Performance Tech Motorsports has remained committed to the LMP2 class despite questions over the category’s long-term future in the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.
The Florida-based team, as well as PR1/Mathiasen Motorsports, appear set to be the only full-season entrants in 2019 following CORE autosport’s move to the DPi class with a Nissan Onroak DPi.
Team principal Brent O’Neill told Sportscar365 that it will enter its Oreca 07 Gibson for the newly reduced eight-round season, although the driver lineup is still being finalized.
While Kyle Masson is likely to return, the team evaluated several of its LMP3 drivers, including Andrew Evans and Cameron Cassels, in Tuesday’s Michelin On-Track Opportunity at Daytona International Speedway.
O’Neill indicated that newly crowned IMSA Prototype Challenge champion Kris Wright could also be in contention for a drive in the Michelin Endurance Cup races next year.
He praised IMSA’s decision to reduce the LMP2 calendar from ten to eight rounds next year, with the elimination of the two street races at Long Beach and Detroit projected to save considerable money.
“It makes it easier to sell because you’re taking a pretty big chunk of money, and the chance of having a crash damage repair [bill] after those two 100-minute races are pretty big,” O’Neill told Sportscar365.
“I actually told them, I said if you were going to do something, it takes $300,000 out of the budget. That makes it easier for teams and us to sell it [to customers].”
While maintaining many of the sporting regulations initially outlined in the newly spun-off class, a reduction in the prize fund for LMP2, as well as a rumored maximum RPM adjustment for the cars has left competitors questioning the platform’s long term future in the series.
An IMSA spokesperson told Sportscar365 they are not currently in a position to comment about the prize fund, although series president Scott Atherton has stated that LMP2 remains an “area of focus” heading into 2019 and beyond.
O’Neill declined comment when asked about the changes other than admitting that some prospective LMP2 drivers are “on the fence” if the class continues to face low car counts.
In addition to the planned entries from Performance Tech and PR1/Mathiasen, DragonSpeed has committed a two-car effort for the Rolex 24 at Daytona, with fellow European Le Mans Series entrant RLR MSport also planning an entry for the season-opener.