Onroak Automotive is working to ensure its Nissan Onroak DPi will be on the grid in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship next year, with multiple options being discussed according to team principal Philippe Dumas.
It comes amid the end of Extreme Speed Motorsports’ exclusivity contract with the DPi package, which now allows the French constructor to offer the car for sale to additional teams.
While ESM’s future remains unclear, following Patron’s exit at the end of the season, Dumas said they remain committed to helping keep the Scott Sharp-owned team on the grid, while also potentially add to the car count.
“It’s a very clear target,” Dumas told Sportscar365. “We have to make it happen, for the Nissan Onroak DPi to continue for sure.
“Because the project was an exclusivity for Tequila Patron ESM for two years, now we are able to deliver cars to other teams.
“It’s my job to try and find other drivers with budgets and interest, at least to help Scott to secure two cars. It’s the first objective to have two Nissan DPis on the grid with ESM.
“But if we can do more, we will try. The package is super competitive and we showed it for the last year-and-a-half. Pipo [Derani] has also also shown it many times.
“We’ve won Petit Le Mans and Sebring with [the car] too, which I think isn’t bad!”
While having reportedly been in discussions with JDC-Miller Motorsports, which recently announced a two-car Cadillac DPi-V.R program, Dumas said he remains in dialogue with other teams.
United Autosports, Ligier’s UK importer and longtime partner team, is believed to be one of the teams in frame for a potential program in 2019 or 2020, should sufficient funding materialize.
The car looks set to be eligible next year, despite the previous investment from Tequila Patron, which helped cover IMSA’s automotive partnership commitment.
While declining to go into detail, Dumas said they are working with IMSA and Nissan to find the “best agreement” to keep the DPi package on the grid and available to other teams.
Dumas Concerned on LMP2 Diversity
While supportive of IMSA’s decision to split DPi and LMP2 into seperate classes for 2019, Dumas has voiced concern over the LMP2 platform’s future in general, amid a continued disparity in performance between constructors.
Oreca 07 Gibsons have dominated the class worldwide, with permitted Evos to both the Ligier JS P217 and Dallara P217 failing to reduce the gap.
It’s resulted in teams such as AFS/PR1 Mathiasen Motorsports making the switch from Ligier to Oreca LMP2 machinery, leaving not a single non-ORECA LMP2 car in the series.
“I’ve had some meetings with the ACO to talk about it,” Dumas said. “Because if it continues like this, it will be a one-make series next year.
“I know it’s difficult and it’s not to put the finger on somebody. It’s just the reality.
“At the moment, in order to survive, you have to have an ORECA.
“We have to think the future of the category, definitely. At the moment it’s under pressure for sure.”