DKR Engineering is running an Oreca 07 Gibson for the first time at the 24 Hours of Le Mans but the decorated LMP3 team is already planning to have a more sustained presence in the higher prototype category.
Team owner Kendy Janclaes has said that DKR is keen to enter some European Le Mans Series races later this year, as well as the Asian Le Mans Series in February 2023.
The Luxembourgish outfit is one of the most successful teams in LMP3 racing, having won four consecutive Michelin Le Mans Cup titles up to 2020, as well as last year’s ELMS and three Road to Le Mans races.
DKR earned an automatic Le Mans invitation courtesy of its ELMS success and has rented an Oreca 07 Gibson from Graff to facilitate the Pro-Am entry with Laurents Hoerr, Alexandre Cougnaud and Jean Glorieux.
It received the car about a month ago and has completed tests at Monza and Aragon.
Janclaes told Sportscar365 that DKR intends to permanently acquire the Oreca from Graff and pursue further races in the LMP2 class, both this year and beyond.
“The objective is ELMS to make one or two races this year, and then next year’s project we will do Asian Le Mans in LMP2,” he said.
“And then next year we will do ELMS or WEC. We will see.
“We will go to LMP2, this is for sure. And we will continue in LMP3, but for sure the goal is LMP2.
“If everything works well, we will purchase the [Graff] car after Le Mans and then continue after that.”
Janclaes stated that DKR envisions keeping its LMP3 program alongside a sustained LMP2 effort, but that it would not run cars from different formulas in the same series.
He also noted that the ACO’s extension of LMP2’s lifespan through to the end of 2024 has given DKR assurance that it can pursue a project in the Gibson-powered category.
“This was the problem at the end of last year: to buy or not buy a car,” said Janclaes.
“Buying a car for only one year was not possible. But now they have extended the situation.
“The objective was to buy a new car, but we were not too sure about delays, so we have to purchase [a used] one.”
North American racing appears to be of great interest to DKR, which previously expressed plans to enter some races with its LMP3 program both last year and this year.
Those intentions did not come to fruition, but the idea of racing in IMSA-sanctioned competition persists.
However, Janclaes suggested that he needs more information about where LMP3 will be eligible to race next year, both in the WeatherTech Championship and Prototype Challenge.
“The objective was to send one car for Road America and Petit Le Mans this year, and Daytona next year,” he confirmed.
“But we have to be sure that we can do Daytona in LMP3 next year. This is not clear at the moment. We are waiting for information about the LMP3 situation in the U.S.
“To do Daytona is quite a big objective for us. We were looking to do it last year, but we did Asian Le Mans and it is complicated to do both championships.
“But if you send an LMP2 to Asia and an LMP3 to Daytona, this [becomes] possible.”
Team Set for First Le Mans with “Full Team”
This year’s Le Mans edition marks DKR Engineering’s second appearance in the race, nine years on from its 2013 debut with a Lola B11/40 in LMP2.
That entry came in collaboration with Ibanez Racing, but now DKR is entering the event completely on its own utilizing members of the successful LMP3 program.
“This is the first time with a full DKR team,” Janclaes proclaimed.
“The problem is that it’s the first time we’re running an LMP2 and we are starting at Le Mans.
“So it is not easy at the beginning and we are learning a lot. It is important to stay on the track and not take too much damage.
“The first objective is finish. And then, I hope for a Pro-Am podium. This will be something really great, if we can do it.”