IMSA will not follow the new-for-2018 policy implemented by the ACO/FIA to balance its WEC P2s using ballast, changes to fuel cell capacity, and aerodynamic restrictions. It marks the first change of direction between the organizations on the subject of WEC P2 performance management.
As the FIA announced this week in its 2018 sporting regulations, a significant revision to its administration of the new-era WEC P2s that debuted in 2017 will be employed. Where the ACO/FIA refused to apply Balance of Performance changes to the cars made by its four P2 constructors during their maiden season, the French sanctioning bodies have made a 180-degree change to that philosophy ahead of its 2018-19 ‘Super Season.’
Working in concert with the ACO/FIA, IMSA introduced WEC P2s to its WeatherTech SportsCar Championship Prototype class in 2017, and also refused to penalize the faster ORECA 07s and Ligier JS P217s, or to help the slower Riley/Multimatic Mk. 30 chassis.
According to sources at IMSA, the Florida-based sanctioning body will not follow the ACO/FIA with the revised 2018 plan to use weight/fuel/aero to equalize the performance capabilities of WeatherTech Championship WEC P2s.
RACER has also learned that one unique concession will be open for WEC P2 constructors to use in IMSA, and that will come in the form of aero adjustments. Where IMSA’s technical department will not use BoP to tune its ORECAs and Ligiers and Riley/Multimatics up or down, it will permit each company to submit requests to make aero changes based on the wind tunnel data IMSA is currently generating.
It’s believed the ORECA 07 has established itself as the benchmark for aerodynamic performance in the wind tunnel, and with its downforce and drag figures quantified by the series, Ligier and Riley/Multimatic could, if desired, request to make changes to the JS P217 or Mk. 30 to match the 07’s numbers.
Determining the merit of the request and the changes being called for would be up to IMSA to accept or decline. It’s unclear whether the request option is a one-time affair, or if it’s limited to a certain window of time – before the start of the season, for example.
On a separate but related topic, IMSA will allow the use of re-homologated WEC P2 items, approved by the ACO/FIA under its ‘joker’ redevelopment system during the offseason, to be used by its Prototype teams.
Altogether, IMSA has said no to the ACO/FIA’s WEC P2 new BoP practices, yes to WeatherTech Championship-specific WEC P2 aero modifications – pending approval – and yes to the ACO/FIA ‘joker’ updates.