The LMP2 class in the FIA World Endurance Championship has traditionally seen some of the closest competition, while in a budget-friendly environment.
With cost-capped regulations, along with Pro-Am driver enforcements, the second-tier prototype class has been the most popular through the years, and looks to be no different in 2014, which will see an influx of new teams and machinery.
Sportscar365 takes a look at the confirmed, likely and possible entries for LMP2 next year.
Delta-ADR – After taking a season-high five class victories, the British squad, run by Simon Dowson, is set to return with a pair of Oreca 03 Nissans, both likely under the Millennium Racing banner. Fabien Giroix, who made his debut with the team in Bahrain, is already confirmed, with Stefan Johansson likely to be part of the team’s second entry. Additional drivers will be evaluated in a private test in Bahrain early next month. (2 cars)
SMP Racing – The ambitious Russian outfit will make its FIA WEC debut with a pair of Oreca 03 Nissans, rumored to be run by AF Corse. Team co-principal Sergey Zlobin will team with Maurizio Mediani and a to-be-determined driver in the lead car, joined by the all-Russian lineup of Victor Shaitar and brothers Kirill and Anton Ladygin in the second Oreca-Nissan. (2 cars)
Strakka Racing – A new partnership with Dome sees the British squad return to its roots in LMP2, with the new Strakka-Dome S103 Nissan. Few details have been announced, but it’s expected the team’s regular lineup of Nick Leventis, Danny Watts and Jonny Kane will pilot one car, with efforts being made to run a second car for customers. (1-2 cars)
KCMG – Runner-ups in the Asian Le Mans Series, the Hong Kong-based team is set for an expansion to the WEC full-time. Team owner Paul Ip recently confirmed one LMP2 entry, although it’s unclear whether it would be with a Morgan-Nissan or potentially another chassis. Drivers have yet to be announced. (1 car)
Signatech Alpine – The reigning European Le Mans Series champions are likely to have one of its Alpine A450 cars (Oreca 03 Nissan) on the grid next year, in what could be a duel-series attack for the French squad. It’s understood Nelson Panciatici and Pierre Ragues will likely return, with the final seat potentially open to a paying driver. (1 car)
Lotus LMP2 – There has been little talk from the Kodewa squad, which debuted its Lotus T128 Pragas this year. While the Czech-badged team scored a season-high podium finish at COTA, it’s unclear the exact makeup of Lotus LMP2‘s program. (1-2 cars?)
OAK Racing – While the chances of having its LMP1 car on track next year appear doubtful, OAK could return to the LMP2 ranks with one or two privateer Morgan Nissans to defend their LMP2 title. It’s understood the Jacques Nicolet-led squad is currently in discussions with a number of gentlemen drivers for a potential 2014 program. (1-2 cars)
G-Drive Racing – After competing with Delta-ADR in 2013, it appears Roman Rusinov could be taking his G-Drive backing to a different team, or series. The question is who, and will it be for the WEC? It’s all a bit unclear at the moment, especially as the Russian driver has been upgraded from Silver to Gold status for 2014. (1-2 cars?)
Greaves Motorsport – While having come close to locking up a sponsor for next year, Greaves Motorsport’s WEC program is now in question. It’s likely the 2011 Le Mans winners could focus its efforts on the ELMS instead, which is expected to see significant growth. (1 car)
Mystery Team – An additional LMP2 program is being evaluated. More should be known by January 15.
Pecom Racing – The Argentinean-backed effort, owned by Luis Perez Companc, will not return to full-season competition next year. While the AF Corse-run squad evaluated a potential TUDOR Championship program, that has also been ruled out. A limited-season program around the 24 Hours of Le Mans remains a possibility. The core group could, however, could help run AF Corse’s potential new LMP2 customer program.
Confirmed Entries: 6 cars
Possible: ~2-5 additional cars