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Vector Sport Planning for Second Season in LMP2

British squad Vector Sport planning to continue in WEC LMP2 class next season…

Photo: MPS Agency

Vector Sport is set to continue in the FIA World Endurance Championship LMP2 class for a second season, with team principal Gary Holland eager for the British squad to “carry our progress forward”.

Silverstone-based Vector made its debut this year, running an Oreca 07 Gibson for Nico Mueller, Sebastien Bourdais and Silver-rated driver Ryan Cullen. Mike Rockenfeller and Renger van der Zande also drove for the team in substitute capacities.

Holland told Sportscar365 that Vector plans to return for a second term in the WEC, subject to approval, after getting a taste for the all-Oreca category in 2022.

Its best result was a podium at the 6 Hours of Monza, but it failed to finish higher than ninth in the other five races. That left Vector 10th in the final LMP2 classification, although Holland is hopeful that it can use the winter break to make steps for next year.

“We saw this year that LMP2 is probably the most competitive class in motorsport,” he said.

“It truly is the best team wins. You look at teams like WRT who have raced for years and don’t win the championship, although of course there’s heavy weighting towards Le Mans.

“We just need to carry our progress forward. We need to continue to progress through the winter.

“I’d like to think that we can carry on in that front group going into next year and further beyond that. I think with the structure we have now, I don’t see why not.”

Holland explained that Vector intends to maintain a consistent group of engineers and mechanics for its second season, as it aims to improve on this year’s performances.

The team made a series of changes to its backroom operations after the 24 Hours of Le Mans, giving staff more clearly defined roles in a process that Holland previously described as a “better hierarchy”.

Its subsequent third place at Monza represented one of two podiums for rookie LMP2 teams, with the other being Prema at Le Mans.

“At the start of the year, we didn’t have consistency,” he explained. “And as a new team, there are teething problems.

“A lot of teams have had these cars and the same crews for five, six or seven years. You don’t build a Champions League-winning team in a day. We need to keep the core and build on that. It’s important that we keep some consistency in the team.

“I think, across the board, we’re slicker, sharper and technically we’re more savvy to the rules, car and tires. Operationally, we’re a lot sharper. In general, I’m really pleased with the progress. Just the results haven’t quite gone our way.”

Vector has not announced its driver lineup for next season although Cullen, who will remain Silver-rated by the FIA, is expected to be involved again.

The rest of the crew presents a greater conundrum because Mueller has joined Peugeot in the Hypercar class, while Bourdais is confronted by two date clashes between the WEC and his IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship GTP drive with Cadillac.

“It’s a little bit more difficult, but it’s by no means impossible,” Holland said regarding driver selection for next year.

“A lot of drivers are looking at getting into WEC with a longer-term vision. We don’t want to be a stepping-stone team, but we will only ever put top-caliber drivers in.

“It’s a false economy doing anything but. It’s a results-driven business and if you don’t set yourself up for that from day one, you’re really limiting what you can do.

“When you look at the caliber of drivers we put in this year, starting with Rockenfeller, Nico, Seb and Renger… if you were to pick a top 20 sports car drivers in the world, they would all be there. We don’t want to change that philosophy.”

Sportscar365 understands that Vector Sport discussed with WEC organizer the ACO about adding a second Oreca to its stable for next year, but a continuation of the one-car effort appears more likely.

“It’s a single car at the moment,” Holland said. “It’s a bit silly season, with everyone talking to everyone and allegedly doing everything.

“We’re no different in that we’re out there and there’s lots of stuff going on. We’re talking to lots of people about lots of things.”

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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