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SPORTSCAR365: Top 10 Stories to Watch in 2017

Sportscar365’s top 10 stories to watch in 2017…

Photo: Porsche

Photo: Porsche

As the year draws to a close, following multiple top-10 reviews, Sportscar365 looks ahead to what could be in store for 2017 with a look at the Top 10 Stories to Watch:

10. LMP3 Growth — With new cars from Norma and Ave-Riley set to debut, will the LMP3 platform continue to grow worldwide? Will the introduction of the class in IMSA competition, albeit in a standalone sprint series, generate further North American interest, and how will the ACO’s two-tier approach for ELMS and the Michelin Le Mans Cup work?

9. Driver Ratings — After a number of off-season changes and selected series taking measures into their own hands, will the driver rating situation improve in 2017? Will gentlemen drivers continue in the WEC LMP2 ranks, despite the likely surge of young open-wheel drivers? How will it impact IMSA and particularly PWC, which is now fully embracing the global FIA categorization?

8. New GTE Manufacturers on Horizon — With BMW set to debut an all-new GTE-homologated car for 2018, will there be any other manufacturers that will officially throw its hat into the category next year? It’s known that Lamborghini is working on a new car, but not likely until 2019, while rumors have continued of McLaren GT evaluating the platform as well.

7. SRO’s Role in PWC — Less than 12 months after announcing its ownership stake in WC Vision, will SRO Motorsport Group take a larger public role in Pirelli World Challenge? Will changes on the sanctioning body front, with USAC poised to be introduced, likely in addition to continued SCCA involvement, affect the racing on track?

6. VW’s Motorsports Involvement — Audi’s withdrawal from LMP1 competition after an 18-year run has been a big blow, but is there more still to come amid the fallout from VW Group’s emissions scandal? Will Porsche continue at the same level financially in the WEC and could any of the brand’s GT3 customer programs be in jeopardy in the long-term?

5. PWC’s New Format and Cars — The integration of SprintX into the overall PWC series had been a major talking point in the second half of this year. Will teams embrace the two-driver, pit stop format that will be on all standalone weekends? Will the GTS class continue to grow with the launch of new GT4 models? How will TCR fare in its integration into the TC class?

4. Rise of GT4 — New cars from Ford, BMW, Mercedes-AMG and Chevrolet are set to debut in 2017, in what’s shaping up to be one of the hottest trends in GT racing. Will GT4 play a significant part in the global GT racing landscape, and can costs be kept under control to prevent an arm’s race between manufacturers?

3. Factory vs. Privateers in GTD — With the arrival of factory backed efforts from Acura, Lexus and Mercedes-AMG, how will that impact the largely privateer-focused GT Daytona class in IMSA next year? A number of series stalwarts, including Alex Job Racing and Turner Motorsport, are already on the fence because of rising costs and a general lack-of-interest from gentlemen drivers in IMSA’s top Pro-Am class.

2. New LMP2/DPi Regulations Debut — The new-look LMP2/DPi platform debuts next month in Daytona after two years of work from the FIA, ACO and IMSA. Will it attract new teams to the prototype ranks? How will IMSA’s DPi platform stack up against the global-spec LMP2s? Will any of the four LMP2 constructors have a distinct advantage and will that be controlled?

1. Future of LMP1, WEC — With Audi’s exit, the WEC is left with only two LMP1 manufacturers next year, casting questions over the category, and potentially even the championship’s long-term health. Will another manufacturer announce its intentions of joining Toyota and Porsche, amid further cost-reduction initiatives and a regulations freeze from the FIA and ACO?

The latest news, photos and video features from the trusted Sportscar365 web staff.

11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. southcove

    December 31, 2016 at 8:12 pm

    Absolutely some good storylines to watch and think about… factory vs privateers in GTD,* the rise of Dpi and what may be some really lean years in LMP1.

    *where of course, most would love to see more manufacturers and semi-factory teams in GTE/GTLM.
    Dpi and P2 equivalency may be the charm to make the class grow to 12-18 cars per round – and attract Euro teams to run the big races/NAEC.

  2. NaBUru38

    December 31, 2016 at 9:44 pm

    BoP

    • @oxia_hk

      January 2, 2017 at 1:54 pm

      BoP, exactly, 3 important letters dis year, but as usual, BoP means some happy and not ^^

  3. Hedgey

    January 1, 2017 at 4:10 am

    I can’t believe how little I care about PWC these days. All the gimmicks and hiding the race coverage behind a paywall for those who can’t watch it live has just meant I’ve stopped caring, especially when there’s so much else to watch.

  4. Larry

    January 1, 2017 at 10:28 am

    WEC should do away with P1, allow P2 any manufacturers engine, and go from there.

  5. Matt

    January 1, 2017 at 11:00 am

    BMW better take the mufflers off it’s M6 for 2018, it’s getting really lame watching quiet cars.

  6. Doug

    January 1, 2017 at 12:14 pm

    If DPi is successful and LMP1 does not attract new manufacturers or loses more cars, it could put the ACO in an uncomfortable situation. The pressure to let DPi run at LeMans will increase,

    • JC

      January 1, 2017 at 3:51 pm

      I absolutely agree with you! With LMP1 having F1 budgets, there is a reason Ford went to GTE/GTLM and not to prototypes. IMSA did the right thing with their DPi rules. The ACO may have to let the DPi’s race LeMans in order to keep interest high in their one showpiece event.

      • juneracer

        January 2, 2017 at 9:28 am

        Ford couldn’t have made a competitive LMP1 car as easily as they manipulated their development within the GTE rules platform. LMP1 has straight up rules. deception and sandbagging doesn’t work in that class.

  7. Anthony Blair Thomas

    January 1, 2017 at 3:43 pm

    @Matt maybe your life is lame in general if you need to have noisy race engines.

    I know John need content for his site but this is bit of a stretch. Generating some modest interest in subjects like DPi and PWC for sure is yawn material.

    Whining Pro-Am (aka Bronze/Silver drivers) threatens two teams, four cars total, when IMSA has added six cars to the mix, net gain of TWO.

    The demise of both might be exaggerated a bit as will. If BMW is interested in selling it’s current GT3 Turner will have at least one car out there.

    I’m going the assume the Alex Jones/Sweedler rumor has been reported here.

    The problem with PWC is that it’s a weak product overall and the coverage is terrible.

    The last time I really paid attention; you got a weak streaming IE no pre-race or post race. Just a quick mention of starting line ups, maybe a tidbit of a story about qualifying that it’s. Post race was a quick mention of the top 10, the raising star award and getting out of dodge.

    Their so-called “enhanced” coverage just added filler and adverts back in…

    I mean who threaten Alvaro besides the GM factory effort? PWC Grade = D+

    I see no improvement worth mentioning, seeing as the news around the series is nil as well.

    Not much better for WeatherTech, Acura paint job, really?

    • Fred

      January 1, 2017 at 6:48 pm

      You probably don’t care about the sound because you only sit on your ass and watch racing on TV at home. If the series wants to actually attract fans to come see the races, the cars need to look/sound good.

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