulletin, detailing the potential BoP change, being released by the end of the week.